Beers to You: Craft Beer Week turns 3 in Lexington
In its third year of existence, Lexington Craft Beer Week will present a nearly daunting number of events in just ten days. Beer enthusiast and sometimes termed “Lexington Beer Godfather” Chris Vandergrift has taken a grassroots effort of uniting brewers and drinkers alike, and taken it to the next level. Beginning Friday, May 8, the official kickoff event will be held at Whitaker Bank Ballpark where the Legends will feature beers from local breweries, and will offer ticket bundles that will include seat purchase and drink tickets. On your way to or from the game, stop by Country Boy Brewing where they will be serving the third Beer Week Collaboration concoction – another exciting tandem effort with West Sixth. The bourbon-barrel aged red ale is the exciting official beer of the ten-day span, which will feature more beer-themed events than you can shake a barrel stave at. Don’t overdo it on day one, however. There are nine more days to go…and over 40 more LCBW-sanctioned events to be attended.
Vandergrift’s brainchild has morphed into an all-out citywide event that had fairly meager beginnings. Since 2013, the Lexington Craft Beer week has tripled in size thanks in part to Lexington’s burgeoning beer scene, and the success of previous years’ events.
“It all starts out with me sitting down with business owners and throwing around ideas about what type events would work. Then I help coordinate dates and events that won’t conflict too much (with other events) but most of the guys who have participated in the past have this down pat” says Vandergrift.
Sounds like a dream job? Yes and no. Vandergrift gets very little but satisfaction (and maybe a hangover or three) from watching his fledgling sudsy concept blossom into a ten day free-for-all of a celebration of not only beer, but also the food that goes best with it. It’s a break-even proposition when it goes well.
Day two kicks off with one of the most anticipated draws of the three-year old Beer Week, the Coffee Beer Day at Country Boy. Suggins caters a free (while it lasts) breakfast, which will be accompanied by a wide assortment of no fewer than 12 coffee-flavored beers, all made in house. At the same time, nearby spirit staple Alltech Brewing will be kicking off their brewer pro-am where homebrewers from all across the bluegrass will compete for the chance for their own recipe to be brewed by Alltech. The brewery will host the competition on their grounds, and will also host an open house all day long….and if that wasn’t enough, they’ll also be sponsor a Lexington Humane Society fundraiser on site. Register at Alltech, and pilot your inflatable horse-on-a-stick down to Country Boy for an exciting 0.7K ‘race.’
With so many events in such a short span, there very likely will be something for everyone’s taste. In fact, the beer dinner list alone is something to get your mouth watering. For those of you who not only crave local libations, but also their perfect culinary counterparts, a dinner planned carefully around the flavor profiles of craft beer may be right in your wheelhouse.
The OBC kitchen will get in the action first, sponsoring a $40 Deschutes pairing of their food and 6 craft beers. Chatham’s also will be sponsoring a beer dinner, this one with local staple Alltech. Winchell’s on Southland Drive will be preparing a special West Sixth Beer dinner, County Club will continue their collaboration with Country Boy, Old Chicago will utilize all the Bluegrass area brewers for a series of food and beer pairings, and Lexington Beerworks will team up with the Gastro Gnomes for a beer dinner of their own.
All the local breweries will be in on the action, each releasing a special new beer in celebration of the sudsy week. Also, the Beer Trappe will be releasing some extremely rare brews from Stone Brewery, and will punctuate the week with a Beer School with barrel-aged beers.
There you can find beer dinner menus, tap lists and various other useful info and links to each event. The list of happenings alone is enough to make your head spin. Read responsibly!
Lexington Craft Beer Week Kickoff Game, 6 pm, Legends Ballpark
Stop by Whitaker Bank Ballpark for the Lexington Legends vs Charlestown Riverdogs game featuring specialty beers from all of the local breweries, with a special ticket price for a tasting. Representatives from each of the breweries will be on-hand to talk about their beers.
Country Boy Brewing & West Sixth – Country Western Vol. 3 Bomber Release
Country Western Vol. III: the official beer of Craft Beer Week. Inspired by a certain famous pie named after a certain famous race in Kentucky, this bourbon barrel-aged red ale boasts hints of chocolate and pecans, and clocks in at 13% ABV.
SATURDAY MAY 9
Alltech’s Lexington Brewing & Distilling – Pro-Am Brewoff and Open House, 9am-5pm
Homebrewers from across the bluegrass will be setting up their gear at KY Ale and competing for a chance to have their recipe brewed by KY Ale. The winner also gets a free trip to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver and their recipe entered into the GABF Pro-Am contest. Brewers must pre-register.
