Philly Beer Trip #4: Belgium in Philly
Philadelphians love their beer—all styles and all regions. And while we particularly love our sours, we also seem to place an influence on Belgium. We do have one of the best Belgian bars in the country, so it’s not hard to place where this love of Belgian beers originates. What Tom Peters & co has started, others have carried on. And while it may be more of a hike to experience them all, the effort will be well worth it. You’ll be blessed with a great number of rarities and hard-to-find beers, as well as some gold standards you didn’t even realize you missed.
Owned by the same folks who started the venerable Monk’s, Belgian Café offers 12 rotating taps and over 200 bottles of beery goodness. While the taps and bottles aren’t 100% Belgian, they’ve got an excellent selection to get you started on your journey. The menu is similar to Monk’s, so hold off on your food until you get there, but do take part in some of the delicious beer they’ve got on offer before you move on—though it’s probably a good bet you would do that anyway.
Even though Monk’s has already been mentioned, it’s worth mentioning again. And again. Simply the best beer bar in Philadelphia, Monk’s has made a name for itself across the country and it’s not hard to see why. Head to either the front or back bar to get an exciting draft selection that leans heavily on the café’s country of choice, or dip into the extensive bottle selection that includes Belgian standards and just as many hard-to-find beers. Tuck in to a meal here, as the burgers are excellent and the mussels are some of the best in the city. Take it easy, though—it’s not hard to get carried away and spend your entire day at Monk’s, but you’ve got two other places to visit. You can always come back later.
C. The Farmer’s Cabinet
1113 Walnut Street
Around the corner and down Walnut Street is the relatively new, but well-received, Farmer’s Cabinet. While the food hasn’t garnered much praise, the beer list is all you need to come for. The restaurant focuses on European beers in general, but has a set just for Belgium. If there’s anywhere to find rare beers or first-time-in-America drafts, this would be the place, as the hard-to-finds are one of their specialties. If you want something you’ve never heard of, you’re pretty close to a sure bet here. Bonus: you can get a full pour or pay less for a half-pour and taste the night away.
Just a quick shot down Walnut (with a slight maze halfway there) is Eulogy Belgian Tavern, which you may guess from the name specializes in Belgian beer. They even have their own, the Eulogy Busty Blonde, brewed by Brasserie La Binchoise in Belgium. Their draft list is solid, but the real draw here is their bottle selection, which offers over 350 to choose from. With this as the last stop, you’ll have plenty of time throughout the night (at least until 2a.m.) to work your way through the bottle list. If you want to get some food, though, you’re a two-minute walk from Han Dynasty, the best Sichuan place in the city. Whether you are here for a visit or live in the city, a visit to Han Dynasty is sure to be the cherry—or maybe spicy chili—on top of this beer tour.