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Beer enthusiasts descend on Suwanee for festival

Photo: John Bohn. Beer enthusiasts Buzz Kaas, left, and Greg Jones, both of Suwanee, take refuge from the sun under an umbrella while attending the 2011 Suwanee American Craft Beer Fest held at Town Center Park in Suwanee. The festival featured 120 craft beers, food and live music. Below, Jared Burrell of Suwanee enjoys himself on his birthday at the festival.

Photo: John Bohn. Beer enthusiasts Buzz Kaas, left, and Greg Jones, both of Suwanee, take refuge from the sun under an umbrella while attending the 2011 Suwanee American Craft Beer Fest held at Town Center Park in Suwanee. The festival featured 120 craft beers, food and live music. Below, Jared Burrell of Suwanee enjoys himself on his birthday at the festival.

SUWANEE -- Jared Burrell put on his beer goggles -- er, sunglasses -- a little early Saturday.

The local man celebrated his 33rd birthday surrounded by friends and his favorite beverage at Suwanee's American Craft Beer Fest.

"We were going to the fest anyway. It was perfect timing" for the birthday party, Burrell said, wearing beer bottle-shaped shades that were a gift. "I've got all my friends around me."

Thousands turned out for the festival, which cost $40 at the door for samples of more than 100 beers.

Bands kept the party going, as people milled about Suwanee's Town Center Park.

Heather Woods brought her own pretzel necklace.

"We've been to enough beer festivals," she said, to know to bring the traditional necklace, which was also on sale. Woods said the Suwanee event ranks highly compared to others she has attended.

The only drawback, for many, was the soaring heat that not even a cold beer could relieve.

"I just wish it was later, so it wasn't so hot," said Shawn Staley, a Flowery Branch man sporting a "Beer is my friend" T-shirt.