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Stillwater Beer Table Table Beer

Where In Town: Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, 1529 Connecticut Ave. NW

Price: $11.99/22 ounces

The Champagne of Beers

This New Year’s Eve, I reached for a beer equivalent of bubbly, a bottle that has become one of my go-to ales for special occasions. Too expensive for everyday drinking but so exemplary I could drink it every day, Stillwater Beer Table Table Beer is its a mouthful of a name. (Stillwater’s Brian Strumke originally brewed it for Beer Table, an admirable Brooklyn outpost of small plates and candlelit beer geekery.) This riff on the Belgian saison style is flavorful yet light, effervescent yet not overcarbonated, and only 4.7 percent alcohol yet not at all watery. It’s as complex as Veuve Clicquot but as drinkable as Miller High Life.

Our Friend Brett

The secret to Table Beer’s success is Brettanomyces, a rarely used yeast that is the undomesticated Neanderthal to domesticated brewing yeast’s Homo sapiens. In this case, “Brett,” as it is known, is responsible for pineapple-like tropical fruit aromas and a slight mustiness that complements the ale’s underlying spiciness. Peppery and dry, it’s ideal for pairing with food but also refreshing on its own. Either way, at least once, Table Beer should be your table beer.

Photo by Daniel Fromson