American Craft Beer Dives Into Hard Kombucha

, American Craft Beer Dives Into Hard Kombucha

(Courtesy Sierra Nevada)

A couple of weeks ago a PR rep who works with Sierra Nevada Brewing reached out to us to see if we’d like take part a virtual tasting event promoting the brewery’s expanding Strainge Beast Hard Kombucha line…and we took a hard pass.

We explained that we primarily cover beer, avoid ciders and have only a passing distain for hard seltzers. On top of that we’d never ever tried kombucha to begin with, so what would we know anyway?

But she was persuasive (the best PR reps always are) and we signed on with no coverage promises, yet here we are.

So what is Kombucha?

Kombucha is an ancient beverage that was originally consumed in China more than 2,200 years ago for its detoxifying and energizing properties. From there it spread to Russia and in the early 20th century it became all the rage in Europe. And it has established itself in the US as well, thanks to its reputation as a health and energy drink.

, American Craft Beer Dives Into Hard KombuchaThe basic ingredients in kombucha are yeast, sugar, and black or green tea which are mixed and set aside for a week or more. Over that resting period the sugar ferments leading to small amounts alcohol and healthful bacteria.

So yes, traditional Kombucha is a fermented tea mix, but as with most non-alcoholic beers today the alcohol level is negligible…you don’t get buzzed.

Sierra Nevada’s new Strainge Beast Hard Kombucha line is an entirely different matter.

And given that this ancient drink is rooted in the art and science of fermentation, it was only a matter of time that a major brewery (Sierra Nevada is the third biggest craft brewery in the nation) got serious about it.

“I have always been fascinated by the alchemy of fermentation,” said Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman, who has long been a hobby kombucha brewer himself. “It can transform high-quality ingredients into something magical.”

First introduced in 2020, Sierra Nevada is expanding the rollout of its Strainge Beast Hard Kombucha line, unveiling three new unique flavors, all them crafted with organic ingredients and a proprietary SCOBY culture discovered with Oregon State University.

  • Watermelon, Sea Salt, Lime & Mint (4.0% ABV, 100 calories) Think summertime, the beach or the pool.
  • Raspberry, Golden Kiwi & Elderflower (4.0% ABV, 100 calories) combines a complex aroma of berries, blossoms and kiwi fruit with the tangy sweet flavor of raspberries.
  • Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Cucumber (7.0% ABV, 180 calories) mixes the crisp coolness of a cucumber with the refreshing tartness of pomegranate and grapefruit.

, American Craft Beer Dives Into Hard KombuchaThese new flavors join three original “strainge” siblings: Ginger, Lemon & Hibiscus; Blueberry, Acai & Sweet Basil; and Passion Fruit, Hops & Blood Orange.

As part of their expanded release, Sierra Nevada is also kicking off the Masters of Strainge Series, virtual masterclasses in unconventional and unique arts. These video classes will tap into “wild” topics including Venus Flytrap gardening.

And Sierra Nevada is serious about this program too.

As part of our virtual hard kombucha tasting Sierra Nevada also sent us five living Venus flytraps from California Carnivores and its experts schooled us into how to successfully plant and nurture them.

So yeah, now we’ve Stainge Beast Hard Kombucha in the American Craft Beer fridge and live Venus Flytraps in the office lobby.

Stainge world…right?

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