Major Tom lands great Philly-Brussels beer collaboration

Tom Peters of Monk’s Cafe is depicted in space suit on the label of Major Tom, the double saison he collaborated on with Brasserie de la Senne in Brussels.

Camera icon CRAIG LABAN
Major Tom is a double saison brewed by Tom Peters of Monk’s Cafe in collaboration with Brasserie de la Senne in Brussels.

Collaborating with Belgian brewers is no novelty for Tom Peters. The man who cofounded Monk’s Cafe 21 years ago, who’s also been tapped as a knight of the Belgian Mashstaff for his contributions to the global spread of passion for Belgian ales, is a regular contributor to special brew projects in the land of lambic dreams. His latest Belgian beer brainchild is out of this world, spiritually, at least, as Peters dons a space suit for the label of Major Tom, a double saison he and daughter Isabel Thomas-Peters brewed with Yvan de Baets at Brasserie de la Senne in Brussels.

And Ground Control: We’ve got flavor!  Not only does the head on this hazy golden ale lift off with an irrepressibly foamy rise in the glass, it’s full of complex layers of aromatic flavor. A funky whiff of bretty wild yeast gives it a faint tartness and earthy edge. An assertive ping of Aurora and Perle hops is a nod to Brasserie de la Senne’s reputation as one of Belgium’s more hop-forward breweries. And then, a soft puff from the beechwood-smoked malt helps it glide to a dry and refreshing finish.

Subtitled as the celebration of “20 Years of Defense of Craft Beer at Monk’s Cafe,” Major Tom is a cheeky ode to the heroic quest of Philly’s great beer explorer, not to mention the famous David Bowie song. The image then of Peters stepping through the door of his ship and boldly striding off into space with a glowing hop leaf in his hand and wry smile inside his helmet is actually a hopeful one. It’s the perfect beer soundtrack for a great adventure still well underway.

— Craig LaBan

Major Tom double saison by Brasserie de la Senne (in collaboration with Tom Peters), $8 per 12-ounce bottle, exclusively at Monk’s Cafe (264 S. 16th St., 215-545-7005; until June, when it is released nationally.

Camera icon CRAIG LABAN
Tom Peters of Monk’s Cafe adds malted barley to grain meal at Brasserie de la Senne in Brussels, where he collaborated on a double saison called Major Tom.