It doesn’t get much better than drinking fresh beer on draft in the comfort of your own home. Something about draft beer makes it just taste better in my opinion.
For a true beer fan, having your own kegerator is a must, especially if you’re a homebrewer.
Over the past few years, I’ve had my beer fridge in my garage that has room for 2 corny kegs (I could probably fit a few more) that I’ve used for my homebrew. I never ran tap lines and have needed to open up the fridge every time I wanted to pour some beer. That’s not that big of a problem, but it takes up space for the many bottles I want to keep cold.
The other problem I had was that I didn’t have the hookups for non corny kegs, so I was unable to serve kegged beer I got from a brewery. In the back of my mind I really wanted to get a small kegerator to go next to my fridge that would allow me to use multiple keg sizes, plus free up space in my beer fridge for other goodies.
Thanks to the amazing people at NewAir, my wish came true. In full disclosure they sent me out one of their NewAir AK-200SS Stainless Steel Kegerators in exchange for writing up this review. Not a bad perk for writing a beer blog, eh? However like anything else I get sent for review, I will always give my honest opinion. If something just plain sucks, it doesn’t matter how expensive it is, I’ll let my readers know.
My AK-200SS Review
First, I was pretty frustrated in the obstacles I was running into for writing this review. I was really wanting to do a high quality video showing the kegerator and me pouring some delicious beer from it, however I couldn’t get my camera to work right. Once I can get it fixed I’ll be attaching the video to the post so you can see it in action.
Along with that I have it out in my garage, which doesn’t have the best lighting. Last week our garage door broke so I couldn’t even open the door to get natural light in so you’ll have to just view the stock photos as they are 1000 times better than mine. (side note, if someone ever wants to teach me how to take good pictures, I’d love the help).
Anyways, with that said, on to the review.
What is the NewAir AK-200SS?
The AK-200SS is a stainless steel, single tap kegerator that stands just over 33 inches tall. It is setup to fit full size kegs and pony kegs (I got a sixth barrel keg that works as well) and both cools and dispenses the kegged beer.
It includes all that you need except for a keg and CO2 (although it does come with the CO2 tank that you’ll need to fill).
For those interested in the technical specs, here you go:
Dimensions: 26.50″ L x 21.25″ W x 33.13″ H
Weight: 89.00 lbs.
Warranty: 1 year limited
Voltage: 115 volts
Amps: 1.9 amps
Frequency: 60 Hz
Number of Taps: 1
CO2 Tank Size: 2.5lb Canister
Unboxing the Kegerator
As you’d expect, shipping a kegerator isn’t the easiest thing. The AK-200SS weighs in at 89lbs with a total shipping weight of 103.85lbs. I was hoping that there would be no problems with the unit, as shipping it back could have been a pain. Luckily everything worked out fine.
NewAir knows what they are doing when it comes to shipping. The box was packed tight with no room for any movement. They even had a film that covered the stainless steel to protect it. I don’t think they could have packed it any better and it arrived in perfect condition.
Installing the Kegerator
I was a little nervous when I opened the box and noticed all of the parts as I’m not the handiest guy around when it comes to putting things together.
However I had everything up and running in probably an hour. After getting it all together I was left with more washers, nuts, and random parts than I was comfortable with. Apparently they are extras, but they didn’t really explain why they were there. I was left with a nervous feeling that I didn’t put the thing together correctly, but it worked so I was happy.
Overall the installation manual was my least favorite part of this product. I’m not sure if they forgot to have someone outside the company read through it before they printed it, but it was incredibly confusing. Luckily I was able to hack my way through it and won’t have to look at it again.
Since it is a refrigerator, I had to wait a day or so before I plugged it in as it had to go on its side to put the casters on (which is explained in the manual). I was anxious to get my first beer poured, but I had patience.
Inside they have a spot designated just for the CO2 tank that secures tightly to the wall. It also has an adjustable thermostat so you can get your beer at the proper serving temperature.
Using the Kegerator
I knew my inaugural keg had to be something pretty special since it was my first, and also because the Super Bowl was that weekend and my Seahawks were playing (and might I add it ended up being the best Super Bowl of all time). I ended up heading down to Total Wine & More and snagged a 1/6 barrel keg of Georgetown Lucille IPA. I needed a Seattle beer, and Lucille is one of the best IPAs around.
I also stopped by our local homebrew shop and got the CO2 tank exchanged with a full one. For obvious safety reasons NewAir can’t ship a full tank, so you’ll need to either get yours filled up, or swap it out with a full one.
With both a full keg and CO2 tank, I hooked them up to the AK-200SS. I’ve only hooked up corny kegs before and I was surprised at how easy it was this time to get everything working.
Thankfully the folks at Total Wine keep their kegs in a refrigerated room so it was already cold and I was able to pour my first beer. It was beautiful. The tap pours fairly slowly giving your beer just the right amount of head.
They thought ahead when adding the tap dispenser as it’s tall enough to fill large glasses, growlers and pitchers with no problems. It also includes a drip tray so you don’t make a mess all over the stainless steel unit.
Also one thing to note is that it is setup for Sankey style kegs. If you are wanting to use corny kegs to dispense homebrew, you can do it, you’ll just need to buy some extra parts to convert it.
What I Think
I’m not going to lie, I’ve loved this kegerator. It is incredibly well thought out and pours beer exactly how I was hoping. I’ve had multiple friends over and they’ve all loved it as well.
One cool feature that they designed into it is the ability to turn it into a beer fridge when you don’t have a full keg. You can plug the dispenser and it includes two racks that can be placed inside to hold your cans, bottles and growlers. While I already have a beer fridge, this might just be the perfect option for that person trying to convince their spouse into letting them get a standalone beer fridge when they don’t have a lot of space.
My only gripe that I mentioned before is the poorly written installation manual, but once you get it setup it’s really not a big deal.
It really is a sturdy and very easy to use kegerator that looks beautiful. I’ve greatly appreciated the casters on the bottom which has made moving this thing across the garage pretty simple. I do however wish I had a man cave to put this in.
If you’re looking for a single tap kegerator, I wouldn’t hesitate at all to recommend the AK-200SS.
Where To Buy The Newair AK -200SS
Here are current prices around the web.
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