Definition: Table Beer
This Belgian classic goes down easy and plays well with almost any food.
Written by Evan Malachosky
Image by Kinsley Stocum
When you think “table,” what do you see? A big, long picnic table filled with food and beer? Hopefully. If not, c’mon, get out more.
The table beer is a low ABV, light-bodied, light-colored beer that pleases all. It’s meant to be enjoyed with a meal, with a lot of people. Typically, it comes in a larger format bottle for this reason. There’s no drinking one of these by yourself; even with its low ABV, you’d do some damage.
European families and dinner-party goers alike prefer the table beer because it’s a polite, more refined way of drinking beer than smashing a couple of tongue-tingling 10% IPAs. It’s palatable, smooth, and complimentary. Food will become its best friend, as the table beer adapts to where it’s needed — say, filling in to tame spiciness or cleanse the palate from a greasy, fatty carbonara.
There’s no wrong situation for a table beer. It began as a communal beverage for families. Now, I don’t condone underage drinking; nor does this publication, so kids should probably stick to the soda pop. But for the rest of us, the table beer was made for us to drink, continue drinking, and still enjoy our food and company.
Luckily, this is the age of table beer, especially in America. Jester King and Allagash each make deliciously unobtrusive ones. Their ABVs are low and their pair-ability remains unmatched.