Mystic Brewery’s Table Beer seeks to recreate a piece of brewing history. Those familiar with brewing history will be aware that in some times and places, beer was drunk more frequently than water. Those who drank beer tended to fall ill less than those who drank water (they would not have known that this is because the brewing process killed microbes in the beer). It was necessary, then, to make low alcohol beer that could be drunk all day (without people being drunk all day). This is what Chelsea, Massachusetts' Mystic Brewery aims to emulate with its table beer. The beer is in a saison style which was given to farm workers in France and Belgium to quench their thirst – on the same beer is better than water principle.
It weighs in at around 4.3% alcohol by volume, but that doesn’t mean that it’s low in flavor. Mystic obviously puts a lot of effort into its beers. They use traditional mashing techniques to make its wort(unfermented beer) and spend a great deal of time isolating new yeasts (as reported on by the Chelsea Record) to impart new flavors into their beers. The brewery’s website states that its founder “has no intention less than helping make New England one of the world’s great brewing regions” (You mean it’s not already?).
The Mystic Table beer pours a very pale straw color with a cloudy appearance. A smooth, fizzy white head builds up and quickly settles down. What remains does leave a little bit of lacing down the grass. The aroma smells strongly of puckering lemon. Tart flavors dominate the brew, with green apple and white wine notes coming through. As it warms, there’s a very slight mushroomy earthiness, and maybe even a slight hint of saltiness. The hops add some herbal, black pepper, and maybe a hint of mint. The malt doesn’t contribute particularly strong flavors. Presumably, little malt was used to achieve the low alcohol level.
This causes the one problem with this beer. The body is very thin, which makes the carbonation seem prickly like seltzer water. A little bit of a sturdier body may have helped back up all the interesting flavors from the hops, the yeast, and the fermentation. Overall this drinks like a thin-bodied, less boozy Hennepin. That being said, if you had to work plowing a field on a hot summer day, you might find it quite easy to put down a lot of this one.