How to Install a Bar Keg in Your Outdoor Bar

A bar keg is a must-have for those who enjoy outdoor entertaining, especially those concerned about the environment and don’t want to be bothered with disposing of countless cans and/or bottles after a party or watching the big game. For those who aren’t mechanically inclined enough to convert a refrigerator, installing a pre-made kegerator unit is the quickest way to have a convenient beer dispenser in your outdoor kitchen. The project will take the better part of a day, and will require moderate DIY skills. A helper would probably be a good idea as well.

Materials and Tools List:

  • Kegerator unit approved for outdoor use
  • Outdoor cabinet that will hold/house the unit
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Electrical saw
  • Wet saw (if installing stone/granite countertop)
  • Countertop and exterior finish materials for cabinet

Step 1 -  Plan Your Outdoor Kitchen Layout

If at all possible, try to place the cabinet that will contain the kegerator unit so it isn’t in direct sunlight. This will help the unit operate more efficiently, and the cooling capacity affects the quality - i.e., foaminess and taste - of the beer.

Step 2 -  Prepare the Cabinet

Ensure that your electrical power source is accessible because once the tap has been attached, you won’t be able to move or pull the kegerator out of the cabinet to plug into an outlet behind it. Have the cabinet permanently installed and level before installing the keg unit. Take measurements of the height, depth and width of the kegerator. You will need these to ensure it will fit into your cabinet, and to cut holes needed to install it and attach the tap. Mark and cut out the appropriate-sized holes in the front and top of the cabinet (if the tap is in the top. Some units have the tap in the door). Slide the keg unit into the cabinet and line it up with the tap opening on the top of the cabinet (if there is one). If the tap is on top, install the countertop before attempting to install the tap.

Step 3 -  Installing the Tap

Maneuver the kegerator so the hole on its top for the tap is lined up with the hole in the top of the cabinet. Install the tap according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure all parts of the tap have been installed securely so it stays put rather than shooting skyward in a beer shower.

Step 4 -  Complete any Exterior Finishes on Cabinet

Not “prettying up” the cabinet edges won’t affect the taste of the beer, but the party goers will notice. And so will your significant other.

Step 5 -  Plug In and Cool Down

Once the unit has cooled off to the optimum temperature (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit) attach the keg and get the party started. Remember, beer isn’t good forever, and the kegerator will require routine maintenance in order to continue delivering primo beverages. Clean the taps after every keg or every two weeks, whichever is longer.