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Going Underground: Belgian City to Install Beer Pipeline

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Going Underground: Belgian City to Install Beer Pipeline
Photo Wolfgang Staudt

Belgium is rightly famous for it’s beer, but if you’ve ever been to Bruges, the charming, but very busy city and UNESCO World Heritage Site in West Flanders you’ll know that narrow medieval streets and beer tankers do not mix. So what’s the solution? A two–mile–long, underground beer pipeline of course.

12,000 bottles

It may sound like something dreamt up by Homer Simpson, but the beer pipeline, which opens in September and will pump 12,000 bottles worth of beer an hour from the city centre to a bottling plant on the outskirts, will help to preserve the authenticity and provenance of the city centre’s last remaining working brewery, De Halve Mann – a proposed move outside of the city would mean it could no longer claim its beer was brewed in Bruges. The brewing history of the De Halve Mann site stretches back to 1564.

Tourist trap

De Halve Mann director Xavier Vanneste told The Guardian that the pipeline was a way to maintain a working Bruges city centre, while preserving the city’s narrow cobbled streets. “If we don’t make sure that people can work in the city centre, we will kill the city centre,” he said. “Bruges is full of tourist traps ... we want to brew every single litre here.”

Just under 10% of the €4m budget for the beer pipe was raised through crowdfunding, with a €7,500 gold membership promising a bottle of Bruges Zot (Bruges fool) beer every day for life – totally worth it, in our view.

7 Belgian beers, 7 days

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