Beer Frame

The Definition of a Beer Frame in Bowling

Friends toasting cocktails at bowling alley
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In bowling, a beer frame means someone will have to buy a round of beers (or another agreed-upon item) for the rest of the group, which is usually his or her teammates. Who has to buy the beer? There are a couple variations on who gets the honor.

Everyone Strikes But You

In any frame of a team bowling game, when every member of your team except you throws a strike in a single frame, you owe everyone a beer. This can happen as often as possible within the 10 frames of bowling, so you could find yourself with a pretty hefty tab at the end. Let's hope no one ever has to purchase 10 beers due to beer frames in a game. That's just not healthy.

Historically, the fifth frame was designated as the beer frame, but as so many things do when friends are imbibing and bowling, the rules expanded a bit.

Low Score in a Pre-Determined Frame

Some teams will pre-designate a frame in which you want to perform well because the low score for that frame will have to buy a round of drinks. This guarantees you'll all enjoy at least one beverage during a game, so your goal is to not have to buy.

In a situation like this, many tie breakers can come into play, and which one you use depends on your team's preferences. For instance, if everyone throws a strike, some teams will each go two more shots to fill that strike (per proper bowling scoring), then break the tie. Or, some teams might simply erase those scores from beer-frame competition and compete again in the next frame until a tie is broken. The same goes for spares.

Other Types of Beer Frames

Some teams prefer to bowl an entire series at league with the low series on the team picking up the post-game tab.