Extreme Kegerators

There’s a new trend taking place amongst kegerator builders that is taking some of their designs to the extreme. Bigger, faster, stronger is the American way and so why not apply that to the modern kegerator? Well here is a few of the extreme kegerators we have been seeing lately that are likely to spawn a whole new way of thinking when it comes to drinking draft beer from a kegerator.

Kegerator Cabinet

Garage Tool Cabinet Kegerators
If you were out shopping for a new tool cabinet for your garage you would expect to find features like durable chrome plating or rolling casters, but would a kegerator be an upgrade you would be interested in? Garage Fabricators from Central California thinks it should be. They’ve created the Diamond Plate Kegerator Cabinet that comes fully loaded including powdercoated steel plating and welded 6" phenolic casters. The kegerator cabinet is 23.5” deep x 47.5” wide x 64” tall and has the option of a Flatscreen TV mount. For only $1,678.57 you can call one of these kegerator cabinets your own.

Arcade Kegerator

Arcade Machine Kegerators
Whether its Pac-Man or Mario Brothers, imagine having access to fresh draft beer while playing your favorite arcade games. Well, two companies we’ve found seem to have the same idea. The Custom Bar Guys in Roanoke, VA have created THE GAMERATOR. The Gamerator offers access to over 1,000 classic and current arcade games and a refrigerated interior capable of holding a pony keg of draft beer. A device this unique is surely worth the $3,995.00 price tag, so order yours today, as they are handmade upon order and take up to 4 weeks to build.

Racing Arcade Kegerator

Another company integrating a beer experience for gamers is Dream Arcades out of Folsom, CA. They have created a racing arcade kegerator entitled the Octane 120 Beer Arcade. The Octane 120 is a home arcade gaming system that combines three things every adult gamer wants: classic arcade games, arcade-style racing, and a full sized kegerator with in-dash beer tap to get your favorite beverage without having to get out of the seat. Only $6995 (S+H) and it’s all yours!

Hitch Mount Kegerator

Hitch Mount Kegerator
California companies seem to be all over the extreme kegerator setups and Party-A-CarGo out of Concord, CA is no exception. They have put together a hitch mounted kegerator / entertainment system. Tailgaters, campers, or weekend warriors can pour up to 160 ice cold beers, play 12 hours of music and watch the early games on TV without having to recharge their battery, refill their cooler with ice or clean up empty beer cans. Check out Party-A-CarGo to get all the details on this extreme kegerator.

Breweriana: Specialty Beer Glasses

Specialty Beer Glasses

Specialty glasses have existed throughout the ages, whether they are for wine, champagne, or different types of beers. From crystal goblets to stoneware steins, and, more recently, Belgian glass goblets, glass, ceramic, wood, and metal crafters have produced their visions of the perfect vessel for the perfect drink. The ratio of slope to surface area, breathing area, and volume contained within, are all tailored to the liquid viscosity and temperament of the beverage in question.

Having a unique specialty beer glass for each of your alcoholic beverages has always helped to make the moment special. Who ever heard of sitting around the local pub, drinking mugs of ale? That may be true for mid-evil re-creationists, but most beer fans prefer pint glasses. That way you can see what you’re drinking. In mid-evil times, you didn’t always WANT to see what you were drinking.

Having a nice rack of differing specialty beer glasses is good for when company comes over. It can encourage your friends to bring some fine ale if you have some Chimay glasses around. These glasses are called chalices, and feature a wide, flat bottom and straight sides to allow the many aromas of the monk-style Belgian ales to be smelled.

Having a set of German bier Steins up on the shelf may also lend clues to guests as to what you’d like at the next potluck (better Heineken than Budweiser, at least). The stein and the mug are best suited for ales of the inimitably quaffable kind. Beer that is guzzled easily. Beer that you want to drink a lot of because you want to become intoxicated.

European specialty beers often fall into the category of beers that should be served in specialty beer glasses. If you walk into a bar that serves a selection of Belgian ales, this is a good place to learn more about the difference between specialty beer glasses, but until then take my word for it: Weiss biers and hefeweisens have a glass which is curvy and top heavy. This gives a little lip at the bottom to catch any yeast sediment, which may result from drinking the bottle-conditioned variety of theses ales.

Pilsner glasses are the more straightforward, simple and elegant tall glasses with only the slightest of curves. The relatively narrow top channels the bitter aromas into the nose, facilitating an aromatic blast with each swig.

