By Matt Wickstrom, Kentucky.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. — With burger, taco and pizza weeks, it can be difficult to keep up with the current culinary trends in Lexington.
But one staple is Lexington Craft Beer Week, now entering its seventh year.
From brewery collaborations to beer-paired dinners, tap takeovers and more, here are some of the most intriguing events of the annual event, which runs Friday through May 19.
The celebration begins Friday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark for special beers on tap from West Sixth, Ethereal, Mirror Twin, Blue Stallion, Pivot, Country Boy, Braxton, Rock House and Kentucky Ale as the Legends go to battle with the Kannapolis Intimidators. Ticket bundles include two beer vouchers with every box seat for $15.
Friday also marks the release of Country Western VII, a collaboration between West Sixth and Country Boy. This year’s batch is a stout with graham crackers, vanilla beans, and cocoa nibs appropriately named “S’more Country Western” after the campfire treat. The collaboration is one that’s as old as Craft Beer Week, hitting its seventh iteration with this release.
Fusion Brewing celebrates their first Craft Beer Week with the release of Nebula, an American IPA with Galaxy Hops, on Saturday. The same day Blue Stallion will release its classic May seasonal lager Maibock, while Ethereal re-releases its revered Russian Imperial Stout Baby Yaga.
Both Ethereal and Country Boy will celebrate Mother’s Day with unique events May 12. At Ethereal, families can celebrate mother with a day of crafting and painting “HOME” signs whilst sipping on the brewery’s assortment of beers. At Country Boy, ciders will be celebrated alongside mother’s with up to a dozen hard ciders being tapped throughout the day.
Experimental small batches from home brewers will be tapped at Blue Stallion on May 14 as part of the brewery’s Test Batch Takeover. Also that day, Winchell’s and Sedona Taphouse will team up with West Sixth and Ethereal, respectively, for specially curated beer-paired dinners.
May 15 marks the release of Graf, a collaboration between Blue Stallion and Pivot. The beer is a blend of cider and beer and using Blue Stallion’s kettle soured Scottish ale and Pivot’s dry cider to make a unique concoction with the tartness and sweetness of a malty kettle soured ale with the apple crispness of a dry cider.
Also on May 15, West Sixth will team up with the mixologists at Goodfellas, who’ve created four beer cocktails for patrons to try and vote on their favorite. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit AVOL Kentucky, whose mission is to collaborate with communities to End HIV in the Commonwealth.
The weekend starts early on May 16 at Belle’s Cocktail House with a rooftop party featuring canned beer specials and a tap takeover from Blue Stallion, Country Boy, Ethereal, and West Sixth. Folks from Country Boy will also be at The Burl Arcade on Thursday evening going toe-to-toe with fans in skee-ball, pinball and other vintage games, with a selection of the brewery’s catalogue on tap.
The Blue Stallion and Ethereal collaborated Lexipolitan, a Cosmopolitan-inspired pomegranate lime gose, returns on Saturday, May 18. Also on Saturday, homebrewers from all over the region will be showing off their skills for a chance to win a trip to the 2019 Great American Beer Festival at the Kentucky Pro-Am Brewfest at Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. Local breweries will also be onsite pouring some special brews along with food trucks and live music.
Craft Beer Week comes to a close on Sunday, May 19 with the 6th annual Beer Cheese Contest at Country Boy’s Georgetown taproom. Over 50 beer cheese recipes from local cooks will be available to sample at the free event.
If you’re a bit more of a sweet tooth, then head to Rock House Brewing to close out Craft Beer Week with a cupcake and beer pairing with Desserts by Rebecca, who will make five cupcakes with different Rock House beers as ingredients in each one before pairing the treats with the beers they were baked with.
IF YOU GO: Lexington Craft Beer Week
When: May 10-19
Schedule of events: LexBeerScene.com/LCBW
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