In the United States, the number of craft breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs has grown from about 2,500 in 2012 to well over 6,000 today.
America’s fascination with craft beer varieties is only continuing to grow. As more people become interested in tasting these unique varieties, the idea of creating new ones is growing increasingly popular as well.
Brewing craft beer at home is now a hobby that you can take to the next level, thanks to modern innovations in home tap system components and equipment. If you’re interested in brewing your own beer, or simply purchasing kegs of your favorite craft varieties to serve at home, now is the prime time for it.
When considering what to buy for your home tap system setup, it’s important to research everything you get. This will help you recreate the bar experience in your very own home, with matched or surpassed quality.
Choosing the right keg tap is especially important for your home bar setup. Read on for our advice on choosing the right keg tap for your home tap system.
Why Go With a Home Tap System?
A home tap system allows you to bring the bar to your house. Your guests, your setup, your rules.
What more, it’s a cost-effective alternative to going out. The bar and nightclub industry in the U.S. generates around $20 billion in sales every year. If you bring a keg tap system to your home, you can save a serious amount of money.
Best of all, adding a home keg tap system gives you the freedom to tap whatever craft beers you choose! No more perusing apps and touring your community’s different pubs to find the craft beer you’re looking for.
If you think home tap systems can only feature your basic domestic lagers, think again. You’d be surprised at the number of craft varieties you can bring to your home tap system.
Here are some of the craft varieties you can purchase in kegs:
- New Belgium Fat Tire
- Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
- Goose Island IPA
- Bell’s 2-Hearted Ale
- Alaskan Amber
- Surly Furious
- New Glarus Spotted Cow
This list goes on and on if you know where to look. A lot of craft breweries will sell you a keg if you contact them directly. Even if they don’t sell kegs directly from their brew plant, they may be able to tell you where to go.
Of course, you don’t have to stick with purchasing commercially produced craft beer varieties. With a home tap system, you can incorporate your own beer into the mix. Having this type of setup allows you to brew your own beer and tap it fresh from the keg.
A home beer tap brings all the possibilities of commercial bars to the comfort of your own home bar. Instead of ordering your favorite craft beer varieties for your buddies at the local bar, you could be pouring them your own personal craft beer. It’s sure to take your love of craft brews to the next level.
The Basics Components of a Home Tap System
Whether you’re new to this or an experienced, knowledgable home brewer looking to upgrade your home keg system, you know that a beer tap system for your home does more than the pump taps you used to find at parties.
From craft beer kegs to your own personal brew, a good setup is a perfect way to get a crisp, refreshing cold one in the luxury of your own home. To get started, let’s take a deeper look at the individual parts of your home tap system and what they do.
- The keg is the most important part of your home tap system. This is where you store all of your craft and home brews. However, without the help of the other components in the system, it’s not going to do much good.
- The cooler has an important job as well. This is what keeps your beer in your home keg system at the ideal serving temperature, which is 38°F.
- The gas is what replaces those arm-pumping kegs you may have encountered in house parties. It does the work for you by creating pressure. The standard home tap system has both CO2 and nitrogen that are monitored with a pressure regulator.
- Tubing is what carries the beer to the glass. This should be a solid material that won’t taint or affect the taste of your craft and homebrews. Vinyl and polyethylene are good materials to look for.
- The coupler connects the tubing that provides the gas with the one that carries the beer. It connects to the top of the keg and its handle opens the valve that sends gas into the keg.
- The keg tap or beer faucet is what brings it all together and pours the beer into your glass. Although it may seem like a simple concept, choosing the right keg tap for your home tap system is extremely important.
Like an efficiently designed machine, these six components work together to deliver the perfect brew, from keg to glass. That’s why it’s important to be selective when purchasing each component, especially the keg tap.
Types of Home Beer Taps: Then and Now
The art of home brewing has evolved quite a bit over the years. Just as kegs and brewing procedures have changed, so have the types of keg taps used to deliver them.
Here are a few of the most common types of keg taps:
Cask beer taps
Cask beer taps are what used to be used to dispense beer from barrels. There was no gas or pressure involved, just a simple “on/off” valve that poured the beer straight from the barrel. These are now antiquated and surpassed by modern beer taps.
Beer engines date back to 1797 and were used for English cask beers. They feature a hand-operated pump the pours beer directly from the cask. Again, the history is interesting, but modern taps have surpassed them in terms of quality and ease of use.
Pressure Dispenser Taps
Pressure dispenser keg taps connect to your refrigerator or home bar. However, these can involve a more complex and expensive home tap system. They also don’t offer the convenience of portability.
