Stella Artois Brewery, Belgium, July 13

Author gantrysteele - Last updated: 29.08.2013

So the missus and I decided to head to Belgium for our Anniversary. As well as all that romantic stuff, the intention was to see if we could get into the Horror Labs and so we managed to find a place to stay 200 yards from the place. However with electronic gates restricting access or huge fences to contemplate, lots of busy-bodies and the place seemingly buttoned-up fairly tight, we decided to head a bit further south to the Old Stella Artois Brewery in Louven.

Louven is a nice looking town with some great architecture in the main square. The old brewery is to the north, right on the canal. Stella Artois has been brewed in Louven since 1926 though some records show a brewery being located here since the 1300′s. Louven is still the home of Anheuser-Busch InBev (Corona, Becks, Budweiser to name but a few) but it seems that Stella’s popularity outgrew the ability to brew the volume required in the original premises so a new brewery was built about 300 yards down the street in around 1993 where production continues there today.

Having bummed around Brussels all day, we scoped out the place on the Saturday afternoon, taking a good walk around. The place is pretty big and split into what I’d call three main areas – The silos, the main section and ‘across the street and its pretty easy to walk round most of the outside although there’s waterways running through parts them and they all front onto the main canal and street. We decided that we wanted to check out the the main section and found a spot where we could get in, before heading back to Brussels for the evening

Sunday morning, we arrived at 7am and were straight into the main section in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately due to ferry times etc, we were limited on time and only had a couple of hours to spare as we had another place to head for afterwards. Just in this one main section, there are numerous offices, test labs, water towers, roofs, basements, stores, meeting rooms, brewing halls, archives, generator rooms, electrical rooms, social areas, cargo areas etc. and I think that this one section alone would take at least 4-5 hours to do it any kind of justice at a nice pace.

Looking back at previous posts, its definitely deteriorated in the last couple of years. The once beautiful art-deco interiors have been trashed to a certain extent, doors and glass have been smashed, ceilings and walls pulled down and there’s more graffiti general decay. However, a lot is left and you can still get a real feel for how fabulous this place must have been.

Waterproof boots and torches are needed for some of the basements (water was about 3" deep) and the air was a bit fuzzy so masks probably wouldn’t be a bad idea here and there’s what could be asbestos cladding been pulled down from pipes and ceilings in some areas too. We thought we heard voices in the distance a couple of times, but didn’t see another soul all the time we were in. We’ll be definitely be going back this year to finish this bit off and do the other sections.

Here’s the thing if you’re considering it… Depending on your UK location (we’re two hours from Dover), the ferry (two hours to Dunkirk) was £88, Leuven is a maximum of two hour’s drive and so if you get an early start you can add some other stuff (Eyselbach Brewery) coming back up to Dunkirk through Belgium and be back home in time for Horlicks

Pics!

Front from across the canal

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Side / Rear

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Front entrance

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Generator Room

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It’s ALL Explorable and Accessible

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Archive Storage in Water Tower

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Meeting Room

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Reception Area

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Loading / Storage

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