Bottled my second brew last night. Coopers Australian Pale Ale.
My father knows a guy who is getting rid of his kegging equipment. Seems that he has three kegs, all the tubing and regulators etc, everything minus the CO2 cylinder, selling for $75
That is all I do is keg. It is the only way to go. Cuts your bottling time down to an hour
I have two dramas here. The first is the CO2 cylinder, which will be an initial outlay of about $200 for a 2.6KG bottle. The second is cooling; I don't really have a spare fridge suitable for chilling/gassing/dispensing a keg, an no real room to put one if I did.
There are a lot of beer and mead styles that are suitable for serving at room temperature or "cellar temperature." Purists will rail about what I'm about to suggest, but British "real ale" recopies may be just what the doctor ordered in that regard.
You don't necessarily need to cool the entire keg. I've long been tempted to work out a means of turning a dorm fridge into a serviceable "Jockey box" for on-demand cooling.
You can also experiment with making your own soda and serving it into ice filled glasses. A quick warning though, birch and root beer will leave an indelible fragrance to the tubing they go through. The replaceable "O" rings on the kegs may also end up "root beer only" but the steel kegs can be cleaned out.
You don't need to get a new CO2 tank. A used one that's still certified will be just fine. Some places, like "Modern Brewer" in Cambridge, MA will just exchange your empty tank for a full one for a fee and toss the empty tank into their rotation. This means getting a new tank is an immediate waste of money, as the full tank you get back will be "used" anyway.
I don't have a keg setup, but have done a lot of research as I want one.