Heads-Up: The Belgian City of Bruges has a Pipeline for Beer

The 3km-long pipeline will begin working on September 16.  
Bruges Zot
De Halve Maan, the brewery behind the pipeline, is best known for its blond beer Brugze Zot. Photo courtesy De Halve Maan

The Belgian city of Bruges is giving beer-lovers much to hop about. On September 16, the city will inaugurate the world’s first beer pipeline, a three-kilometre line that runs from De Halve Maan (Half Moon) brewery in the city centre to its bottling and packaging plant on the outskirts of Bruges.

De Halve Maan—located in the UNESCO World Heritage city centre—is known for two reasons: It’s Bruges’ oldest continuously working brewery, and it makes a great blonde beer called Brugse Zot. Until now however, the beer brewed in De Halve Maan has been transported to its bottling plant by trucks. But the city’s quaint, cobblestone streets is known to have some of the worst traffic in the western world. The new pipeline hopes to ease the tension. It will also allow the brewery to continue producing beer in its historic location.

Photos: Neil Thompson/Flickr/Creative Commons (http://bit.ly/1jxQJMa) (canal); courtesy De Halve Maan (road)

The pipeline runs along main roads, parking lots, and historic canals in Bruges’ UNESCO World Heritage city centre. Photos: Neil Thompson/Flickr/Creative Commons (http://bit.ly/1jxQJMa) (canal); courtesy De Halve Maan (road)

Funds for the project were raised by crowdfunding, with help from the city. The brewery raised over €3,00,000 (about ₹2 crores) and large contributors receive a lifetime supply of beer in return. But De Halve Maan had other challenges to navigate. “No private company had ever been allowed to lay cable under the city’s cobbled lanes and around the renowned medieval buildings that have secured Bruges’s place on the UNESCO World Heritage list,” The Guardian noted. To keep damage to a bare minimum, computer-guided underground drills were used, and “the brewers will use jets of cleaning solution to disinfect and sterilize the pipes and keep the product in safe chugging condition,” Wired writes. According to the Guardian report, enough booze to fill 12,000 bottles an hour will flow through the pipeline.

Crowdfunding remains open until September 16 (details here) so it’s not too late to score a lifetime’s supply of Brugse Zot.

De Halve Maan conducts guided tours of the brewery, with tastings. (Daily, 11a.m.-4p.m. €8.50/₹630 per person.) Visit www.halvemaan.be for details.

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    Fabiola Monteiro is Features Writer on National Geographic Traveller India's web team. She loves beaches, blue skies, and baking, and is most centred while trying a new cake recipe. She tweets as @thefabmonteiro.

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