Building an Outdoor Kitchen Bar: Beer and Soda Taps
An outdoor kitchen bar is great for entertaining outdoors. When the warmer months of the year kick in, that's when you probably wish you had a complete outdoor kitchen bar to host the best parties in town. A beer tap will certainly complete an outdoor kitchen bar so that family and friends simply pour their favorite beer or soda instead of having to go inside the house to grab and open one. At the same time, having an outdoor kitchen bar will certainly increase your property's value. Now when you're ready, it's time to start building an outdoor kitchen bar of your own.
Step 1 – Assemble Kitchen Bar
This step-by-step guide focuses on the bar or beer tap portion of the kitchen bar. Thus, it is assumed that you have outdoor kitchen counters, cabinets or bar ready to be assembled outdoors. Position your outdoor kitchen cabinets or bar to the desire location. Make sure to allot a cabinet that will house the refrigerator for the beer and soda taps.
Step 2 – Prepare CO2 Gas Cylinder
When you order and have it shipped, the cylinder will be shipped empty. You will need to fill it up locally. Always keep in mind that the CO2 cylinder must be kept in an upright position at all times. Prepare with caution.
Step 3 – Determine Setup
Define how you will be placing the components in your small refrigerator. Test it out by putting the components inside the refrigerator. Make sure that it can be closed properly and all components will not tip over or be compressed. The shank must protrude through the refrigerator adequately. The gas is usually placed in the refrigerator with the kegs. So make sure that it fits as well. While it's not necessary to do so, if you place the gas outside the refrigerator, you will need to drill another hole for gas line.
Step 4 – Prepare to Fit Refrigerator in the Bar/Cabinet
Fit the refrigerator in the cabinet or bar where a faucet shank can be set in place. You'll be drilling through the refrigerator to let the tubes pass through. Make sure no important component will be affected. For that, it is easiest and safest to drill through the door of the refrigerator.
Step 5 – Drill through the Refrigerator
Once you've set everything, remove the keg and gas inside the refrigerator. Make sure that the refrigerator is unplugged and start drawing a circle where you'll be drilling a hole. Drill a hole using a saw drill bit to accommodate the faucet shank. Usually you can drill 3/4, 7/8, 1 or 1 1/8 inches depending on how much extra space you want. Just make sure to account the size or dimension of the shank to determine the best size of the drill you need to make.
Step 6 – Insert Shank
Clean up the drilled hole. Take a piece of wood that's just big enough than the hole you drilled in the refrigerator. It will act as the rear reinforcing plate that will attach the shank properly. Drill a smaller hole in it for the shank to pass through. Insert the shank through the refrigerator and through the rear reinforcing plate. Screw the hardware that is connected to the shank.
Step 7 – Clean Components
Wash the bear faucet, beer line, shank and other necessary components. Make sure they are well-sanitized. Remove dust and debris that could contaminate the beer.
Step 8 – Insert Faucet and Shank
Insert the beer faucet into the ready kitchen bar or cabinet and insert it and the shank assembly into the fridge and make sure to secure the components with the screws included. Secure everything in place.
Step 9 – Attach Beer Line
Connect the beer line to the coupler or connector that attaches it to the keg. Next, attach it to the faucet shank tailpiece. Use washers and wing nut if necessary, making sure no beer and gas leaks are found. Secure the ends with worm clamps. Remember, the beer line must be at least 5 feet long.
Step 10 – Secure Gas Line
Attach the gas line to the regulator outlet as well as the keg gas line “in” connector. The gas line must be at least 3 feet in length. Make sure the regulator is shut off.
Step 11 – Attach CO2 Cylinder
Make sure your CO2 cylinder is now filled yet shut off. Attach and secure it to the gas regulator.
Step 12 – Prepare Keg
Let your keg chill before you try it. Warm beer will only result from a very foamy beer tap. Do not attach the keg connectors just yet because a full pressurized keg may result to gas and beer being released explosively. Vent off the gas pressure from your keg by taking off the keg's pressure relief valve. Connect your keg and beer line and re-vent the gas pressure if necessary. Now, making sure the gas is turned off, connect it to the gas line. Shut off everything and make sure the gas regulator is turned to zero pressure. Verify that the beer handle is in the closed position.
Step 13 – Pressurize Keg
Now, turn the main CO2 cylinder gas valve on. Slowly open the regulator shut-off until you reach about 12 psi. Check for gas leaks if you hear hissing sounds from the system. Dispense some beer from the faucet and discard the initial beer. It may contain cleansers or sanitizers from washing the tubes and lines. Now, you're ready to throw a party!