Trend Watch: Kombucha Ale

Photograph by sal de mar / Flickr
Mmmmm, funky! Photograph by sal de mar / Flickr

As we perused the latest issue of Draft magazine, we came across an article by Christopher Staten that predicts that Kombucha ale is the next big thang in the world of craft beer. 

And given the recent popularity, or at least increased awareness, of sour beer throughout the country thanks to breweries like Allagash, Crooked Stave, The Bruery, and more, perhaps blending beer and kombucha is the natural next step in the realm of funky fermentation techniques.

Anyone who’s ever tried kombucha, a fermented tea that originated in China, can probably understand the funky flavor bridge that links these two styles together. One could certainly argue that both are acquired tastes, but those with a passion for kombucha oftentimes become fervent home brewers of the stuff (much like beer geeks!), while companies like Urban Farm Fermentory are making spontaneously fermented cider and mead as well as kombucha.

Back in May, we tried Vanberg & DeWulf’s Lambrucha, a blend of Belgian lambics and kombucha. It was definitely a super briny, acidic, and megafunky brew. Draft calls out a couple other companies that are joining the fray, including Beyond Kombucha in Astoria, NY and Unity Vibration in Ypsilanti, MI. Goose Island Fleur and Jester King Buddha’s Brew are also made with kombucha.

It certainly seems like the trend is gaining traction and notoriety. What do you think? Have you tried any of these blends before? Do you think this trend has staying power?

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