Keg for a Party?

by Dennis Mayer | June 13th, 2013 | Ask the Bartender

spigotWe are hosting a graduation party later this month.  I was thinking about getting a keg of beer instead of getting five or six cases.  I know that will limit us to only one type of beer, but it will be less expensive.  Other than limiting beer choice, are there other reasons that I shouldn’t get a keg?

Any reasons for not getting a keg would be purely logistical. They’re heavy (about 150 pounds full), they’re often messy, they dominate a room, they require a ton of ice to keep cool, and they contain a lot of beer (about 120 pints, or 165 cans’ worth of beer.) Plus, there’s always the weird frat-party vibe that sets in any time you’re drinking from a keg — a vibe that’s even stronger if your guests are drinking out of disposable plastic cups (stronger still if they’re the ubiquitous red Solo cup.)

Having said all that, you’re right — a keg is an economical way to serve a lot of beers to a lot of people, and if your party attendee list is short on the kind of folks who would cast aspersions at the do-it-yourself vibe, then on the bartender side, I can’t see a problem with using a keg.

There will, of course, be hardware needs. You’ll need a tub of some kind to hold the beer and the ice it needs to stay cool. You’ll need the handle to pump the keg (though that will likely be offered as a rental by the liquor store that sells you the keg). You’ll need to plan on pumping the keg an awful lot to dispense all that beer, too. Alternately, you could plan on renting/buying a portable keg dispensing system, which might be smart if you think you’ll be hosting these graduation-type parties often.

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