How To Order A Beer In Every Australian State

Ask for a schooner in Victoria and you'll get a blank look. Ask for a pot in Darwin and you'll probably be arrested. This is a handy guide to the different names for beer glass sizes around Australia.

Picture: Getty Images

While the names might differ, this is the key principle: there's a name for a large (425ml) and small (285ml) size in every state. Most (but not all states) use schooner for the larger size, but the options for the smaller one vary considerably:

State Small Large
NSW/ACT Middy Schooner
Victoria Pot Pint
Queensland Pot Schooner
Western Australia Middy Schooner
South Australia Schooner Pint
Tasmania Ten Schooner
Northern Territory Handle Schooner

Other sizes do appear. In every state other than South Australia and Victoria, a pint will get you 570ml. (In SA, that's an imperial pint.) A 140ml beer (really, why bother?) is known as a pony in several states, but it's far from universally available.

Remember: these sizes only apply to beer on tap. If you have a "senior moment" when you're in another state, ordering a beer that's only available in a bottle will avoid using the wrong term. That said, asking for a schooner will work almost everywhere, but you'll also get sozzled somewhat faster. Except in South Australia. Those names are just weird.

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    A 'large' beer in Victoria is a Pint, not a schooner

      Yeah, they should have added a medium size column, added mL measurements and added how common the size is.

        Personally i'm just really happy he added a table! I mentioned that on a previous post where such information was explained paragraph by paragraph haha :D

      likewise in NSW.

      Schooner by default, pint if you ask for it.

      Edit: that is to say if you go to a bar in NSW & ask for 'a beer', you'll generally get a schooner, or they'll ask you to specify size.

      Middy = Small, Schooner = Medium, Pint = Large.

      personally, I just go to places that serve Growlers (2L jugs) :p

      Edit #2: from that Wikipedia thing :

      Last edited 07/03/14 2:30 pm

      You can go to any state in Australia and order a large beer as well, any decent bartender will take that as their schooner/pint size.

        Anywhere in the world: 'give me the biggest, coldest beer you have' always works, and usually gets a laugh and One Weird Tip on how to order beers in that locale.

          Precisely!!!! Also, sometimes regret when in germany and you get...

          DAS BOOT!!!!!

      A 'large' in Tassie is a pint, too.

      No one said it was a schooner there

    This -

    From my experience Victoria and Tasmania have pints over schooners and some places do not have schooner glasses at all.

      Yep. TAS = Pints

    pints and pots are more common than schooners in melbourne. Another note is keep in mind what is 'local' in each state e.g. ordering a 'carlton' in nsw will probably attracted a slight premium as toheys are more than likely the primary supplier.

    I always ask for a Pint first regardless of where I drink - at least with a Pint you know it's going to be 600ml. With all the other variations you have no idea what sized drink you're getting.

      I went to SA last year and their pints are closer to a schooner size, the full pint is an "imperial pint" that I only saw at English and Irish bars. After ordering pints and receiving tiny drinks I found myself thinking "oh right, that's cute".

        Maybe I'll refine all future request to the an Imperial Pint - and see how many blank looks I get from bartenders.

          Just wait for one that dons a Stormtrooper helmet then draws you a pint :P

        Yep, I'm with you on this one. It is not cool to take a standard unit of measure and offer a different size version of it, and then claim that it is just a product name difference. E.g. a subway footlong = 11 inches.
        It's just deceptive, let alone the fact that you're dealing with people who are impaired by alcohol.

      That's what I hate about the SA system. A pint is a true measure of liquid, kind of like a litre. If I ordered a litre of milk and they gave me 800mL I'd be pissed off too!

      Except South Australia, where pints are 425ml. It's the same with schooners, which are 425ml in all states except SA where it's 285ml.

    In the vast majority of pubs in WA*, the only large beers available are pints. Schooners are only served in wanky pubs that are trying to be "trendy".

    * Based on a sample that includes all the Western Australian pubs I have visited in my lifetime, which is not an inconsiderable number.

      I too am from WA and even though those swanky pubs have what would be a schooner sized glass, I can say I have never ever ordered a beer in WA by asking for a schooner... It is either 'pint' or 'large'.

        +1 to both these posts. I know one bar I go to doesn't give me a pint when I order (and yeah it's a bit wanky, really nice beer garden though) but I can't think of anywhere else that doesn't give pints.

    In Perth the large is traditionally a pint, however some of the trendier/pricier bars tend to use schooners instead so they can charge $9 for a schooner instead of $12-13 for a pint, thus avoiding breaking that mystical $10 barrier. Bit of a rip. But yeah, pints pretty much everywhere else.

      Our beers are cheaper*!

      * we give you less beer

    WA should also read Pint. At least for the metro area. Regional areas may differ.
    There one place in the Perth metro area that's "re-introducing" the schooner, whilst at the same Pint price. Apparently, this is to curb excessive drinking. Which doesn't matter when you can buy a jug of beer for a few $$ more.

    "Ask for a schooner in Victoria and you’ll get a blank look." Speaking as a Victorian bartender, no, you won't.

    'Hey Mate, can i get a beer?' - every state

    Nope. Schooner is a different size to pint in WA. Pint is much more commonly accepted.

