Instead of coming up with ways to reduce alcohol content in its popular fermented brew after the hubbub over elevated levels last year, Astoria-based Beyond Kombucha responded in an unexpected way: they added more.
The tiny company is now the only licensed kombucha brewery on the East Coast, and its Kombucha Ale, Mava Roka, debuted on tap this week at Queens Kickshaw, a popular new Astoria bar just blocks away from where master brewer Spiro Theofilatos tends his SCOBYs.
The Ale is 6.3 percent alcohol (as opposed to their regular kombucha, which is between 1 and 1.5 percent) and is selling for $7 for a 10-ounce glass.
While it’s only available at the Astoria spot for now, Beyond Kombucha plans to expand distribution to other bars and hopes to also get the bottled version into grocery stores and markets.
Which just may work because it tastes really good—reminiscent of a fruity hard cider, but with more body and flavor.
The downside? While you may think you’re getting a healthy dose of probiotics with your Kombucha Ale, Theofilatos says he’s pretty sure the healthy bacteria die off once the alcohol content rises above 3 percent. (There goes that justification!)
“I’ve made a point of not focusing on the health benefits as the reason people would choose to drink Beyond Kombucha,” he explains. “I’ve formulated a fermented tea beverage that, first and foremost, is delicious.”
Sigh. We knew there had to be a catch.
What do you think? Would you drink deliberately spiked kombucha?