I'd like to start kegging, but full size kegging seems pretty impractical. It's not the cost of the kegging setup, but the room and cost of the other stuff you need. The big problem for me, and probably many others, is refridgeration. To keep kegs cold, I'd need another fridge, and I'm already on the lookout for a fridge to use for lagering, so I'm talking two fridges now. Since I've finished our basement, I have limited room to put 2 fridges... Plus, I don't really want to have to go down to the basement to pour a beer...
With all that in mind, I'm looking at ways to avoid bottling but still be able to keep a supply of beer upstairs in the main fridge...
So far I've come across various items, which apparently, depending on who you ask, all suck...
1) Tap-a-draft system
Price is right. Size is right. I like that it's easily portable. I like that it can use 3 liter soda bottles, making replacing the bottles pretty cheap. Several other beer forums seem to love it, but google groups holds many bad comments about it. Mainly issues with it taking more carts to dispense than it should, over/under carbonating, popping valves, etc etc.
Looks cooler than the tap-a-draft, all metal construction seems like it would be sturdier. But there's a lot of complaints about mini-kegs not holding pressure and not lasting more than 2-3 uses. Also has adjustable pressure, which is a plus (you can tweak the carbonation level) and a minus (um, you have to fiddle and may blow stuff up).
3) 2.5 Gal keg with injector (http://www.williamsbrewing.com/KEG_I...M_P1762C44.cfm
This is tempting me... At 17" tall I can probably squeeze it in the main fridge. If I can get a used keg, I can probably put the whole thing together for less than $80. I also have a keg I can use later if I want to upgrade to full kegging. I wouldn't call it portable, but you could certainly haul it around. You can also easily switch out kegs to switch brews. Downside? Fitting in a standard fridge might be an issue, I have to measure. At 2.5 gallons, it's likely to take longer to drain it and who knows how well the mini CO2 cart will dispense it over 1-2 months.
If anyone has done any of the 3 methods above, let me know what success you had. I'm curious about the pros and cons of each method. We also don't drink our brew that quickly, maybe a dozen bottles a week or less, so longer term storage and maintaining carbonation in the fridge over time are important considerations.