If you are the proud owner of a man cave, you already know how important it is to keep your beer cold. However, placing a traditional refrigerator in your man cave not only takes up quite a bit of space, it also looks very awkward and out of place in this type of room.
Wine coolers on the other hand fit perfectly in a man cave, and because of the decorative features with which some of these coolers are equipped, they also look great in this type of space.
The question is this: can you utilize your wine cooler to keep your supply of canned and bottled beer cold and ready to drink? Does a wine cooler offer the same beer-cooling effects as a standard refrigerator?
Is it worse or better at performing this function? These are the questions we will explore in some detail in the article below.
About the Wine Cooler
If you own a wine cooler, you already know that this device offers a wonderful way to store and display your collection of wines.
Wine coolers can be set to either store red wines, which are typically stored at 50 degrees F to 64 degrees F, white wines, which are typically stored at a temperature between 40 degrees F and 50 degrees F, or even champagne, which most experts believe should be stored between 40 degrees F and 45 degrees F for the nice chill people enjoy with this type of beverage.
Some wine coolers even offer dual zones, where the temperature can be set independently in each area of the cooler, allowing you to store both red and white wines simultaneously. Absent this dual zone, people who want to chill both red and white wine together often have to settle at a mid-range temperature, such as 55 degrees F.
In addition to being the ideal way to chill and preserve wine, the wine cooler is also seen as a decorative piece, proudly displaying some of the wines you have collected. This is why most wine coolers have glass doors.
Can I Store Beer in My Wine Cooler? (Proper Temperature Settings)
Can I store my canned and bottled beer in my wine cooler? The answer to that question is a resounding YES.
However, different beers should be stored at different temperatures to ensure the very best in taste and flavor.
Much like wine, different types of canned and bottled beer have very specific temperature ranges at which they should be stored and chilled. The overall range is, in fact, very wide—wider than you may have thought—at a range between 35 degrees F and 60 degrees F.
If your wine cooler only has one temperature zone setting, and you want to store multiple types of beer at once, most experts agree that the best compromise from a temperature standpoint is to keep your cooler between 50 degrees F and 55 degrees F.
Here is a look at the ideal temperature range for certain types of beer:
- Wine cooler set to 40 degrees F to 50 degrees F. Light beer, such as lager, pilsner, wheat beer and low-calories beer.
- Wine cooler set to 50 degrees F to 55 degrees F. Standard ales, such as bitter Dobblebock, IPAs, Lambic, Amber Bock and Stout.
- Wine cooler set to 55 degrees F to 60 degrees F. Strong beers, such as Barleywine, Triple and Dark Ale.
One of the primary advantages of storing and cooling beer in a wine cooler as opposed to a refrigerator is that it is easier to reach those higher temperatures for some of the stronger, heavier beers. Believe it or not, when beer is too cold, the taste receptors on your tongue become numbed.
This makes the beer taste bland or completely tasteless. Most home brewers use wine coolers or adapted versions of wine coolers to store their beer in order to bring forth the full taste.
Additionally, if you are thinking about cellaring your beer and you want to age it or hold onto it for a long time, storing it the refrigerator runs the risk of drying out the cork.
Dual zone wine coolers allow you to easily store your white wines and champagnes together with your red wine and beer, all at their preferred temperatures. In these coolers, the upper zone temperature ranges between 40 degrees F and 50 degrees F; while the lower zone compartment can be set for 50 degrees F to 64 degrees F.
Another great advantage to using a wine cooler for your beer is that it can stand alone or be built-in to your countertops or cabinets—think man cave or home bar setup. This makes the wine cooler very versatile and it is likely to stand out nicely at your next party or beer tasting event.
Last but not least, some people have even transformed their wine coolers into a homemade kegerator for their home bar or man cave. This of course requires a few modifications.
You will first need to remove the shelving to make room for the keg. You will then have to modify the top of the wine cooler in order to build in a faucet and a tap handle.
Finally, you will need to add a small tank of carbon dioxide in order to push the beer through the lines and out the faucet and to regulate the pressure of the beer in the keg and the lines.
Alternate Uses for a Wine Cooler
Now you know you can store your beer in a wine cooler, let’s discuss some of the (other) alternate uses for this type of cooling device. Due to its ability to chill drinks down, most non-alcoholic drinks can also be stored in a wine cooler.
Drinks like soda, juice and water will all cool nicely in a wine cooler and be ready to drink in no time. On the other hand, milk and other dairy based drinks should not be stored continuously in a wine cooler.
Milk based drinks need to be stored below 40°F and are best left in the refrigerator, unless you are just planning on storing them in your wine cooler for a couple of hours, say to mix that milk into a cocktail like a White Russian.
Some of the non-alcoholic drinks you can usually cool in a wine cooler include:
- Water bottles
- Sparkling Water
- Iced Tea
- Orange Juice
- Grapefruit Juice
- Tomato Juice
- Energy Drinks
- And more
Being able to utilize your wine cooler to store your non-alcoholic drinks is not only great for operating a home-based bar, it also means the whole family can benefit from the cooler. Chances are, if you have an average size family, you probably struggle for space in your refrigerator to store your food, never mind a refreshing drink.
Thus, a wine cooler is a great option when you need that extra space and an alternative cooler to keep your beverages.
Believe it or not, you can also store a variety of food items in your wine cooler as well. Many foods go very well with wine.
In fact, there are events held throughout the country in which wine and food are paired together for various tasting events. Fruit, for example, can be stored very nicely in your wine cooler as a way to keep them chilled.
Of course, you will want to avoid any strong smelling produce in your wine cooler, items like onion and garlic, as these foods can actually impart their odor to the wines you are storing. Other produce items, however, are fair game.
Fruits such as the following can all be stored in your wine cooler:
- Bananas (after they ripen)
- Peaches (after they ripen)
- Plums (after they ripen)
- Nectarines after they ripen)
- Leafy greens
- Herbs like cilantro and parsley
And who doesn’t like cheese with their wine? Many of the most popular cheeses can be stored without incident in your wine cooler.
In fact, experts say that most cheeses should actually be stored at a higher temperature than that given off by your standard refrigerator. According to these experts, most cheese should be stored at temperatures ranging from 35 degrees F to 45 degrees F, but this is not always the rule.
Semi soft cheese should be maintained at 40 degrees F to 45 degrees F, and hard cheese and washed rind cheese should be chilled at 40 degrees F to-50 degrees F.
If serving this cheese with wine, we recommend that you remove your cheese from the cooler or fridge about half an hour before serving that cheese to warm it closer to room temperature—the temperature at which you will get the most authentic flavor.
Other foods can also be chilled in your wine cooler, such as all types of chocolates and olive oil, both of which pair very well with different types of wine.