Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Doug Mangum, left, of Grayson and his friend, Dave Galbraith of Loganville, have a toast with their sample beers during the third annual Grayson Blues & Brews Craft Beer Festival at the Grayson City Park on Saturday.
GRAYSON -- While Mary Williams enjoyed new flavors of craft beer on Saturday, she admitted that wasn't the sole reason she came to attend her town's beer festival.
"Even if they all serve Bud Light and Miller Lite, I would still come because it's in Grayson, and it's for the (Grayson) Children's Fund, and to help grow Grayson," Williams said.
Her favorite among the 130 or so beers available at Grayson City Park on Saturday was an Apricot Ale by Pyramid Breweries, and Williams figured she'd cast her vote for the Apricot as the best beer available.
Williams and several friends were among the more than 1,000 people at the third annual Grayson Blues and Brews Festival that benefits the Grayson Children's Fund, which donates backpacks and other supplies to families in need at Grayson Elementary.
"We are a small town and everybody just pulled together," said co-chair Gail Moore. "It really was a community effort thing."
Moore noted that members of the Grayson City Council and Downtown Development Authority were on hand, and 120 volunteers worked the event for about seven hours.
Moore said most attendees, while they have favorites, come to sample something different, and about 50 breweries from a handful of distributors provided that opportunity.
Among the popular specialty beers, Moore said, were an Oktoberfest from Red Hare Rabbit Reserve and a Southern Tier Creme Brulee.
"The people who come to this, they don't really come to get drunk, they come to taste something special," Moore said. "We're one of the smallest beer festivals and the beer connoisseur people told me it was really fun because people don't have to wait in line for a long time. If we ever grow, we're not sure what we're going to do."
One of Williams' friends, Monte Harpe, said they've been to all three of the festivals, and his favorite was from the New Belgium brewery.
"We like to try new beers besides your normal Bud Light, Corona Light; definitely the craft beers," Harpe said.
Snellville resident Sarah Vandyne agreed with Williams about the Pyramid beers, and she also enjoyed a Magners Pear beer.
Moore added the event's capacity is about 2,500 people, and it offered craft and large distributor beers, not home or micro brews.
"Everybody wants to try something different," Moore said. "Even though they have their favorites."