It’s finally arrived: the last day of Dry July. This, I promise, will be the last time I post about it – the usual agenda of beer, beer events and beer culture will resume. But before that, a quick word on non-alcoholic drinks.

They’re terrible. Not all of them, but the vast majority of non-alcoholics are overly sweet and rely on sugar for flavour. While there are some good ones out there (see the Top Five below), most bars don’t offer any of them, relying instead on whatever comes out of the soda gun. I was disappointed that my favourite pub, Galbraith’s, doesn’t even list their non-alcoholic drinks on the menu.

Now I know I’m asking a lot – I already want bars and pubs to offer amazing beers and delicious food – and now I’m requesting they could stock some decent non-alcoholic options for times when you don’t want to imbibe alcohol. But if cafes can do it, why not? The Phoenix range is quite good, as is Charlie’s (especially the old-fashioned lemonade) and I hear in Wellington they even have craft fizzy drink – Harvey Boys.

It’s probably not something I’ll campaign on – I’d rather put my time into beer. And speaking of beer, in one last effort to raise some dough for the Dry July cause, I’m auctioning off my first beer. I’ve set up a TradeMe auction where the winner can decide what my first beer in 32 days will be – will they use the power for good (promote a great beer) or evil (torture me with a mainstream lager)? If you’d like such power, place your bid here.

 Top Five Non-Alcoholic Drinks:

‘Hot Ginga’ – Skalinada Cafe, Mt Wellington
A gorgeous hot lemon and ginger drink that was the perfect temperature and a generous size.

Charlie’s Old Fashioned Lemonade
While many commercial drink makers have forgotten to put the ‘lemon’ in ‘lemonade’, this little beauty is deliciously sour.

t Leaf Earl Grey Blue Flower
I’m a big tea drinker, especially Earl Grey, and this is one of my favourites. And you know it’s good because the Yeastie Boys used it to make their Gunnamatta beer.

Phoenix Organics
I like nearly all the Phoenix drinks – they’re sweet, but not overwhelming so and rely more on the fruit for their flavour. If I had to pick two favourites, it’d be the Honey Cola and Apple & Guava juice.

Chai – Circus Circus, Eden Village
To be honest, I’d had an hour and a half sleep when I drank this and all I can remember was it was hot and comforting. But I’ve got it on good authority it tasted amazing too.