The pitcher of beer is a time-honored tradition among North American beer drinkers. The US pitcher is a well-known cultural fact, though many beer drinkers don’t really know how much beer they’re actually consuming. Since pitcher styles and sizes can differ from bar to bar, it’s important that you know what comes standard and how much beer comes in each size.
So if you’ve been wondering how many ounces are in a pitcher of beer, keep on reading. We’ve got the answers.
How Many Ounces is a Pitcher?
Did you know that pitchers are derived from the 13th century “picher,” a jug made out of clay that was used for containing or serving beverages. Since then, pitchers have become a standard for pouring water and delivering loads of beer to diners. That said, the amount of liquid a pitcher contains will vary, since there are 3 standard sizes in the US.
You will often find that pitchers, be they plastic, glass, stainless steel, or some other material, come in 32oz, 48oz, or 60oz sizes. You may also find less common sizes, such as 64oz, 72oz, 96oz and so on.
How Many Ounces in a Pitcher of Beer?
Let’s say that you order a 60 ounce pitcher of beer. The standard serving of beer is 12 ounces, though ordering a pint of beer from a brewery gets you 15-16 ounces. In other words, if you order a pitcher of beer, you are getting either six 10-ounce servings or five 12-ounce servings. Convert that into pints, and you get 3 servings. This is about 1.8 liters of beer total.
What about a 48oz pitcher of beer? The vessel will hold around 1,419.53mL of beer, or roughly 1.4L or 4 glasses, 12 ounces each. Don’t be surprised if the server comes bearing extra glasses when they deliver the pitcher, because they are going to assume that you are sharing it with others!
How Many Ounces in a Mini Pitcher?
The most common smallest size of a pitcher or mini pitcher is around 30-32oz. When you convert 32oz, you get 946.35mL of beer. Since this is a smaller pitcher you can expect around three 12oz servings, though you’re going to be getting about 2/3 full on the third cup! Be careful if you have a group of three and order a 32oz pitcher, because your one friend might think they’re the third wheel.
If you’re trying to figure out which pitcher to order for a large group, always go with the 60 ounce pitcher of beer. You don’t have to worry about the beer going flat, since most of the beer will be poured and enjoyed right away.
Do Germans Serve Beer in a Pitcher?
You might be opting to head to Oktoberfest in Munich this year. Don’t expect any pitchers on the tables at the festivities! Unlike many American cities, where you can get a pitcher of beer for a party, Germans provide a single liter of beer instead, known as a Mass. These are often confused for pitchers, but they are large glass mugs. Otherwise, the most common serving sizes for beer is a 0.2L glass for Kolsch beer, 0.33L glass for a pilsner, or a 0.5L for a wheat beer.
Is It Illegal to Order a Pitcher of Beer For Yourself?
In the US, the legality of ordering a whole pitcher of beer to drink on your own depends on the state. Standard pitchers come in 3 sizes: 32, 48, or 60 ounces. Some states will prohibit serving over 50 ounces of beer at one time to an individual, while others are more strict. Now, if you decide to order a 48 oz pitcher of beer for yourself, there is nothing wrong with it, assuming you’re not planning on drinking any other alcoholic beverage alongside it.
Again, this depends on the policies of the restaurant and the state. If the bartender or waitstaff tell you that it can’t be done, don’t argue with them. Of course, you are always welcome to call the restaurant or bar to see what their policies are for serving a single pitcher of beer to one person.
So if you’ve been waffling about ordering a pitcher of beer for yourself, don’t. The beauty about having 32oz, 48oz, or 60oz of beer to yourself is that you don’t have to wait for the server to bring you a refill. You have the power to pour your own beer as soon as your glass is empty.
Other Large Beer Vessels To Consider
Not vibing with the idea of ordering a massive amount of beer at once? There are other beer vessels that are larger than your standard 12-ounce bottle but less imposing than a 60oz pitcher. Steins, tankards, and even Viking drinking horns can be an excellent break from the norm—and help satisfy those beer cravings.
Out with friends? See if the restaurant or bar has a beer tower on the menu. This is a popular option that lets you pour your beer from a portable tap. Plus, the beer stays fresher for longer than it would in a pitcher, so you can drink as lazily as you’d like.
Pitchers of beer come standard in many venues around the US. Now, you should know that the pitcher is either 32oz,48oz, or 60oz; you’ll also be able to calculate how many servings of beer are in each. Serving up a fresh pitcher of beer is a great way to keep everyone at the get-together happy, but there’s nothing wrong with getting yourself a pitcher and enjoying your delicious beer alone either!
Frequently Asked Questions
There are three standard pitcher sizes that you can choose from: 32oz, 48oz, and 60oz. You will most commonly find 60oz at restaurants and bars.
In a 32oz pitcher, you can expect 2 and 2/3 servings when pouring into a 12 ounce glass. For 48oz, you get about four 12 ounce glasses of beer. A 60oz pitcher produces the most servings of beer, either 5 or 6 servings, depending on the size of your glass.
Plastic pitchers come in the same sizes as the standard glass or stainless steel pitcher. This means that you will find plastic pitchers that are 32 oz, 48 oz, 60 oz, and larger. In-between sizes are also available, so shop around and see what you find.
Depending on state laws about how much alcohol can be served at one time to a single customer, the standard pitcher of beer is either going to be 32oz, 48oz, or 60oz. For example, some states allow only 50oz of alcohol to be sold at once, meaning the standard pitcher of beer for an establishment in said state would be 48oz. In short, it depends, but you will see 48oz and 60oz most often.