Beer Meister

Written by Christopher Ransom
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The term beer meister comes from the oldest beer experts, the Germans, and translated directly the term "meister" means one who is renowned for, has expertise in, or is a connoisseur of ... in this case beer. Often the term applies to the pub owner or server, who as a true beer meister is much more qualified than a mere waiter. A true beer meister is like a wine sommelier; an expert who has studied and can advise you on a great selection of wines.

In the world of bar accessories, a beer meister more commonly refers to a piece of equipment than a person. It is also known as a kegerator, a keg cooler with the tap and carbon dioxide tank attached to create true draft beer just like you will find in a commercial bar. For the serious beer drinker, adding a beer meister to your home bar is a commitment, but one that will probably save you money in the long run and, of course, pour you a superior beer. A typical keg of beer costs anywhere from thirty to one hundred and fifty dollars, depending on your brand, and contains a little over fifteen gallons of beer. That's roughly one hundred and twenty canned or bottled beers, or six and a half cases, which costs anywhere from fifteen to thirty dollars per case. A keg of Budweiser might cost you as little as forty dollars, for instance, but the same amount of cases would cost you around eighty dollars, plus the mess of cleaning up all those cans.

Adding a Beer Meister to Your Home Bar

Installing these items to your home requires some carpentry skills and advanced planning, so you may want to shop for a kit that's "ready to go" or consult an expert first. To set up a true beer meister, you will need a refrigeration unit to keep the beer cold, a keg of beer (available in ¼ or ½ sizes), a tap, which is the device that draws the beer from the keg, and a CO2 tank, which keep the beer aerated and fresh. Some beer meisters will also have a sink on top, to allow room for easy clean up when your cup runneth over.

Beer meisters are available as stand alone appliances or as more customized units, which fit into existing bars, counters, or other furniture, much like a dishwasher sits in your kitchen. When shopping for a meister, consult your supplier about the layout of your bar and the best solution for you. You can purchase a used one if you're really trying to save money, as my roommates and I did in college, but you're better off buying a new one to ensure you are getting a clean, quality product that will last for years.

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