Canceled last year due to Covid, the BAL festival (Bière à Lille) is making a comeback in the Lille metropolis. All this week, tastings and events take place in different places with the highlight of a grand final closing at
Lille Grand Palais where no less than 15,000 visitors are expected on Saturday and Sunday.
“The partnership with Lille Grand Palais allows us to professionalize the festival. This year there will be 100 brasseries present with a third of local breweries, a third of French breweries and a third of foreign breweries ”, explains Charlie Labourey, one of the festival organizers.
A festival that is getting bigger and bigger
Created in 2017, the BAL, which aims to introduce people to the region’s brewing culture, has come a long way in four years. Like the micro-breweries which are constantly developing in the North and in France, this beer festival, which is anything but a French-style Oktoberfest, is gaining in importance.
“There is an alignment of planets. The sector is gaining momentum and the image of beer has changed a lot. Many people understood that there was a huge card to play in the territory with real territorial roots. Beer has also become a much classier product than before. Ten years ago, prestigious companies would never have put a beer bar at their events because it was a “Jacky” thing. Now it has become much more respectable so they are offering it, ”explains Charlie Labourey.
A night of beer in Artois this Friday
And proof that the festival is not limited to the borders of the Lille metropolis, the BAL is organizing this Friday evening a night of beer in Artois. “We leave by bus from Lens or Lille and we do a little beer and night road-trip in three breweries different in size and style, which open their doors to us in the middle of the night. For 69 euros, we discuss with the brewers, we eat and we taste beers around a special concert. We come home at four in the morning so it really happens all night, ”explains Aurélie Baguet, one of the organizers of the event. Day and night, the BAL continues to successfully introduce a real regional heritage to be savored in moderation.