Forget Keystone, here's a pipeline we can all get behind. A series of underground tubes will transport beer from the De Halve Maan brewery at the center of Bruges, Belgium, to a bottling plant a couple miles away. "It all started as a joke," brewer Xavier Vanneste tells the Wall Street Journal. But, four years after work began, the pipeline is just weeks away from completion. The project was "born of environmental and quality of life concerns," Vanneste told AFP in an earlier story. Beer has been brewed at De Halve Maan's historic site for some five centuries. The bottling end of the operation was moved to an industrial area in 2010, creating traffic issues. The pipeline will eliminate some 500 truck trips through the city's narrow, cobblestone alleyways each year. Unfortunately, rumors notwithstanding, in-home taps aren't an option for locals.
Once complete, the pipeline (a "Willy Wonkian approach" to the traffic problem, per the Independent) will transport 1,500 gallons of beer per hour at 12mph. The $4.5 million project was, in part, crowdfunded, with donors receiving lifetime supplies of beer (one 11 ounce bottle per day or one 25 ounce bottle per year, depending on the donation amount). A local restaurateur who contributed calculated that he would regain his investment, via beer, in 15 years. But, he tells the Journal, he would have preferred a direct tap to his establishment: "It would have saved me a lot of keg-dragging.” The mayor of Bruges is now considering pipelines to transport all kinds of things, including chocolate. As for concerns that scofflaws may try to illegally tap the beer line, which is buried at depths of six to 100 feet, Vanneste says the polyethylene tubes are stronger than steel. But, the brewer promises, the flavor of its beers will be unaffected. (Bieber's beer bong encounter ended badly.)