What it is: Allagash, the Portland, Maine, brewery that clued America into the genius of cloudy, spiced Belgian-style wheat beers with its namesake White, has released its first year-round, hop-forward beer: Hoppy Table Beer.
A loosely defined Belgian style, table beer generally equates to easy-drinking and low-alcohol (as low as 1.5 percent), to be consumed with a meal without the distraction of a buzz. In the spirit of American craft beer, Allagash takes liberties with a European tradition, nudging up the alcohol content in Hoppy Table Beer to contemporary session IPA territory. And in a sense, that’s what this beer is: a session Belgian-style IPA. Or, if you prefer, a Belgian pale ale.
In the bottle: Hoppy Table Beer boasts a wonderful nose of bright fruit and citrus (lime meets grapefruit) with vague notes of cotton candy and bubble gum (as a result of both being dry hopped and the earthy Belgian yeast within). Interestingly, the beer doesn’t quite mimic those flavors on the palate — a spry bitterness upfront tantalizes the taste buds, followed by lingering elements of grapefruit pith and stone fruit. Hoppy Table Beer features oats for a slightly creamier texture than expected, but retains a bright effervescence due to being bottle conditioned. A simple but elegant, versatile beer.
Alcohol: 4.8 percent
Drink it with: Table beer is intended to pair with most foods, and so it is for Hoppy Table Beer. It would do well beside a robust salad, roast chicken or a hamburger — most anything with a little heft, really.
Find it: Hoppy Table Beer is available in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles ($9.99) at stores likely to carry Allagash White.
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