As you may imagine, making an addition to our year-round lineup is a pretty momentous change that requires a lot of forethought. We’ve already made a number of augmentations to existing beers, the most notable being Business Casual’s upgrade from Session Red Ale to Imperial Red Ale. But we’ve had only four flagships in mind since long before we opened – White Sky, General Braddock’s IPA, Business Casual, and Build & Destroy – and that lineup has worked extremely well for us so far. So why fix what ain’t broke?
Beer’s relationship with food has always been a big part of our company culture. Although we have little physical ability to serve food in our taproom, we’ve always had a huge interest in food pairing. The topic is a sizable chunk of the syllabus for the Certified Cicerone exam, so we’ve armed ourselves with a bit of useful knowledge within that field. The majority of that knowledge comes from Garrett Oliver’s The Brewmaster’s Table (which I mentioned in our previous post about Nelson Saison), a book whose most shining selection of prose is his chapter on saison. That chapter is without a doubt my favorite piece of beer writing, a love letter to his (and my own) favorite beer style. Although the mouth-watering compendium on food pairing which covers most well-known beer styles, Oliver places saison above all else in terms of its relationship to food:
“Saison is not just versatile – it’s downright promiscuous. It seems to go with almost everything. The combination of dynamic bitterness, scouring carbonation, bright aromatics, spicy flavors, pepper notes, dark earthy underpinnings, and racy acidity gives these beers a hook to hang their hat on for a wide variety of dishes… it’s not just a match, it’s a torrid embrace.”
With such a huge interest in food pairing, we all felt that our core lineup needed a beer specifically made to serve that purpose. Inspired by Belgian tafelbiers – low-alcohol beers meant to be served with meals – the goal was a beer that would not only be an easy-drinking session beer for long nights in the taproom, but also an all-purpose dinner beer made to pair with the widest possible range of dishes. Saison was the only option.
And thus, Table Beer was born.
This session-strength saison is mild, effervescent, and bursting with juicy hops. Lemon and lime dominate the flavor and aroma, backed up by a light, grainy malt base with notes of honey and oats. And best of all, it comes in at a nice, low 4.4% (a bit higher than tafelbier-strength). As for the name, we decided to keep it simple and straightforward as a throwback to its traditional roots, in the same way we so illustriously named our Winter Warmer “Winter Warmer”. No bullshit, just Table Beer.
Our goal for Table Beer is not only to round out our core lineup by adding a session-strength offering (without it, the average ABV of our four flagships would be 7.25%), but also to really solidify our love of beer’s affinity for food. Some day, we hope to walk into a nice restaurant and see one of you sharing a bottle of Table Beer over a great meal and a great conversation. Then we’ll know we’ve done our job.
Table Beer will be released on draft Wednesday, February 25th in the taproom, with bottles soon to come.