At some point in the wedding planning process, it had crossed my mind to brew some beer for the reception, though I was not going to make that a non-negotiable factor for choosing a venue that would allow 1) outside alcohol and 2) homebrewed beer. The number of venues in Nashville that permitted homebrew were small, and we had more pressing demands (like trying to fit 200 people in a venue).
By some luck, we settled upon a venue that permitted both outside alcohol and homebrewed beer. So now I guess I had to brew some beer for my wedding as the stars had aligned. Additionally, it would look weird if I didn’t, considering I had brewed beer for 2 friends’ weddings at this point. After a few back of the napkin calculations, I started considering whether I could brew all the beer for the wedding, and once I realized it was feasible, I naturally used that as evidence that I should.
So I was on my way to brewing, and realized I needed a good way to serve it. The only restrictions from the venue was we could not self-serve, so the options had to be simple enough for their bartenders to operate.
- Bottle my beer
- Bottling 150 beers for my friend’s wedding was hard enough, and I needed more like 750 for mine.
- Difficult to naturally carbonate (with yeast) to yield crystal clear pours
- Could carbonate in kegs then bottle, but this would be a ton of work
- Would need to buy/collect a ton of bottles
- Find someone with a big enough prebuilt chest freezer/ice-chest
- Highly unlikely
- Rent a jockey-box
- Wouldn’t know if I were renting a plate or coil chilled jockey box until I had it
- To be safe, I would really need to build an ice-chest regardless to minimize foaming (disaster at a wedding), which minimizes the cost-saving of renting
- Buy a jockey-box
- This way I could ensure I had a more efficient coil chilled jockey box
- Still a risk of foaming with room temperature kegs of beer
- I still felt that cooling the kegs in an ice chest was essential to prevent foaming
- Build an ice chest
As you can see, I had already talked myself into building an ice chest by this point. Foaming beer was not an option at a wedding, especially if I was going to spend a lot of time and effort brewing a bunch of good beer.
Foam Inner Box
aka the easy part
First time using a caulk gun
Exoskeleton, tied into the wheel base
Inner shower pan liner going in
Corny Keg for scale
Exterior ShellSo glad I bought a pocket hole jig
The sides are connected to the front with piano hinges to aid in storage and transportation
Hooks in with Picture Tongue Hooks
Birch Plywood Exterior
aka Really Wish I Had a Pickup Truck
Starting on the Bar Top
Here you can see how my pocket hole jig made this project possible
Top framing done, nesting on top of the hinged side panels
This is upside down to get the bottom edge trim in the right place
Placing the vertical trim
All in place
Front view of the shell that fits on the ice chest
Cutting the hole for the drip tray and hose lines
(2 Days Before the Wedding)
TransportationDid I ever turn the drain port to the closed position before the wedding? No.....
I was too rushed to take pictures of the setup process (needed to be on time for my own wedding), but it fit 15 corny kegs. I brewed 4 recipes, daisy-chaining the kegs together that were the same recipe (liquid out port->gas-in port). I somehow guessed correctly on the CO2 serving pressure, helping cap off a perfect day.
Thanks for reading, and comment if you have any questions!