Right here’s my checklist of pandemic hobbies. I grew a vegetable backyard and baked focaccia, propagated houseplants and fermented gallons of tangy kombucha, the hardly boozy, probiotic-packed bubbly tea that’s supposedly good for intestine well being. On the minimal, do-it-yourself kombucha was higher for me than all these double IPAs I drank throughout that darkish New York Metropolis spring.
Six months later I’m nonetheless in Brooklyn, nonetheless fermenting kombucha, and in one other 2020 plot twist, consuming kombucha-infused beer. I’d prefer to name the transfer unexpected, however fact is, I’m seeing onerous kombucha all over the place.
Firms are betting large on higher-ABV kombucha, cranking up the tangy ferment’s alcohol content material (it sometimes accommodates lower than 1 % alcohol by quantity) to ranges often seen in lagers and IPAs. Exhausting kombuchas are carbonated conundrums, better-for-you drinks that ship a buzz.
I’m not completely against onerous kombucha’s existence. Loads of stable choices exist, together with Sierra Nevada’s Strainge Beast and KYLA, produced by Full Sail in Oregon. Ingesting a number of is invigorating, however onerous kombucha shouldn’t be suited to afternoon-long consumption whereas watching soccer. The acidity overwhelms, inebriation served with a facet of indigestion.
Move the aspirin and Tums, please.
I didn’t want antacids to strive two compelling new entrants into the kombucha sphere. First, San Diego’s JuneShine, a tough kombucha producer, partnered with Stone Brewing on StoneShine. Kombucha made with inexperienced tea and honey is augmented with tropical Citra and coconut-like hops and a brewery pun—stone fruits, particularly nectarines and peaches.
The hybrid has reasonably gripping acidity, the fruit and hops demanding full consideration out of your nostril and style buds. In a beer world swirling with juicy hazy IPAs and berry-mobbed bitter ales, the 6 % ABV StoneShine matches neatly into the present zeitgeist. It’s nice sufficient to pound on a late-summer seashore, nevertheless it’s greatest to border the hybrid as a gluten-free bitter IPA—a health-minded promoting level for drinkers with that dietary concern.
However, Allagash Brewing appeals to waistline-conscious prospects with its Little Grove line of 100-calorie glowing session ales infused with fruit. This appears off-brand for the Belgian-influenced brewery famed for its aromatic White witbier and spontaneously fermented ales, however the pandemic-ordered closure of bars and eating places hit Allagash onerous. (This was my first summer time in a decade that I didn’t devour a lobster roll and a pair White pints in Maine.)
As an alternative of moping, Allagash innovated with new packaged merchandise, most notably Little Grove. The beers are available in two variations: blackcurrant and peach blended with kombucha. The blackcurrant has a terrific tartness, one thing I’d sip at brunch to clean away a wee hangover. I personally want the kombucha model that’s barely candy and pleasingly tangy, the peaches current and never pummeling. It’s a light-weight and breezy sipper suited to lazy afternoons, the three.6 % ABV which means you possibly can—and will—crush a pair cans.
Not like most onerous kombuchas, Little Grove is simple to drink repeatedly.
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