A wry view of life for the world-weary

Tunnel Of The Week


You can keep your streets paved with gold – my particular fantasy is a street running with beer. Well, the picturesque city of Bruges with its stunning waterways and complex of narrow streets has come up with the next best thing – a beer tunnel running under the city.

The streets are so narrow that it was becoming increasingly problematic for beer tankers to make the two-mile journey from De Halve Maan brewery in Walplein in the city centre to the anonymous industrial estate in which its bottling plant was situated. Having brewed in the centre of Bruges since 1564 and being the only remaining brewery to have brewed continuously in the city centre since the 16th century, Xavier Vanneste was reluctant to take the obvious step of relocating the brewery nearer the bottling plant.

He had a brainwave, doubtless inspired by a few glasses of the brewery’s finest although he claims it came to him when he saw workmen laying broadband cables – instal a tunnel, thus eliminating the traffic congestion caused by the tankers. Although private companies are precluded from digging up the cobbled streets, the far-sighted council made an exception. The tunnel, I understand this week, will facilitate the transportation of enough beer to fill 12,000 bottles an hour and will go into full-time operation in September.

Who will be the first to attempt to tap into it?


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