How to Stay Sober This Summer

While I understand that drinking alcohol isn't inherently bad, I have made a decision not to consume it.  Also, I am well aware that there are many folks who, for whatever reasons, have made a similar decision.  So, whether you are a recovering alcoholic or the straight edge kid who wants to party sober, this list should help you out.

1.  Root Beer Root beer is classic.  It is carried in every grocery store or gas station.  Best of all, for the cool kid who doesn't want to stick out for not drinking, a lot of root beer manufacturers produce their brew in a bottle.  So, when you go to the party, you can fit in and stay sober at the same time.

Here are some options for your pleasure:
- A&W ... A&W is smooth, with great froth.  Its flavor is by far my favorite.  Plus, my town still has an old fashioned A&W stand.  Rad.
- IBC ... IBC is the most popular bottled root beer.  It has good flavor and is sold almost everywhere.
- Whole Foods Brand ... For those interested in "organic" products, this option is for you.  This organic option is the best one I could find.Buckler BeerCredit:

2.  Non-Alcoholic Beer  If root beer sounds like child's play to you, then perhaps I can interest you in some non-alcoholic brews.  This sounds absurd to many.  First, people are confused about why one would drink beer if they weren't getting drunk.  Second, people are fascinated in how a beer is brewed without alcohol.  Once past the initial frustration, many are intrigued by the variety of non-alcoholic options.  One downside to this option is the lack of availability.  My hometown's Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Owens only offer O'Doul's (made by Budweiser), Coors N/A (made by Coors) and Sharps (made by Miller).  Sometimes Wal-Mart will stock O'Doul's Amber, but for the most part there is only a small selection.  Another downside is that sometimes, depending on the store, you have to be 21 to buy non-alcoholic brews. 

So, what are the upsides?  First, especially for recovering alcoholics and pregnant beer lovers, you can quench the craving for that hoppy taste.  Second, if you can get your hands on some of the rarer N/A's, you'll be pleasantly surprised by their taste (try Guiness's Kaliber or Heineken's Buckler).  Third, and most importantly, these brews are all contain less than 0.5% alcohol.  This means that, for the average person, it would take some 50+ beers to get drunk, and 30+ to get buzzed.  Sobriety is not an issue.  Here are some of my favorites:

- Buckler ... This beer is found at my local Save On Liquour and is by far the best I have tried.  It tastes the most like real beer, even my beer drinking friends agree.
- Sharps ... I think my fondness of Sharps is primarily due to availability.  It is much better than O'Doul's (in my opinion, obviously) and is more readily available.
- Kaliber ... This one is a bit harder for me to find, but it is definitely worth looking for.  I would drink a Buckler over a Kaliber 9/10 times, but sometimes variety is nice.

3. Tea For all thGirl DrinkingCredit: wolfandwillow.typepad.comose who aren't into the flavor of beer or the childish root beer, tea is always another option.  Tea is everywhere, in all varieties of brands and flavors.  It can be mixed with fruity drinks (lemonade, orange juice, etc...).  And, for the crafty men and women who miss brewing their own beer, making your own tea would be a great new challenge.  For the kids who want to fit in at the party, this is your least viable option; but, I promise you will be enjoying this beverage far more than the cheap beer and vodka that pollutes high school parties.  Here are some great teas to try out:

- Sweet Leaf ... This is a homegrown business (though now partnered with Nestle) that sells organic sweet teas (with added flavors like Mint&Honey and Citrus).
- Peace Tea ... Peace Tea will forever hold a place in my heart, because it reminds me summertime with my friends.  They have a variety of flavors and are a bit more accessible and affordable than Sweet Leaf.
- Sam Doughty's Mint Tea ... My friend Sam Doughty made sunned mint tea for a cookout.  I was never the same.

There you have it folks.  Next time someone asks you if you want to go out for a drink, or if the prohibition returns, you are stocked with some sober solutions to your situation.  Party on.