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Popular Beer Sizes

Cans, bottles, kegs and more! (Issue 35)
Founders All Day IPA Sizes

From one bar to the next, there’s little consistency in what a serving of beer might look like. Serving sizes and the vessels they come in can be confusing even for a seasoned beer drinker, so how a beer shows up in front of a customer can be intimidating and puzzling. Beer lovers argue over whether a shaker pint is acceptable for a beer, or they may insist on nonic pints, snifters or tulips. Cans and bottles offer a variety of different serving sizes for consumption at home, and breweries produce barrels of beer – though that is a different measurement than the wooden whiskey barrels and kegs that often make their home within breweries and restaurants alike. To help clear up any confusion, here's a closer look at the most popular beer sizes you'll find among cans, bottles, kegs and more.

Glass Sizes

Breweries will more often than not pour their beers out of serving tanks and kegs through a draft system into glasses. These glasses will vary in size and are often somewhat based on a beer’s alcohol content. 

As breweries and consumers become more sophisticated in their beer knowledge, the glass variations are expanding to fit certain types of beers and accentuate their aromas and flavors, but these three sizes are most likely to be found at your neighborhood brewpub.

4 oz. 
If a brewery is offering flights of beers, it’s a good bet the flight will come in 4-ounce servings. The size is convenient as four samples equals one pint, the most common offering for a bar’s beer menu. 

8 oz. 
For higher-ABV beers, 8 ounces is a logical serving size for bars. Those smaller glasses for higher alcohol brews almost always come in the form of a tulip glass or snifter, and the exact sizes can vary a little bit.

16 oz. 
A pint is the standard measurement for beer. A lot of bars will serve virtually all beers in a pint glass, but as the average beer consumer learns more about glassware, so too do restaurants. Still, “I’ll have a pint,” will remain a universal request for a beer. An imperial pint in Europe and Canada is 20 ounces, 4 more than American pints, which just adds to the confusion. Pint glasses are also available in flat-sided "standard" glasses or "nonic" glasses, which have a small ridge halfway up the glass for aroma.

Can Sizes

Cans once had a bad rap among craft beer consumers who were still in rebellion of anything associated with macro lagers. Cans have experienced a massive renaissance over the past decade with more brewers shifting to the aluminum container. There’s a general consensus that cans provide more protection against light and oxidation than their glass counterparts, allowing beer to age more gracefully.

8.4 oz.
This "nip can" is a more compact version of the typical 12-oz. can. Though rare, you'll see 21st Amendment's Lower De Boom Barleywine and the Rodenbach Fruitage sour ale in this tiny container. Compact and easily transportable, this container is perfect for small snifters on the beach or for a little tipple during a camping trip. 

12 oz. 
A can of beer, for much of mainstream can history, is 12 ounces. Short and compact, a 12-ounce can matches the recommended serving size of beer. Cans of this size come in a range of packs, including 6-, 12-, 15-, 18-, 24- and 30-packs.

16 oz. 
Pint cans have surged with the rise of craft beer. More common now than ever before, they offer a full pour of a pint glass. Most often found in 4-packs, pint cans have seen their popularity grow as a way for brewers to showcase their beers in attractive new formats.

19.2 oz. 
A relatively new entry to the can world, the 19.2-ounce “stovepipe” can offers craft brewers an "in" at convenience stores and gas stations. Not quite a tall boy in the classical macro sense, the 19.2-ounce can experienced the largest growth of packaged sales from 2015-2017 according to IRI data, with Oskar Blues Brewery and Terrapin Beer Co. leading the way in usage of this container.