Table Beer

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Table Beer is a low-alcohol brew traditionally consumed by Belgians of all ages. Legally the alcohol content of table beer must be between 1% and 4% ABV, but most commercial examples are closer to 1%.

History of Table Beer

Traditionally, table beer was served at many Belgian meals, including in most Belgian schools. However, in the 1980s and 1990s they were mostly replaced with sugared soft drinks, which many feel are actually less healthy for children to be drinking and which may have contributed to a rise in childhood obesity in Belgium. Some Belgian schools are considering returning table beer to schools for this reason.

Brewing Table Beer

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Competition Styles

The BJCP does not recognize this beer style, but the GABF does.

GABF Style Listings

Belgian-Style Table Beer

59C. Belgian-Style Table Beer
GABF Style Listing (2007)
These ales and lagers are very low in alcohol and traditionally enjoyed with meals by both adults and children. Pale to very dark brown in color. Additions of caramel coloring are sometimes employed to adjust color. They are light bodied with relatively low carbonation with limited aftertaste. The mouth feel is light to moderate, though higher than one might anticipate, usually because of unfermented sugars/malt sugars. Malted barley, wheat and rye may be used as well as unmalted wheat, rye, oats and corn. A mild malt character could be evident. Aroma/flavor hops are most commonly used to employ a flavor balance that is only low in bitterness. Traditional versions do not use artificial sweeteners nor are they excessively sweet. More modern versions of this beer incorporate sweeteners such as sugar and saccharine added post fermentation to sweeten the palate and add to a perception of smoothness. Spices (such as orange and lemon peel, as well as coriander) may be added in barely perceptible amounts, but this is not common. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.008-1.038 (2-9.5 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.008-1.034 (2-8.5 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 0.4-2.8% (0.5-3.5%)
Bitterness (IBU): 5-15
Color SRM (EBC): 5-50 (10-100 EBC)