And as my years here have passed by, I've come to realise that, once you actually know what you're looking at, you can hardly flick a beer mat in any direction in this town without hitting some piece of brewing history.
My latest discovery was the Hôtel Wielemans, a beautiful house with an eclectic mix of Art Deco and Andalucian influences located literally next door to my office tower. OK, "discovery" is not really the right word. I've known about the building, now used for events, for a while now, and I've attended a function or two there. "Next door" is a bit misleading as well. The place is, in fact, attached to mine via a secret passage.
Anyway, while the outside may not impress you at first, once you've taken the virtual tour of the inside, you'll see what I mean about its exceptional design.
These days, however, you won't find any Wielemans-Ceuppens beers in this town or any other. The brewery rose to prominence on the wave of changing public preference in favour of bottom-fermented Pilsners and "Munich-style" beers seen in Belgium and elsewhere in the late 19th century and then enjoyed several periods of expansion in the 20th before running into troubles. It was taken over by Artois in 1980 and stopped brewing in 1988. The "Blomme" building itself has been converted into the art centre, "Wiels".
|Rue Américaine 205|
Connections to beer are everywhere in this town if you keep your eyes open...