Grayson grooves at beer festival

Photo by Nate McCullough

Photo by Nate McCullough

GRAYSON -- When Grayson resident Kathy Huber heard her city would be hosting a craft beer festival, she was thrilled.

"I like the thought of building some kind of community (event)," she said.

Grayson has an annual Fall Festival in October, but the Blues and Brews Craft Beer Festival has a different flavor. Open only to those age 21 and up, the inaugural event on Saturday allowed attendees to sample more than 150 craft beer varietals.

Jimmy Norton, the chairman of the Grayson Downtown Development Authority, likened the event to a wine tasting.

"Craft beer is a following much like that of fine foods or niche chefs," he said. "(The fans) are connoisseurs."

Snellville resident Tracie Milano said there was no lack of varietals to taste.

"There's a lot of them I've never even heard of," she said.

"There's a taste for everyone here, whether you like light beers, dark beers or middle-of-the-road beers," her friend, Snellville resident Steve Clancy, added. "It's a good tasting experience."

All festival attendees received a commemorative sampling stein, just big enough for a couple of sips of beer. The small size of the glass encouraged people to try several brews.

"It's a nice way to try different beers ... without spending eight bucks to say, 'Wow, I hate that six-pack,'" Lawrenceville resident Michael Hertica said.

When asked which ones he liked, Hertica responded, "I'm not taking notes ... but I know I like Bud Light Lime."

Hertica attended the event with his wife, Desiree, to celebrate the birthdays of his brother and sister, who were born in August and September, respectively. His sister, Tracey Campagna, flew down from New York to attend the festival.

"I like it," Hertica said. "It'll be nice to watch it get bigger."

In its first year, the number of attendees was limited to 1,000. Norton said the response to the festival has been very positive.

"We're very pleased with the amount of community volunteers that came out to support the event," he said. "We're pleased with the crowd, and likewise, they seem to be pleased with the fare at this event."

Huber said the event held in a section of the park next to City Hall appeared to be a hit.

"What's there not to like?" Huber said. "We've got a beautiful, sunny day, good beer, lots of people hanging around, good music."