Enjoy a city break in Bruges and walk not only on water, but on beer as well!
Think of Bruges and the mind’s eye immediately conjures up romantic images of charming canals lined with traditional gabled Flemish townhouses, of cobbled squares and carriage rides, and of delicious chocolate and delicate lace. And in addition to all these dreamy notions, like its Belgian city neighbours, Bruges enjoys a longstanding association with beer and the historic art of brewing. Indeed, one of its breweries, De Halve Maan, has been situated within the medieval city for almost five centuries.
Yet since the brewery opened a new bottling plant three kilometres outside of the city back in 2010, De Halve Maan has been responsible for some 85% of Bruges’ heavy goods vehicle congestion, around 500 tankers in all clogging up the often narrow thoroughfares of the city. In an effort not only to be more environmentally friendly, but also to save money and be more time and process efficient, ambitious plans have been announced to install an underground beer pipeline – 1.8 metres long and made of polyethylene – to run beneath the streets, houses and even the canals of Bruges. Transporting the city’s prized beer direct from brewery to bottle in just 15 to 20 minutes, it is anticipated that 6,000 litres of beer will travel through the pipeline every hour.
With plans in place to commence the project this year, future visitors to Bruges may soon not only be sampling some of the city’s finest brews, but also walking on it as well! If you’re planning to enjoy a more immediate short break to Bruges meanwhile, the Bruges Beer Festival (Brugs Bierfestival) takes place over the weekend of 7th and 8th February, with 79 different Belgian breweries and producers and over 300 beers available to sample.
The event takes place at the Beurshal and entrance is free although there are two different packages available. Pay 10€ and you’ll get a tasting glass unique to this year’s event, an extensive beer festival guide and three tokens, allowing you three tastings. 20€ will buy you as above, but an extra glass, an extra five tokens and a stamped festival postcard. Additional tokens are available at 1.50€ each. The event is open from 12pm until 10pm on the Saturday, and from 11am until 9pm on the Sunday.