I will begin by admitting that someone has undoubtedly come up with this idea or something very much like it. There is also a pretty good chance I could have discovered the original thinker behind it if I did a little investigative Google searching. By doing this I might have reduced this blog post to a simple link. However, if Columbus didn’t let a few million pesky forerunners keep him from “discovering” America and grabbing a few pages in the history books, why should I let my great idea be spoiled just because someone else already had it?
Essentially, I want what every right minded person wants; a loving family, meaningful work, good health and my very own beer tap. The first three seem to be the main topics of virtually every self-help book, and yet, the last is almost always over-looked. Why? Do we not realize the profound effect of fresh draft beer on the human soul? Do we somehow imagine that the can, the bottle, the gross-plastic-things-they-sell-at-ballparks can replace the wonder that is foaming, cascading tap-poured beer?
Besides, isn’t a keg more environmentally friendly? No bottles or cans to throw out or, in the best case, recycle. Kegs are cleaned and reused, just like the beautiful glassware into which their sweet nectar is poured. Packaging is significantly lower with less in the way of labels and boxes, and there are always tons of good, local brews available (at least around me).
But wait, I hear some of you say, wouldn’t a keg mean . . . an extra refrigerator? A beer fridge? Ahh, there’s the rub. The fridge. The energy sucking, ambient heating, cavern of cool into which I must place my precious kegs to get them to that ever so tasty temperature at which beer should be enjoyed. Worse, to have a real tap I would need to carve a hole in that fridge, a hole through which energy could escape making it less efficient than ever. Fortunately, this is where my superb (play along) idea comes into play.
Five or more feet below the earth’s surface the temperature remains nearly constant at around 50-55 degrees (this varies a bit by region of course). The ideal temperature for enjoying most beers (lagers, fruit beers and wheat beers like it a bit cooler) is 50-55 degrees. Coincidence? I think not. What if, rather than chill our beer with a fridge, we harnessed the earth’s power to maintain our ideal beer temp.? This isn’t a new idea. People have long “cellared” beers underground to cool them to drinkable temps. But if you don’t have a cellar . . .
Essentially, my concept is to create my tap lines out of some sort of conductive tubing and bury long coils in my backyard. The beer would leave my room-temperature keg and flow through the underground coils, exchanging energy with the cool ground. By the time I pulled the beer from my tap it would be cold and delicious. Tasty beer at the perfect temperature with no refrigeration. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?
Now, I admit that I have no idea what the exact logistics of this type of setup might be. How long a run do I need to equalize the temp between the ground and the beer? How do I make the beer flow all that additional distance? Out of what type of material do I make my lines? If you can answer any of these questions, do it in the comments and make my day.