04 Dec Groceries vs. Beer: The Battle for Fridge Space and a Dedicated Beer Fridge
Groceries vs. Beer
You’re keeping it modest, saving room for eggs and milk while stashing away your supply. But it may be time for a full-fledged beer fridge. Then what?
Is there such a thing as too much beer? Well, most beers don’t last forever. Maybe there is such a thing after all.
You’ve got some room dedicated in your fridge at home to put those sweet new 4-packs and particular shelfies that catch your eye at the grocery store.
You’re keeping it modest, saving room for eggs and milk while stashing away your supply.
But what if you’re really into beer, hitting up ALL the releases and trading beermail like a boss? Your kitchen fridge can only handle so much, and your significant other will probably have something to say on the matter as well!
From kegerators to full in-home draft systems, there are several options out there depending on your needs (and beer spending habits), but these are the most practical approaches to your new beer fridge:
1. Mini fridge as a beer fridge.
Cheap, sturdy, and easy to move around. A mini fridge is where I got started. My brother was moving and gave me his mini-fridge from college. They do the job and hold quite a bit of beer. Not always the best-looking appliances and bottles don’t fit standing up in some models, but they’re workhorses. Amazon has some great deals on brand new ones. If used is more your speed, Craigs List and Facebook Marketplace are great spots to find them.
2. Beverage fridge as a beer fridge.
It’s like a mini-fridge, but you can see through the front. The glass-fronted door looks clean and allows you to peek at your goodies whenever you want. A wine fridge would also work similarly. The only disadvantage would be having to lay your bottles and cans down. Not ideal, but if you were offered a free wine fridge, would you turn it down? NewAir and Kegerator have some great options too. Christmas is right around the corner, right?
3. Full-size fridge as a beer fridge.
The holy grail. We upgraded to one of these about 2 years ago, and I’ll never go back. All of my cans and bottles lined up and ready to be enjoyed. There is almost always plenty of room for the endless releases and beermail that I seem to find myself in all the time. And if you homebrew, you can add a fridge temp controller so you can get double the mileage out of your beer fridge and get consistent fermentation temperatures. Just be sure the beer you’re leaving in there is good at the fermentation temperatures for the beer you’re brewing, but that’s a whole other article.
Whichever option you go with depends on your budget and beer consumption rate, of course. Available space is likely a pretty big factor too, but it’s secondary for sure. My fridge is in my pantry, but it’s not uncommon to see them garages, game rooms, or living rooms.
Don’t judge me. My beer needs a home.
So, you’ve upgraded your life and got yourself a dedicated beer fridge. Your collection is sitting on the counter waiting to move into their new home. What’s the plan?
This part is always subjective, but here are a few suggestions that I provide whenever a friend is at the house, gawking at my fridge:
Organize by package date
Especially IPAs and anything else that’s hoppy. Those need to go first. Unfortunately, not every brewery dates their cans, but for newly-released beers, you can always ballpark it.
Organize by shelf.
I have a stout shelf, a hazy shelf, a bomber shelf, a trade/share shelf, and a shelfie shelf (all organized by date, duh).
If you don’t have the patience for different shelves, organize everything by style.
I typically know what style I’m in the mood for when it’s beer thirty, and I hate digging through rows of IPAs looking for a wheat beer.
Try to fit your beer cellar in the back of your fridge if you have room.
Light is the enemy of all beer, but if you can keep it dark AND cold, you get a gold star.
Store your beer upright if you can.
Laying bottles on their side exposes more surface area of the beer to oxygen, speeding up oxidation. Bottles and cans are the easiest; bombers are trickier to maneuver around shelves. But it’s those 750 mL bottles that get me every time.
Bonus: Fridges with attached freezers are super handy. Mine has a small freezer on top where I keep my ice packs. You can’t transport beer around without keeping it cold!
Despite having a full-size beer fridge, there have been a handful of times where I’ve been overstocked. My cellar hardly ever fits and sometimes I’m stashing extra bottles in my kitchen cabinets. So, organization has always been critical for me.
Everyone has their preference and I’ve seen a variety of different setups. Big fridge, small fridge, wood shelves, glass shelves…it doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that you fill it up with your favorites. To help you get started, check out HopDrop for 10% off craft beer delivery using our code “BEERCHRONICLE” at checkout.
Beers to you, Houston
Brent is originally from Ohio but has been in Houston for over 10 years. As an Aggie, musician, animal advocate, and Lego collector, he always has something going on. If you have an imperial stout, come find him. He’ll want to add it to his insatiable beer spreadsheet.