Normally FIBA has something to do with basketball, but not in northern France: it’s the Festival International de la Bière Artisanale! 

The International Craft Beer Festival takes place once a year in the small town of Sainte Marie Cappel, just outside of Hazebrouck. Nearly 20 independent breweries are represented at the festival, and most of them come from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. With 5€, you get a souvenir tasting glass, three tasting tickets, and of course, the whole FIBA experience, which is priceless.

The city’s gymnasium was packed full of local beer tasters. Luckily for us, the pouring rain started 30 seconds after we made it inside.

Craig Allan’s Brewery stand. This Scottish beer master makes some of the most delicious brews I’ve tasted. His “Psychedelia” has a wonderfully developed in-your-face flavor, which is probably why I choose this beer over any other when it’s on the menu.
Finishing my third and final tasting with a great glass of Craig Allan’s “Psychedelia.”
Not only is there beer tasting to be done at the FIBA, but there is also horse riding and target shooting to be watched! These courageous riders set out in the rainy and windy weather to display their archery skills, providing entertainment for the festival goers.
It’s best to snack on something while you drink, and the FIBA had no shortage of local food to try. We went with some frites à l’ancienne, meaning delicious french fries prepared the old-fashioned way.
Being a critical ingredient in the brewing process, hops were hanging around everywhere at the festival. The normal tradition is to snap off a strand to take home to hang in your house, bringing you good luck until next year’s FIBA.

So, I must say that I am a fan of the FIBA. I got to taste some of my favorite beers, discover some new ones, and end the day with a hot, fresh cornet of french fries. What else does an American girl living in northern France need? Until next year!

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