By: James Walsh

 

Let’s be honest. Your typical keg is ugly. Even when it’s right off the factory line, mini-kegs look like the munitions for a German railway gun. Frequent pumping can be tedious too, especially if your guests total more than one.

That’s why if you are serving your latest homebrew experiment, the jockey box is the superior, more stylish way to unleash your suds on the world.

What Is A Jockey Box?

Jockey boxes are everywhere at beer festivals or ball games. The exterior looks like your typical cooler (or if the owner has a little panache, a stained wooden box) with tap handles or a faucet.

Inside, beer is kept cold in one of two ways: a series of stacked coils or a big, thick cold plate submerged in ice. Either is connected to a CO2 tank which neatly chills everything coming from your keg or mini-keg. That way, the keg can be tucked out of sight as beer pours from the faucet with ease.

Tips for the Savvy Jockey Box Owner

Though it gets an A+ for appearance, your jockey box requires attention to keep beer appearing and tasting its best.

  • Jockey box coils and related lines need to be regularly sterilized. Bacteria will germinate in any nook they’re given. You never want your beer, no matter the style, to gain an aromatic hint or overpowering taste of rancidity.
  • Cold plates in a jockey box require a regular replenishment of ice. If neglected, the beer pouring from the faucet is going to be more foam than cool, crisp liquid.

CO2 pressure isn’t standard between jockey box styles. Regulator pressure should be at 25 to 35 lbs for a coil system for a coil system and 35 to 45 lbs with a cold plate box.