Blue Stallion Brewing – Maibock Release
The summer seasonal lager, Maibock, will be tapped on Saturday May 9th to kick off Lexington Craft Beer Week. Gastro Gnomes food truck will be on hand at 5pm.
BRU Burger Bar – Lexington Breweries Tap Takeover, 11am
Sixteen taps dedicated to only local beers. Featuring Country Boy Brewing, Rooster Brewing, West Sixth, Blue Stallion, Alltech, and Ethereal.
Country Boy Brewing – Coffee Beer Day!, 8am-close
It begins with a free catered breakfast by Suggins (while it lasts) and a breakfast-themed food truck menu for the rest of the day. Come get your caffeine fix with 12 Country Boy Coffee-Infused Beers, or sip on one of 12 Country Boy taps.
Lexington Beerworks – Berliner Weisse Day, All Day (begins at noon)
SUNDAY MAY 10
Blue Stallion Brewing – Mother’s Day Brunch with The Gastro Gnomes, 1pm
Ethereal Brewing – Special Beer Release, 3pm
MONDAY MAY 11
Blue Stallion Brewing – Against the Grain Tap Takeover
Country Boy Brewing – Country Western Vol. 3 Draught Release
OBC Kitchen – OBC Deschutes Beer Dinner Featuring Select Beer & Food Pairings
Shamrocks – Country Boy Tap Takeover, 7pm
The Beer Trappe – Stone Special Tappings, 5pm
TUESDAY MAY 12
Blue Stallion Brewing – Test Batch Tap Takeover, 5pm
Chatham’s – Southern Comfort Foods Beer Dinner Featuring Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co., 8pm
Country Boy Brewing – Cellar Cleaning Day, 5pm
Drake’s – Lagunitas Tap Takeover
Pies & Pints – Sierra Nevada Passport Event: Tuesday – Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter Am IPA
The Beer Trappe – Founders Specialty Flight Night, 5pm
WEDNESDAY MAY 13
Blue Stallion – Ethereal Collaboration Brew Release
BRU Burger Bar – Deschutes Tap Takeover, 5pm
Country Boy Brewing – POG Tournament, 8pm
County Club – 3rd Annual Country Boy Beer Dinner, 7pm
Lexington Beerworks – Beer Dinner with The Gastro Gnomes
Old Chicago – Exclusive Beer & Food Pairing, 6pm
Pazzo’s – Pint Night – All Local Beer, 6:30pm
Pies & Pints – Sierra Nevada Passport Event: Wednesday – Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager
The Beer Trappe – West Sixth Mini Tap Takeover Flights, 5PM
THURSDAY MAY 14
Bluegrass Tavern – Country Boy Tap Takeover, 5pm-close
Country Boy Brewing – 12 x 12 x 12 Event with Founders, 5pm-close
Lexington Beerworks – Sour Power Flight Night, 5pm
Pies & Pints – Sierra Nevada Passport Event: Tap Takeover w/Special Release
The Beer Trappe – Bell’s Specialty Flights & Lyle’s BBQ, 5pm
The Break Room – West Sixth / Country Boy Country Western Vol. III Event, 7pm
FRIDAY MAY 15
Arcadium – Country Boy / West 6th Country Western Vol. 3 Release Party & Tap Takeover, 5:30pm
Blue Stallion Brewing – Sauerfest II
Drake’s – Sam Adams Tap Takeover Featuring Glassware
Ethereal Brewing – Berliner Weisse Release, 5pm
Liquor Barn Beaumont – West Sixth Tasting Event, 5pm
Pies & Pints – Country Boy Tap Takeover
SATURDAY MAY 16
Alltech Craft Brew and Food Fest, noon-8pm
Blue Stallion Brewing – Imperial IPA Release
Country Boy Brewing – Barreled Jalapeno Smoked Porter Bomber Release, noon
The Breakroom – Country Boy Smoky Tap Takeover, 7:30pm
West Sixth – Think Local, Drink Local IV, 5pm-midnight
SUNDAY MAY 17
Blue Stallion Brewing – Blue Core Charity Cornhole Tourney & Barrel-Aged Beer Releases
The Beer Trappe – Beer School: Barrel Aged Beers, 4pm & 6pm
This article appears on page 5 of the May 2015 print issue of Ace.
For more Lexington, Kentucky arts, food, culture, and entertainment news, click here to subscribe to the Ace digital e-dition, emailed to your inbox every Thursday morning.