The people closest to me know that I no longer drink alcohol— and the people who have been around me the longest know exactly why that is the case.

It’s true that I once had a love for strong drink that rivaled my affection for just about anything else this planet can produce. And while I have no regrets about the life I once led or the choice I made almost five years ago to change it up, I sometimes feel a pang of remorse that I missed the Triad craft beer movement to which this annual issue is dedicated.

It’s not just the beer: I also sometimes miss hanging around in bars, which is how I spent most of my youth. And I want to participate in the spate of new brewery openings that always seem to be… well, brewing.

So I go to these places, thankful that they have something for me to drink besides chlorinated soda from the gun or canned juices poured over ice. Hoots Roller Bar makes me craft sodas using house infusions. I can get pour-over coffees at Preyer, and sometimes Gibb’s Hundred has these cool sodas they get from Durham.

But for the most part, I’m out of luck.

What I’d have the beermakers do is steal a page from the Abita Brewery in Louisiana, makers of the very first microbrews I ever loved. Besides Turbodog and Jockamo IPA, Abita also produces a fabulous root beer that I would love to be sipping on instead of a club soda with a lime squeeze.

Lots of brewers are getting into the soda game: Stevens Point in Wisconsin has a soda operation, of which its Sprecher Root Beer is the bestseller; Oskar Blues, whose Old Chubb was once a personal fave, offers a soda line; as do breweries in Texas, Idaho, Georgia and Washington state.

None of the local beermakers have latched onto this trend, but I believe it would work. I for one would be a sure-fire customer — though I probably won’t be drinking 10 of them per visit.

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