Like the water wending through its medieval canals, beer is now freely flowing beneath the city of Bruges. After several years of development, The New York Times reports that the enviable taps finally opened Friday on the world’s first underground beer pipeline in the historic Belgian city.
The beer line runs from one of the city’s oldest and most popular breweries Halve Maan (The Half Man) to the company’s bottling site two miles away. Approximately 1,000 gallons — equal to around 12,000 bottles — pumps through the line at a rate of around 12 miles per hour, every hour, 24/7. The pipes are made from thick polyethylene tubes buried between 6 and 100-feet below the ground.
According to the managers of Halve Maan, the innovation was an unusual answer to a practical problem: How to get beer to the from the brewhouse to the bottle without disrupting the tranquility of Bruges’ Unesco-protected streets. It took some convincing to get city government on board with the proposal. However, the line will ultimately pay off in terms of aesthetics and environmental impact by taking about 500 trucks off Bruges roads every year.
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