A beer tower, also known as a beer tower dispenser, yard of ale or meter of beer, is a device used to serve multiple beers at once in bars and restaurants. It consists of a vertical clear plastic or glass tube that holds around 2-3 liters of beer stacked vertically. The bottom of the tower has a tap that allows the bartender to pour the beers.
Beer towers allow groups to be served several beers at once rather than having to order individually. This saves time for both the customers and bartender. It also adds a fun, sharing experience to drinking and is visually impressive when carried through a bar.
But how much beer is actually in a beer tower? Let’s take a look at the typical size and volume to find out.
What is the Typical Height of a Beer Tower?
Beer towers come in a few standard sizes, with the most popular options being:
– 60cm (2 foot)
– 90cm (3 foot)
– 120cm (4 foot)
The 60cm tower is the smallest size. The 120cm tower is very large and tends to be rare. Most establishments use the 90cm size as it provides a good amount of beer without being unwieldy to carry when full.
Some places may also use custom sized towers, but the above sizes are by far the most common.
Volume Capacity by Height
Based on the typical diameters of around 10cm, here is the approximate volume each size of beer tower holds:
– 60cm tower = 1.5 Liters
– 90cm tower = 2.25 Liters
– 120cm tower = 3 Liters
So the standard 90cm tower holds about 2.25 liters or 85 imperial ounces of beer when filled to the top.
Calculating the Volume in Milliliters
To calculate the volume of a beer tower in milliliters, we need to use the formula:
Volume = π x radius2 x height
π (pi) = 3.141592653589793
radius = 1/2 the diameter
height = height of the tower in cm
Let’s plug in the numbers for a 90cm tower with a 10cm diameter:
radius = 5cm
height = 90cm
Volume = 3.141592653589793 x 25cm2 x 90cm
Volume = 7069.568cm3
Since 1 cm3 = 1 ml:
7069.568cm3 = 7069.568ml
So for a typical 90cm beer tower with 10cm diameter, the volume in ml is:
We can do the same calculations for the other standard beer tower sizes:
– 60cm tower = 4762 ml
– 120cm tower = 9425 ml
Volume in Ounces and Pints
To convert milliliters to ounces, we divide by 29.57.
For a 90cm tower at 7069 ml:
7069 ml / 29.57 = ~239 ounces
And to convert to pints, we divide the ounces by 20:
239 ounces / 20 = ~12 pints
So a typical 90cm beer tower holds approximately:
– 7 liters
– 239 ounces
– 12 pints
when filled to the top.
Beer Tower Size Comparisons
Beer Tower vs. Pitcher
Pitchers used for beer are typically 60-70 ounces or around 2000 ml.
So a 90cm beer tower holds over 3 times as much beer as a standard pitcher.
Beer Tower vs. Mini Keg
Mini kegs designed for home use typically hold around 5 liters or 169 ounces of beer.
So a 90cm beer tower holds about 1.5 times as much as a mini keg.
Beer Tower vs. Standard Keg
A full size keg used by bars holds 15.5 gallons or 58.7 liters of beer.
So a full keg contains over 8 times as much beer as a 90cm tower.
Factors That Can Alter Volume
Keep in mind that the actual amount of beer a tower holds can vary a bit based on these factors:
– Diameter: Towers come in different diameters, which affects the volume. The 10cm used in the examples is typical but some could be wider or narrower.
– Wall thickness: Towers are made of clear plastic or glass. The thickness of the wall takes up a small amount of interior space. Thicker materials reduce capacity slightly.
– Tap configuration: Most towers attach the tap at the bottom but some integrate it higher up, which removes some volume.
– Serving foam: Bartenders will leave some foam at the top when pouring, reducing the amount of actual beer slightly.
– Imperfect shape: Any deviations from a perfect cylinder will alter the internal capacity.
So the volumes listed should be treated as good estimates for an average tower. But expect some variation in practice based on these factors.
Uses and Etiquette
Some key points of etiquette when drinking from a beer tower:
– Beer towers are meant to be shared. Don’t be greedy trying to drink the whole thing yourself.
– Don’t remove your glass until it’s empty. This maintains the pressure on the tap.
– Drink at a reasonable pace. Chugging will make a mess.
– Don’t bang your glass on the rim. Be gentle to avoid cracks.
– Make sure everyone gets a roughly equal share.
– Feel free to ask for additional cups if needed.
– Avoid touching or breathing near the tap to minimize contamination.
– Don’t move the tower. Leave it in one place once poured.
Following these rules makes for an enjoyable tower experience for everyone.
Beer Tower Fun Facts
– The earliest beer towers date back to medieval times and were known as “passe-boules.”
– The modern beer tower was invented by English brewery owner William Rushforth in the late 1980s.
– Beer towers are sometimes carried in a ceremonial procession through the bar when first brought out.
– Drinking a full tower in one go is known as the “yard of ale” drinking challenge.
– President George W. Bush once successfully drank a full yard of ale in college as part of his fraternity initiation.
– The world record for drinking a yard of ale is 8 seconds, set in the UK by Peter Dowdeswell in 2004.
– Beer towers are banned in some U.S. states, including Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
– A beer tower is called a bierpul in the Netherlands and a birró in Hungary.
A standard 90cm beer tower holds around 2.25 liters or 7 liters of beer when filled to the top. This equates to approximately 85 ounces or 12 pints.
This volume can vary slightly based on specific dimensions, wall thickness, tap placement and other factors but provides a good ballpark estimate.
Beer towers enable a fun group drinking experience and are a fixture at many bars and restaurants in most parts of the world. Following proper etiquette ensures everyone enjoys the use of this impressive device.
So next time you order a towering stack of beers, you can estimate just how much drink you???re getting. But remember to sip and share rather than competitively chug!