The Table of 18th Century Beer Tax

Harken back to a time centuries ago where the concept of beer tax was a thing. Early 18th century England placed three tax classes in descending order of strength; Strong, Table, and Small. Beer was based off the wholesale price, and the division of strength was a thrilling way to enjoy the bubbly beverage. Step into the life of an 18th century Englishman and experience his level of drinking with Table Beer - the curious middle class of beers that impacts the history of beer forever.

Table Beer: A Guide

Beer is one of the oldest drinks in the world, and its history is incredibly long and varied. In the 18th century, there were three tax classes in England (in descending order of strength): Strong, Table and Small. The definition of these classes was very simple, as it was based on the wholesale price. Table beer was the weakest of the three, but it was also the most popular.

What is Table Beer?

Table beer was a weaker, low-alcohol beer that was typically priced at around a penny per pint. It was commonly served in English pubs and taverns during the 18th and 19th centuries, and it was typically brewed with 4-5% ABV. It was designed to be consumed in large quantities, and it was often watered down with plain spring water or milk to make it go further.


Table beer was believed to have originated during the Middle Ages. It was originally brewed for the working class, who had limited access to alcohol but wanted to be able to enjoy a light beer. As time went on, table beer became more popular with the upper class and eventually it was consumed in nearly every household. By the 18th century, it was the most popular form of beer in England.

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Table beer was brewed with a number of different varieties of malt and hops, as well as other ingredients such as spices and sugars. The malt was typically lightly kilned and the hops were used sparingly. The result of this was a beer that was light in colour and lacked strong flavours. Despite this, it was still surprisingly popular.


Table beer was incredibly popular throughout the 18th century, and it was often the only form of beer that was consumed in the public houses of the time. It was also popular in other parts of Europe, particularly in Germany where it was known as ‘Pilsner’. The popularity of table beer eventually declined after the invention of the industrialized brewing process, as stronger beers were able to be brewed more quickly and cheaply.


Recently, there has been a renewed interest in table beer. Craft breweries are beginning to produce their own versions of this traditional brew, often using modern brewing methods. These beers typically have a higher ABV than their original counterparts, but they still retain the same light, sweet flavour and gentle hop character. These modern interpretations of the 18th century classic are becoming increasingly popular.

Benefits of Table Beer

Table beer is a great choice for those looking for a light, sessionable beer. Thanks to its low ABV, it can be consumed in large quantities without becoming overwhelming. In addition, it is a good choice for novice drinkers, as it is light in flavour and offers only a slight bitterness. It is also a great beer for hot summer days, as its light and refreshing taste is perfect for quenching your thirst.

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Table beer is a unique style of beer that has been around for centuries and recently has been making a comeback. It is a light and sessionable beer that has a gentle hop character and a subtle sweetness. Thanks to its low ABV, it is perfect for hot summer days and is an excellent choice for novice drinkers. If you’re looking for a light and refreshing beer, then table beer is definitely worth trying.

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