What’s a Jockey Box?
Expert Advice

Outdoor parties aren’t the same without a nice cold beer.  However, beer lovers know all too well that dispensing from a kegerator with a typical party pump is often a disappointing experience. Why? Because the beer either won’t stay cold enough or whatever is remaining inside the keg spoils by the day’s end. Leave the kegerators behind and instead opt for a jockey box!

Jockey boxes are insulated containers housing ice, water, and a long coil of hollow tubing. Relying solely on ice for refrigeration, beer travels from a keg into one end of the cooler, through the jockey box coils to a draft faucet at the other end of the cooler, and into your cup.

Its patented design does a much better job at keeping your beer at the perfect temperature helping to reduce foaming, it uses CO2 to push the beer out properly and it stands up better to high-pour situations.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind as you pick out your jockey box:

  1. Style: Are aesthetics or functionality more important to you? You could go the all-stainless-steel route for a polished look or prefer something a bit more rugged that can withstand the rigors of challenging environments.
  2. Volume: If you’re only looking to pour full pints, then a 50-ft coil will suffice, but if you’re going to pour full pitchers, might want to get 100-ft coils
  3. Purpose: Where will it be stationed? Festivals, parking lot tailgates, and backyard patios each have their own distinct atmosphere, vibe, and crowd.
  4. Who’s Pouring: Whether you have a designated bartender or if you plan to have it be self-serve, this will determine if it’s better for inputs to be on the front or rear of the jockey box.

This unit from Coldbreak, for example, features a separate cooling coil and faucet for each tap which allows you to hook up two kegs at the same time. It has rear inputs, meaning the beverage lines coming from the kegs connect to this jockey box on the back of the cooler, which leaves a clean look on the pouring side of the cooler.

Once you’ve decided on your jockey box, you will want to connect everything and run a little beer through each of the taps to make sure there is no leftover water or moisture in the coils. It’s possible that adding ice right away could freeze that trapped moisture, which in turn would block your line.

By running a little beer through each faucet first, you will discharge any trapped water, and since beer has alcohol in it, it has a much lower freezing point so there is no fear of anything freezing up. If all looks good, then fill the cooler with cold water up to the top of the coil stacks and fill the rest with ice.

Follow these jockey box tips and let the good times – and beer – flow!