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Beer Week Snapshot: Lexington Craft Beer Week

Mashing In
Lexington Craft Beer Week, Country Western

This weekend marks the start of the third annual Lexington Craft Beer Week, and Mashing In’s coverage of various beer weeks across the country. Beer weeks capture the essence of a town or a Lexington Craft Beer Week, Mashing Instate’s craft beer scene. They paint portraits of the diversity of drinkers, the craft beer innovations, and the trends of a particular place. And they feature novel events that showcase the world-class work of local craft breweries, beer bars, and restaurants that guests might not otherwise experience.

Without further ado, let’s talk Lexington Craft Beer Week. It’s a relatively new beer week, founded by Chris Vandergrift and Matt Arrington in an effort to celebrate Lexington, Kentucky’s recently thriving craft beer scene. “Neither Matt nor I are directly involved in any brewery or liquor outlet,” said Vandergrift. “We are just two guys who really want to support the local culture and educate people about the great things that Lexington has going on right now.”

Vandergrift, who has a background in beer festival planning and homebrewing, took his rolodex of local craft brewers and teamed up with Arrington, who designed the LexBeerScene.com website, to create Lexington Craft Beer Week three years ago. This beer week coincides with American Craft Beer Week, “mostly because there weren’t any big events here in the spring,” Vandergrift said. “Beer Week allows bars are breweries to bring out their A-game and show people their creativity.”

In the first year of beer week two Lexington breweries, Country Boy Brewing and West Sixth Brewing, combined forces on the first-ever Lexington brewery collaboration beer that became the official beer of Lexington Craft Beer Week. It was a hoppy pale ale called Country Western. Last year the two breweries created Country Wester Volume Two, a “celebration of Kentucky” brown ale brewed with Kentucky sorghum and aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. This year they announced Country Western Volume Three, an imperial red ale aged in bourbon barrels with pecans and chocolate. Bombers of this beer will be released today at both brewery locations, and the beer will be available on draught around town throughout the week.

“One thing that sets the breweries here apart is their access to fresh bourbon barrels for aging beer,” said Vandergrift. “Because of that easy access, the local breweries produce some of the best barrel aged beers available... in my opinion.”

According to Vandergrift, it’s commonplace in Lexington to spot a local brewer at a brewery that’s not his or her own. “There is no internal market competition nor disdain between any of the breweries West Sixth Brewing Company Beer Connoisseurhere, ” he said. “Everyone has a different culture, a different set of devoted fans, and a different business plan – this allows them to all work together toward a common cause without stepping on anyone's toes.” 

Can’t-Miss Lexington Craft Beer Week Events

Saturday, May 9: Coffee Beers Day at Country Boy Brewing

On the first day of beer week, Country Boy Brewing will tap 12 coffee-infused beers and serve free breakfast. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, May 12: Test Batch Takeover at Blue Stallion Brewing

Taste 15 experimental small batches (like Peanut Butter Cup Stout, Ginger Saison, and Blood Orange Hefeweizen) at Blue Stallion Brewing, many of which were brewed with the help of other local breweries. More information here.

Saturday, May 16: Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fest

This annual food and beer fest returns, this year with more than 50 breweries, 175 beers, and an expanded food sampling section that features bites from nearby restaurants. Buy tickets here.

Plan Your Lexington Craft Beer Week

The complete Lexington Craft Beer Week events calendar can be found at LexBeerScene.com. This website also provides a schedule of where all of the food trucks in Lexington will be at any given time throughout the week.