    Last edited 07/03/14 12:29 pm

    Don't dismiss a smaller size glass.
    In my younger days I got into a shout with an old guy who refused to drink anything bigger than a 7oz glass. I know I lost count of how many we had, but can't remember who hit the floor first. Never again!

      You can also go 'Pony Racing' - put $50 on the bar and don't touch the money again. Keep nodding at the bartender when your beer is finished and they'll use your money that's on the bar to pay for it

    Pretty sure most of the pints I have in Victorian pubs are 570ml.

    No wonder there is such a big problem with drink driving here, standardising the measures may help

      There is a standard measure, it's called a 'Standard Drink'.

        true, but that depends on what you're drinking.

        different alcohol content for different beers. eg Coopers is 4.5%, VB is 4.9%, Kingpin is 7.5%
        so while there is a 'standard drink' measurement, how many standard drinks a schooner / pint actually is, depends entirely on the liquid in the glass.

        its not a great thing to measure by to be honest.

          Right, but that problem is going to exist whether you standardise glass sizes nationally or not. It's always going to depend on what you put in it. That's why Standard Drink is a good unit of measurement, because it measure alcohol intake, not liquid intake.

            well.... if you wanna standardise it, there's three ways of doing it -

            1) standard glass sizes & people take responsibility for their intake & accounting for the differences in strength / standard drink intake.

            2) make the standard serve = one standard drink. this would involve serving different volumes of beer, based on its alcohol content.

            3) regulate that all 'full strength' beer brewed in Australia must have the same alcohol content.

            personally, I much prefer the first / current approach coz #2 is too complicated to do on the fly in a bar, & with #3 it'd take away the ability to create some really nice unique brews. especially for the smaller breweries.

            Edit: spelling

            Last edited 07/03/14 2:53 pm

    this article is dumb. there is no mystery as to what is going on with the glass sizing and naming conventions around australia.

    a pot/middy/ is 285mL, and when filled with full strength beer will contain 1 standard drink.
    a pint is 570mL, exactly 2x the capacity of a pot, and when filled with full strength beer will contain (surprise) 2 standard drinks.
    a schooner is 425mL, near on exactly 1.5x the capacity of a pot. also, 1.5 standard drinks (surprise).

    everywhere follows this system except for SA. but nobody cares what they call thing so we're okay.

      The fact you wrote pot/middy rather undermines your (incorrect) argument that everyone follows the same naming system.

        I think a more pertinent argument for the lack of value to this article is that the Wikipedia table on the same topic is a) more accurate, and b) better in pretty much every respect.

      define 'full strength beer'
      each beer has different alcohol content, and therefore the same volume will contain a different amount of 'standard drinks'

      at best, its a rule of thumb.

        A full strength beer is 4-6% alcohol.
        Mid strength is 3-4%
        Light is under 3.

        285 ml of full is 1 std
        a can/385 ml is 1.5 drinks.

        Last edited 07/03/14 5:18 pm

      Not true. I'm from WA and was in Melbourne last year where I ordered a middy. The girl didn't know what I was talking about and said they do Pots and Ponies (not even mentioned in the table above). I felt like I was in a foreign country. She ended up showing the glasses for me to choose so it's definitely not the case as there obviously is some mystery/confusion around it.

        Peoole in Melbourne live very sheltered lives and travel little if at all out of state.

    What about places that sell Schmiddies ( usually around 370ml)? In these bars ask for a schooner, they will charge you normal price but hand you a smaller glass. Swanky bars in NSW used to do it all the time when I used to live there...

    False. In the ACT I've never asked for a "Large" beer. Ever. If you ask for a beer you will receive a Schooner (this is one standard unit of Beer), if you want a Pint or a Middy you have to specify.

      I'll have a large beer, "what do you think this is, macdonalds"

    I've lived in WA all my life and pretty much only ordered asking for a pint and usually getting one. They usually just give you the biggest they serve without commenting if they don't sell pints, but almost all pubs I go to sell pints.

    I feel like most of the places I've been to in Melbourne have had schooners. I don't think it's uncommon, of course places will want you to buy the biggest one possible.

    Pint = 570mL
    Schooner = 425mL (3/4 pint)
    Pot = 285mL (1/2 pint)

    Don't know why "large" in this article is only 425mL.

    Worked in bars and the casino for a couple of years in Perth, never heard someone mention the word "Schooner" once. 95% of the time it is a pint, the other 5% is a middy and even then, usually only ever because its almost closing time and you don't want pissed people nursing a pint for the next hour.

    Wikipedia has a much less confusing table. Ignoring SA the only thing that varies is the name of the smaller 285ml glass. Also, schooners are fairly common in Victoria, for whatever reason they just don't have them everywhere.

    Oh how it all changes, if you look back in time and ask a few of the old locals they will tell you what is was and how they would ask for it when they first started at the watering hole and it was different from what is listed above.
    What happened to the pony? and why did they drink that size?
    How many beers were on tap in the 50's?
    Yes I still enjoy a beer and it does not matter what size it comes in.
    Even make my own, although not as much nowadays.

    "One big beer please!" works for me where ever I am.

    WA is almost exclusively pints these days. If you want a small beer, you can order a half-pint ('half') but that doesn't happen often.

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