Consider Pairing Small-Batch Kombucha With Your Holiday Meals
Kombucha is tea at its most alive, and there's a new wave of microbreweries using fermentation to unlock a kaleidoscope of flavor, balancing delicate osmanthus oolong or toasty genmaicha with kombucha's telltale funk. The result? A highly sippable offering that's somewhere between a dry Basque cider and a juicy skin-contact wine, but with just the merest trace of residual alcohol (around .5%). Served in cans or in large-format bottles, these celebratory brews are perfect for your Thanksgiving gathering or as a probiotic-heavy recovery drink for the day after. Here are some of our favorite brewers.
This family-run microbrewery conjures dynamic flavors using single-origin tea sourced mostly from Portland, Oregon–based Tao of Tea, as well as herbs like damiana and yaupon. Yesfolk's oak-barrel fermentation rounds out kombucha's typical acidity. Peachy roasted oolong is trans- formed into a creamy elixir with notes of rich cacao and tangy tamarind skin. $32 for 4 at yesfolktonics.com
Tortuga sources from shops like Wight Tea Co. and Sparrowtail Teas to create memorable fermented interpretations of toasty genmaicha and lychee noir, a black tea fermented with lychee essence that yields a perfumed tropical flavor. The goal is simple: to celebrate kombucha's versatility at the dinner table, like cider or wine. $84 for 3 at tortugakombucha.com
Founder Joshua McLeod starts with sencha or genmaicha from Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms before layering in ingredients that often channel boozier energies: Rozu, with dried rose and hibiscus, drinks like a highly crushable Gamay, and tart Kalamansi (a nod to his Filipino heritage) enlists juniper berries and cardamom for a play on a citrusy gin and tonic. $36 for 2 at drinkheirloom.com
At first glance, Unified Ferments' kombucha masquerades as wine. Their surprising takes on tea stem from cofounder Graham Pirtle's background developing the cocktail program at 29B Teahouse in New York City. A sip of their Jasmine Green Jun begins with classic floral flavor before unfolding into notes of nutty Parmesan and bright eucalyptus. $35 for 2 at unifiedferments.com