There are a lot of beer terms out there to describe a style or format, but one we don’t often hear about in the United States is a “table beer”. You’ve probably heard of table wine if you’ve been to an Italian or French restaurant, and table beer isn’t that different.
The European term “tafelbier”, which is Dutch in origin, but Belgian in tradition, where beer reigns supreme over wine. Table beers were so prevalent in Belgium that at one point that table beer was served to children more often than milk, though started to decline with the rise of bottled water and soft drinks in Europe starting in the 1970s.
Table beers aren’t that different than session beers: they seek a strong flavor without ruining your palette and they’re low in ABV, typically 3% or less. They often fall between 1 to 2%, whereas session beers in the United States are typically 4.5% or less.
Table beer can vary wildly in color from pale to dark and it should be light bodied and slightly sweet, and perhaps a bit spicy without being overpowering; bitterness from hops is always low.
The goal with these beers is that you’ll be able to drink as much as you want to enjoy the beer flavor, but not end up plastered on the bathroom floor suffering from Blood Eye.