Here at the Herkimer, we love being the top brew pub in the Minneapolis area. Not only do we classify as a craft brewery, we are also a top-notch sports bar and grill. Beer is in our blood (figuratively and literally). From selecting the right hops to dispensing craft beer from the tap, we revel in the experience. Every American of drinking age has seen the epicenter of the party: Keg Avenue. However, not everyone is as adamant about libations as we are. Today we’ll look at what goes into this shiny barrel and how kegs actually work.


Kegs are typically metal barrels welded together with the intention of being completely airtight. Based on the old-school wood version, called a firkin, kegs are made to hold liquid while holding up under lots of pressure. We’re not firkin around! If your keg leaks, nobody is happy. At the center of the keg sits the spear; no, it’s not a weapon of war. The spear is the central tube that transports beer from the bottom of the keg up to the tap. Without it, party-goers would be performing reverse keg stands. No, thank you.


Your typical kegger unit operates through pressure. Not peer pressure, but air pressure. The average hand pump is cheap and easy to use. This pump operates to push air into the keg, forcing the beer up through the spear. However, oxygen is not conducive for keeping beer fresh and delicious. The solution? Science! CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) is introduced as the hero for pumping beer while keeping carbonation intact. CO2 is technically carbonation, so adding too much can equate to the opposite of flat beer. Overly carbonated beer can be just as bad! Because of this, nitrogen can be the Robin to CO2’s Batman. Mixing the two gases together can pay off dividends for the crafty pub establishment.


Once pressure has been established, your beer will come flowing forth like beautiful liquid gold. Where’s the regulation? Enter the beer tap. Taps are valves that allow the beer to exit but prohibit anything from entering the keg. Tapping the keg typically refers to someone putting the hand pump on the keg and gaining access through that valve. If you’re working with the previously announced gases, however, you’ll need some help. Queue music for keg coupler intro. The coupler is the attack point on your keg. It handily connects to the tap, takes in gas, and expels beer. This bad boy comes in a variety of styles and sizes to fit the user’s unique beer needs. The deciding factor in your coupler is the amount of pressure it delivers. Beers have a variety of brewing techniques and flavors, and having the correct pressure is key to enjoying said brewskis. Mixtures vary and so does the carbonation levels.
There it is; the science that goes into delivering beer at your next rager or business meeting. The Herkimer loves beer and is proud to be the best brew pub in Minneapolis. Is this keg talk making you thirsty? Make a reservation now to save a spot and then come in to enjoy the science of beer distribution. Happy drinking!