Lambics, being specialty ales from a nation of specialty ales, are best indulged in what is known as a flute glass. This resembles a champagne glass, but with more curves. This keeps the bubbles moving around, for like champagne, lambics are highly carbonated. The narrow top keeps the aromas from floating about too much.

Barley wine glasses usually hold less beer – barley wines being much stronger in alcohol and flavor than regular beers (around 7%-12% alcohol). In order to prevent patrons from stumbling over each other drunk or passing out in the bar, the volume of the glass is decreased. The glasses usually have a fairly open top to allow the rich and malty bouquet of the barley wine to waft above the specialty glass. Go to a good barley wine tasting and you will see what it is all about.

The Samuel Adams brewery of Boston, Mass., just this last year released a glass, which their brewers claim, serves beer as brewers intended. The Samuel Adams Boston Lager Pint Glass shares many traits with the flute, but it is bigger and has a much wider mouth.

"We wanted to create a glass that offers beer lovers a full sensory experience by fully showcasing Samuel Adams Boston Lager’s complex balance of malt and hop flavors.", said Jim Koch, founder of Samuel Adams.

And last, but not least, one good reason for having different specialty beer glasses, for different kinds of beers, is to help bar patrons to remember which glass is theirs. A night of drinking can sometimes muddle ones perceptions. In any case, is not a finely crafted beer worthy of its own glass?

Breweriana: Collectible Beer Steins

Beer Stein

Breweriana is the collective detritus of breweries and beer fans from the days past.  Breweriana takes many forms, but the arguably oldest form of collectable breweriana hails from Germany, where beer Steins or bier Steins have been crafted sold and handed down for generations.  Although the tradition of beer steins has largely faded from practical use, those who have been left with old hand me down beers steins may find that they have antique treasure worth up to $3,000.

Originally known in German as the "Steinkrug", the beer stein is a traditional mug for serving beer, which can be made of porcelain, silver, crystal, glass, or wood.  Some steins have an open top, but most collectable varieties have an intricately cast or carved lid with a thumb-action lever.

As a child, I remember looking up on the shelf in the den and seeing the variety of intricately crafted beer steins.  Amid hand me downs from the family past were also spoils of war from my grandfather’s campaign in Europe during World War Two.  Such history was held in those beer steins, and swept away with the intervening years so that today, I have but two of the remnants of that fine collection.

Although not seen in the pub or at parties much these day, the practical benefits of the beer stein are as useful today as they were in the 17th and 18th centuries.  Although replaced with the pint glass in most pubs, the stein typically holds at least as much beer as a pint glass.  Older steins are likely to hold around one and a half liters of beer, which, back in those days, was considered one serving of beer.  More modern sizes from Germany are likely to hold only one liter.

It was in the 14th century that beer steins first started becoming fitted with hinged lids.  The lids were indeed sanitary measures, the result of a German law that all food would need to be covered in order to prevent the spread of disease.  This law came with many other laws that popped up at this time, when Europe came back from the brink of decimation as a result of the black plague.  For instance, pigpens could no longer run up to the edge of streets, meat that was old or came from a diseased house had to be labeled accordingly, and the German Beer Purity Laws began.  It is from this stage that beer began to be homogenized on a national level:  beer could only be brewed from hops, barley, yeast, and water.

Steins remaining from the periods earlier than the 14th century tend to be made of pewter and silver, as the earthenware and wooden steins from that period were easily broken over the yawning of the years.  The pewter guilds held onto the premier production spot for steins until the ceramics crafters of Europe invented stoneware, which proved much more durable that the old clay earthenware.  Not long after, porcelain and glazes also emerged on the scene.  A lot of advances in stein technology occurred around the 1700s, of course, during the Renaissance.

The additional benefit of the thumb-action levered steins come in especially handy for keeping unwanted materials out of your beer.  Flies, stray cigarette ash, and bits of food are always a downer when you find them in your beer.  I still use my capped stein from time to times when I find myself going to a party where such detritus may find its way into my beer.

Some varieties of stein have their own terms from the German, which you may run into while searching for the beer stein that fits you: 

  • "Humpen" are steins that are made from stoneware, using the process which partially smelts the clay together, producing a harder and less porous product.
  • "Steinkrug" are earthenware steins.
  • "Glaskrug" are glass steins, very few of which survived from ancient times.  Some of these are actually crystal.
  • Another term you might come upon is "Maßkrug", pronounced ‘moss kroogh’ in English.  These are steins that are explicitly measured out for one liter.

Hunting for steins is a fun and rewarding exercise in antique shopping.  Steins can be found in nearly every antique shop, and who knows, with a little knowledge you may find a valuable treasure in your breweriana adventure.