Five Awesome Home Bar Upgrades

Ever since you started homebrewing, the amount of friends that drop over (unannounced of course) for a pint has increased exponentially. Even more so once you installed that 3-tap keezer.

Now you’re thinking it’s time to apply some upgrades to your bar setup. Let’s look at a few potential upgrades you can make to your serving zone that will make you the envy (if you weren’t already) of your circle. Things like tap handles, larger kegs, and nitrogen are all great options for where to begin upgrading your home bar.

Tap Handles

The classic stubby black faucet handles are great for when you just purchased your kegging setup. But is it time for an upgrade? Tap handles add a very nice appearance to your keezer or kegerator tower. There’s all kinds of tap handles out there, but one of my favorites are the ones you can write on. This way you can write what beer will come out of the faucet when you pull it (obviously). It certainly beats sticky notes that are constantly falling off, or trying to remember which is which 3 beers in. There are tap handles that are dry erase, as well as ones that use chalk.

Sankey Setup

home bar upgrades - sankey setups

Now that you are serving lots of homebrews to a lot of visitors,  or you just drink a lot of homebrew yourself; it’s time to think about upgrading your kegs. Upgrading to a sankey keg setup may cost a bit upfront if you weren’t already equipped, but it comes with a couple big advantages.

Bigger Batches Mean Less Kicked Kegs: Throwing a decent sized cookout can kill a few kegs pretty quick. That’s a lot of running around and switching 5 gallon kegs out, all while trying to not ruin the burgers on the grill. Forget that noise! Brew a big batch instead to fill a ½ barrel sankey keg. One big keg means less swapping out of smaller kegs. If you do decide to go this route, it’s also a good idea to think about upgrading to a 10lb CO2 cylinder if you started with just a 5 pound one. This means less trips to your CO2 refill station.

shop sankey kegs

Commercial Compatibility: Nothing beats being able to pop in commercial craft beer kegs right into your system. With a sankey keg system, you’ll be able to serve your favorite craft beer right next to your homebrew. Or if you haven’t been able to brew in a while, you can serve craft beer right from your setup.

Also, on the rare chance you look to open a nano or micro-brewery, being used to sankey kegs is a great first step.

Sankey kegs are available in ⅙ barrel (5 gallon) as well, so it’s still an option if you want sankey kegs and 5 gallon batches.

Nitrogen

nitogen stout faucet upgrades

Nitrogen is an expensive addition, and may require more modification to your system, but if you’re a fan of big stouts and roasty porters, nothing quite compares the mouth feel of nitrogenated beer. Then again people are nitrogenating IPAs nowadays too, so even if you aren’t a milk stout superfan, it’s a good upgrade to consider if you have the cash flow.

You’ll need a nitrogen specific faucet, and you’ll need a nitrogen tank and nitrogen regulator in addition to your CO2 equipment (unless you’re all nitrogen of course).

Nitrogen Banner

Other Miscellaneous Kegging Upgrades.

Now there are a few other knick-knacks available that make everything just a bit easier. The first on the list is a keg / carboy washer. Nothing is worse than trying to clean a carboy. Nothing! It’s an added bonus that you can clean your kegs as well.

If you’re bringing your sankeys on the go, and know you’ll be finishing the keg in one outing, having a picnic tap is a great option. Obviously it won’t work for casual home use as you’re oxidizing the crap out of your beer in the process.

written by David Doucette

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