Portable Keg Taps
Portable keg taps attach directly to your keg line and offer an inexpensive solution to external pressure dispenser home tap systems. These can be the hand-pump varieties or they can feature a continuous supply of gas.
Things to Consider When Choosing Your Tap System
Depending on your goals for your home tap system, there are a number of things to consider when making an informed decision. You have to decide what’s right for you and your budget. In most cases, you won’t have to go too crazy figuring out all the details.
- The amount of time it takes to set up is an important thing to consider. Traditional pressure dispenser systems can take a long time to get right. Portable keg taps are a much quicker solution.
- The quantity of beer you have in your home tap system is something to think about. Although you may think commercial systems are the only way to go if you’ll be pouring a beer, portable keg tap systems are refillable and easy to change if you’re working with a lot of beer.
- What your tap is made from is very important as well. Some keg taps are made of cheap materials that can taint the flavor of your craft beer. Go for the stainless steel options.
Why You Should Choose a Portable Keg Tap System
The most common choice for many home brewers is a portable keg tap system. This is because they offer an inexpensive solution, especially if you’re new to the art of home brewing or having your own home tap system.
Portable keg tap systems have sometimes been referred to as “picnic tap” systems. This is a nod to their most basic design, which involves a hand pump to get the necessary pressure to dispense the beer from the keg.
However, designs for portable keg tap systems have come a long way from their humble beginnings. In fact, they can now provide all the benefits of commercial pressure dispenser systems with the convenience of portability.
A true game-changer for portable keg tap systems is that they can now feature a gas supply. This replaces that “hand-pump” mechanism found in most cheaper varieties.
Because portable keg tap systems feature gas pressure, they are now on the same level as commercial (pressure dispenser) keg tap systems. Not only do they offer the same benefits as these systems, but they are also less expensive and offer the added convenience of portability.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of using a modern portable keg tap system:
- They waste less beer than hand-pump varieties. With a portable keg tap system, your beer will stay fresh until the very last pint.
- They are extremely portable and lightweight, with many varieties weighing ~5 pounds.
- Portable, refillable gas tanks make them simple and inexpensive to set up.
- Setup/breakdown is fast and easy.
- They feature the same kind of gas pressure gauge offered in commercial keg tap systems for the perfect pour.
Adding a portable keg tap system to your home bar setup is the perfect way to take your craft to the next level. Not only are they easy to situate in your home bar, but they can also go anywhere with you if you choose to travel. With a portable keg tap system, you can bring your craft beer to the next picnic, home barbecue, or wherever you choose.
Stainless Steel: The Perfect Pairing for Your Home Tap System
When you are looking at what kind of keg tap to get, it’s important to go with top quality materials. If you go for something too cheap, the materials will wear off and deposit unwanted flavors into your craft brews.
For the cleanest taste, go for stainless steel varieties. Look for a system with a pathway constructed entirely from stainless steel. This will ensure that no corrosive metals are touching your brew, ever.
As an added bonus, stainless steel stands up to your harshest chemicals and cleaning procedures. By purchasing a keg tap made from this hardy material, you can easily keep your home tap system clean and tasting perfect.
Grow Your Craft Brewing Business with Portable Keg Taps
Incorporating portable keg taps into your home tap system can help you take your craft to the next level. Not only do they offer the perfect in-home solution, but they also allow you to go outside your home bar setup as well.
Think about the possibilities. Portable keg taps allow you to have a commercial setup that you can take anywhere. You could bring your kegs of craft beer to your next house party, picnic, or barbecue, all with the convenience of gas pressure instead of a hand pump. Essentially, you have a full bar setup wherever you go.
Whether you buy kegs or brew your own craft varieties at home, incorporating portable keg taps into your home tap system is the perfect way to take your craft to the next level.
If you are considering growing your home brewing business, portable keg taps are perfect for that as well. They allow you to bring your bar setup anywhere, which is ideal if you decide to start vending at events.
Portable keg taps allow you to quickly set up your system and replenish the gas components easily. With this setup, you can grow your brewing business and dispense your product anywhere. Who knows, maybe you could make this your business someday!
Choosing the right keg tap is a very important part of developing the perfect home tap system. By selecting a quality portable keg tap, you can take your love of craft beer with you wherever you go.
From simple home setup to high-volume events and picnics, portable keg taps allow you to recreate the bar experience from wherever you are.
For more tips on craft beer and home bar setups, check out more of our blog.