So here is the situation – I’ve got this recessed wall closet/shelf at my place that I’ve been itching to renovate into a bar/keg setup for a while now. There are a handful of issues regarding location and refrigeration so I was hoping some of you more wise home-keg-setup folk could help me out. I’ve done my best to comb old threads for info (and there certainly is a lot of great stuff) but I think I still have some questions that have not been specifically addressed.
Below is a quick sketch of the closet, in section. If is not dimensionally exact, it is more meant as a schematic diagram so you can see what I’m getting at.
My overall desire is to have cold homebrew dispensed at the countertop level and install some shelving above for liquors/display. Exactly HOW to chill the cornies is the biggest question. Conceptually speaking, I could either A) chill the kegs or B) chill the lines heading to the taps.
Speaking of A – aside from ripping out the countertop and rolling in a kegerator (this is not exactly what I want to do, i'd rather just live w/ the free-satanding kegerator and use the below cabinet space as storage) what options would I have to refrigerate the space? The closet is not located on any exterior walls so a window AC unit (as done in some great DIY threads here) is out of the question. I know this sounds wacky, but if the keg space was built into a insulated, accessible “box” how could I get that refrigerated? There is a spare bedroom which shares the rear wall of this closet (at extreme right in the above diagrams). Is ducting a standard mini-fridge through the wall a viable option? Are there refrigeration “kits” out there where I could directly cool/ventilate with the guts of a fridge built directly into/adjacent to this space?
Speaking of B – I’ve heard of “flash chillers”. They seem expensive and rare, but I would not have to worry about insulating and chilling a “box” for the kegs. Are there any unit out there that do this for a homebrewers type budget? Also, I’ve heard of people around here making “draft boxes” in the Irish pub “coffin” style units. How would these draft boxes be cooled? Are they commercial-type units specifically designed for this purpose? I guess it sounds like I am looking for a home/more affordable version of a glycol system or something. A friend of mine keeps saying “just make it like a jockey box, and routinely drain the water and add ice”. I definitely don’t want to do that, but conceptually it is exactly what I am looking for.
Sorry if this seems trivial to some of you guys - based upon the setups I'm hearing of and seeing here this is definitely a smaller project with many beginner questions! I’m sure there are other methods and ideas out there, that’s why I’d like to tap into your collective knowledge. Any thoughts or input would be great. thanks all.
Extra info: I already have the entire keg setup and am pretty good with the details of layout/manifolds/pressures/etc. - the refrigeration is where I'm more clueless!