BY CHRIS CAMPBELL 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! FRIDAY MAY 8 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.