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What I did on summer beercation, Vol. 2

by Nick Trougakos Published: July 17, 2013

Yesterday, I did my annual review of the craft beer scene at Walt Disney World in Vol. 1 of my summer beercation report.

Today, it’s all about my drive home from WDW — which was memorable because of a stop at one epic liquor store.

Let’s just say that if you’re driving on Interstate 75 south of Atlanta, and you come upon Exit 212, get off the road immediately.

I’ve never made a habit of searching the countryside for liquor stores — normally I handle road trips with a single-minded focus to get wherever I’m going in as little time as possible, and with as few distractions as possible — but I decided I would give it a shot on this trip. When I started seeing billboards proclaiming “LIQUOR, EXIT 212,” I knew I was on the right track.

The exit leads to a rather run-down area in Locust Grove, Ga., and the Z&Z Package Store.

Admittedly, my experience in out-of-state liquor stores is quite limited, but this was, hands down, the most impressive liquor store I’ve ever seen.

First, it’s gigantic. Second, its beer selection was simply amazing. They had beers from pretty much every notable brewery we can’t get in Oklahoma. They had refrigeration. They had bombers, six packs and mix-and-match bottles.

Since I had my wife and son waiting in the car in the parking lot, and we were trying to plow through as much of the drive home as possible that day, I didn’t have much time to scan the beer selection — but I could have pondered it for hours. With my limited time, I quickly decided I could amass a bigger variety of beers by hitting up the build-your-own-six-pack section.

In about four minutes, I put together this lineup:

That’s Stone Levitation Ale, Stone Ruination IPA, Stone Pale Ale, Green Flash Friendship Brew, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Lagunitas Censored Rich Copper Ale, Victory Headwater Pale Ale and Avery IPA.

Really, if I hadn’t just spent a boatload of cash on a Disney World vacation and had more than five minutes to get in and out, I would have needed three or four pictures to capture all the beer I would have brought home. The selection was that good. And I feel bad to think there may have been even more not-available-in-Oklahoma brands that I missed altogether.

(On a side note, I spotted a couple beers in the store that everyone in Oklahoma would be familiar with: Choc’s Signature Dubbel and Biere de Garde. I knew that Choc had expanded distribution on a limited basis to the Atlanta area, but it was still nice to see those bombers sharing the shelves with the likes of Stone and Dogfish Head.)

Anyway, since my return I’ve worked my way through all the beers, save the Stone Levitation and Bell’s Two Hearted. Levitation I should get to soon, but I may “cellar” the Bell’s for a special occasion, especially since I just had one at Disney World. Green Flash’s Friendship Brew was great, as was the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and the Avery IPA. And the Stone beers have been good, although I expected them to be a little more aggressively hopped, to be honest.

Either way, while most of the destinations at Exit 212 were wholly unredeeming and kinda dirty looking, I may try to convince Mrs. Beagle that we need to hit up the exit again on the next road trip.

If only so I can dream about what Oklahoma’s liquor stores could be.

by Nick Trougakos
Local Editor
Local Editor Nick Trougakos has been with The Oklahoman since 2002. Trougakos covered the military, federal agencies and courts before becoming an editor in 2005. Prior to joining The Oklahoman, Trougakos was a reporter for the Oklahoma City...
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