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Road Tested || Kombucha Dog

Kombucha Dog, California Just when I thought there were no new worlds to conquer...

You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Sorry, I really did have to start with that...I promise it's relevant...are you still here? The old dog is me, and the new trick I'm having trouble adjusting to is finding the really worthwhile kombucha in the beer section of the natural foods shop.

I consistently forget to look there. Or maybe it's not so much that I forget, as that some stubborn instinct within me resents the changes leveled in the wake of irresponsible Hollywoodettes just won't let me adjust.

Today, the forgetfulness almost ended in my taking home Kombucha LIVE, that stevia-flavored shit from Austin, Tx. (Don't judge me--it was on sale, and at the end of the day, it's probably no weaker than anything else in that all-ages section of the store.)

But then I remembered something that took me past the alcohol section and there, behind the sample guy, underneath the bottles of Chimay, were the real goods.

Kombucha Dog, Santa Monica, CaliforniaTHIS^

Kombucha Dog is made...where else?...in Los Angeles by Michael Faye, a former National Geographic photographer and avowed contemptor of the Lohan effect on kombucha integrity. I'm for serious, guys--it's on his "About" page! But the redoubtable Mr. Faye, rather than let his indignation fester into self-sabotage, seized the opportunity to start his own kombucha company that not only restores the quality requisite to devotees of his ilk, but also promotes his other great love: dog rescues.

Dude...every bottle label features a different homeless dog being held at various shelters around Los Angeles. Each new batch features a new array of labels gets made. If you buy a bottle and fall in love with the dog, you find them on the Kombucha Dog website, click their photo, and find out how to adopt them.

The gimmick alone would buy my vote, unless the stuff in the bottle was terrible.

But it's not.

Kombucha Dog, Los Angeles, California

The principal strength of this kombucha is, in fact, its strength. When I went to take my first sip, the vapors wafting up my nose made me cough. Good sign, if you need to be told. It's mildly sour and beery, honey-colored and sort of clover-y in its taste.

The wild blueberry flavor is...well, fruity...but not so much as to disguise the funk. (For those who like numbers, it's 98% kombucha and a mere 2% fruit.)

The ginger was properly eye-watering. [slow clap]

But the flavor that really swept me off my feet with the Kombucha Dog thing was... wait for it ... mint.

To date, I have never encountered a mint-infused kombucha that tasted like anything better than toothpaste. This one has just a little overtone of spearmint that propelled the fuggy, beery taste forward. Best of all, it gave me, even on a full stomach, that singular, uplifting buzz that only the very best kombucha provides.

Up to now, I've only had it from people's home brew...this is the first time a storebought kombucha has made the blood fizz in my veins, floated my head up over my collarbone like a Macy's Parade balloon, and given me an instant "eye of the tiger" feeling about starting my day. I might have to marry this guy.

Kombucha Dog, Los Angeles, California

Kombucha Dog can be found in health food stores and cafes up and down the coast between Los Angeles and San Diego. I bought mine at Jimbo's Naturally in Carlsbad, Ca.

Learn more here.