When I hit a brewery taproom, I’m typically looking for three things: ample seating, a silky weiss beer with a long-lasting head, and... kombucha. That last one may come as a surprise to some brewery-goers; after all, I’m visiting a house of beer, not a Whole Foods. But I’m here to make an argument for kombucha as a taproom staple, regardless of the kind of beer your brewery is pouring up. Kombucha is light, refreshing, gut-friendly, and generally sober-friendly to boot. Hear ye, hear ye: We need more breweries with kombucha on tap.
Alcoholic kombucha is very cool, but when I ask for more kombucha in brewery taprooms, I’m generally referring to the non-alcoholic stuff. Of course, all kombucha contains a tiny hint of alcohol as a result of the natural fermentation process by which kombucha is produced. But kombucha is not designed to get you turnt. In fact, the average serving of kombucha contains less than 0.5% ABV—the same checkpoint for most non-alcoholic beers manufactured in the U.S.
Why does this matter? For one, non-drinkers (sober folks, pregnant folks, folks taking heavy-duty acne medication) deserve to enjoy delicious libations just as much as their boozing counterparts. It’s nice to have options beyond sodas and N/A beers.
Personally, the presence of kombucha makes me more likely to spend money at a brewery during the week. I’ll typically have a few drinks when the weekend rolls around, but I like to avoid alcohol during the week because it messes with my sleep. That said, I’m always looking for an after-work spot where I can write on my own time, and most of the coffee shops in my neighborhood close before five. (The one exception frequently hosts weeknight wizard trivia, which... no thank you.) If a brewery has kombucha on tap, I’m much more likely to stop by and spend my dollars on a weekday evening.
If you’re brewery-hopping, kombucha is a great way to take a break from all those hops. This is a good idea if you’d like to cleanse your palate, but it can also keep you from getting too terribly wild on a Saturday afternoon. It’s also full of gut-friendly bacteria, which is good news for those of us who get the Beer Grumblies. (If you know, you know.)
Brewers, hear me: Adding kombucha to your taproom lineup is a great way to collaborate with local booch brewers while making your taproom more enjoyable for all. Give the people the gut bacteria they deserve.