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the best thing about us is the people we know.

Road Test || Kombuchas of the American South

lily with buchi kombucha, the general Oh, man… We have so much kombucha to talk about.

No sooner did I return from Maui last month, than I packed right up again and made for the road. A few of those stories are extant…the rest will be forthcoming.

But I've been faithfully keeping a log of new kombucha discoveries, as you may always depend on me to do, and am so very pleased to share them with you now:

Kombu-Tea (made in Columbus, Oh.)

Jamie + me, yellow springs, ohio 

I went to Tom's Market in Yellow Springs hoping to find Luna, the thrill I discovered last summer at Park + Vine in Cincinnati. Instead, I found a strange new love. (Which seems a theme for my summers, these last few years…but I digress.)

This one has the peculiar foggy taste of homebrew--not overly boozy, a little watery, not very refined in terms of flavor, but with a certain rarity at the back of the tongue that lets you know it means businesss.

It tastes like something your college friend's mom brews in her basement. Which is a good thing, mainly. The only quibble I have is that the coconut-flavored one that got Jamie so excited didn't taste a damn bit like coconut. Still, with all the shitty kombucha pretenders out there, it's hard to find much fault with one whose only problem is semantics.

Capital Kombucha (made in Washington, DC)

Capitol Kombucha, annapolis, maryland

I confess that I didn't expect much from a DC-based kombucha. Sorry for stereotyping, but come on…how much fermented probiotic quality can you expect from the seat of the FDA? And with flavors like watermelon and mint-lime, I assumed it was yet another case of exotic window-dressing meant to mask the lack of actual quality.

All I can say is that I was wrong, and I'm sorry. Capital folks, you're a credit to your city and your nation. Let's be friends?

Holy Kombucha (made in Fort Worth, Tx.)

Holy kombucha, fort worth, texas

Reckon this makes me an agnostic.

Kickin' Kombucha (made in Houston, Tx.)

Kickin kombucha, houston, texas

It tastes like juice with a very slight fizz. Your children will love it.

Kosmic Kombucha (made in Austin, Tx.)

Kosmic kombucha, austin, texas

I freely admit that this infatuation I'm about to confess to may be mainly the result of marketing. But did you see this? A kombucha named after "A Clockwork Orange?" With rice milk added? That tastes like a goddamn creamsicle? Do these folks know no limits? There's one called the Salty Dog made with grapefruit juice and sea salt…a flavor called Ginger and Mary-Ann brewed with maple syrup… Even if there aren't any probiotics, this thing will get your mind racing and your endorphins pumping with creativity.

And now, for something only slightly different...

I thought JuiceLand was a chain, and was skeptical when Freya sent me there to get breakfast for our interview. I was wrong, so wrong. This place has the goods.

Bearded brothers, juiceland, austin, texas


Now, we got off to a rocky start, JuiceLand and me, when I ordered their on-tap local kombucha--labeled Wunder-Pilz in typography to thrill any heart--had been 86'd. Hélas!

But my Phédrian malaise was lifted by a chai latte made with coconut oil and ground hempseeds, smoothies spiked with Himalayan salt and superfoods, and also these local versions of my very most favorite snack.

...whose makers, it turns out, my friend Freya knows personally. (She pointed out each of their cartoon beard silhouettes by name.) Do I need to say again that the best thing about us is the people we know? Bearded Bros., you are mine.

A kombucha toast, just outside New Orleans, louisiana