Philadelphia has reputation for being the best city in the U.S. to find rare Belgian beers. Credit Tom Peters, owner of Monk’s Cafe who introduced the city to Europe’s most eclectic brewing tradition when no one else was selling a Belgian beer. Peters discovered Belgian beers accidentally on a trip to Belgium in the 1980s and he resolved to bring the best that the nation had to offer back to the United States. Peters forged relationships with Belgian brewers to ensure that received their best beers.
Peters boasts that the three biggest names in Lambic brewing, Jean Van Roy of Cantillon, Armand De Belder of 3 Fonteinen, and Frank Boon of Boon Brewery dined together for the first time at Monk’s Cafe. The three breweries are difficult to source in the U.S., but there beers are mainstays at Monks. Peters recently added specially branded Monk’s Cafe beer brewed by Belgium’s Brouwerij Van Steenberge and the beer is now available outside the tavern as well.
The success of Monk’s Cafe has spawned many imitators, but Monk’s still sets the standard for Belgian beer bars throughout the Northeast.
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