The fall is the season for beer festivals. And it seems that there are more and more homebrew festivals popping up in NC as well (Brew Durham and Homebrew for Hunger, to name a few). And since I will be serving at 2 festivals as well as a couple of other special events over the next month or two, I needed a way to easily transport and serve my beer.
Jockey boxes are the typical solution, but jockey boxes are expensive. Even if you build your own, you have to buy a cooler and lots of copper or stainless steel, or even a cold plate – not to mention the faucets and shanks. I also considered just bringing my kegorator or keezer, but that would be really heavy and hard to transport and would rely on all of the events having electrical outlets available, so this was really not a practical solution.
I had read about this trash can kegorator conversion in Brew Your Own magazine, as well as on the homebrewtalk.com forum, and it seemed to be a viable solution. It is light-weight, on wheels and doesn’t need to be plugged in (just add ice). Also, a trash can is only about $20 (less than a cooler) and no coils are needed. You still have to buy the shanks, faucets and drip tray, but there is really no avoiding that if you’re serving beer unless you just use picnic taps. The only other needed parts were some 1″ foam insulation board ($9), a drain spigot ($3) and some scrap wood and wood stain.
Below is the photo run-down of the build. One thing to note: I also bought a small CO2 tank from Lowe’s ($65), just because I didn’t want to deal with constantly dis-assembling and re-assembling my 5-pound tank that is being used in my keezer. However, you could easily do this and save a little money. I like having the smaller tank, but the added cost is definitely significant.
2) Cut foam board to fit in lid. I also used a couple of spare boards to create a flat floor for the kegs in the bottom of the trashcan.
3) Drill a hole and install a drain spigot at the bottom to drain water when the ice melts. You may need to add on some liquid nails to ensure a tight fit that won’t leak.
4) Stain the wood any color you like, then drill holes for shanks in one and attach L-brackets to the other to hold the drip tray
5) Attach wood to trashcan with bolts and drill holes through trashcan and insulation for shanks. Attach shanks and faucets (they sure do look pretty!)
6) Using Liquid Nails, attach 2 magnets to the bottom of the drip tray. While that drys, you can go ahead and bolt the wood with the L-brackets onto the trash can. Once dry, the drip try will magnet to the L-brackets. This makes for easy removal for washing.
7) attach tailpieces and beer lines to the shanks and run some sanitizer through to make sure nothing leaks and get everything sanitized. Better to find a leak now with water or sanitizer than later with your homebrew!
And there you have it. A rolling, portable, 2-tap kegorator that is great for special events, festivals, weddings, etc. I may set it up on some crates or a cooler to get the taps up to a little better serving level (or you could get a bigger trashcan (though you would need more ice to fill it).