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Four North Carolina Breweries Producing Kombucha
These breweries are tapping into the growing kombucha trend by offering the fermented tea alongside their traditional craft beers.
written by ETHAN BUTLER
Living healthier and trying new things are two common New Year’s resolutions, and several breweries across the state offer the opportunity to meet both goals at once.
Sour beer lovers will find familiar flavors in kombucha, an effervescent, tart, non-alcoholic drink made from fermented black and green tea.
For 2,000 years, people have drunk kombucha for its healing properties. “It’s low in sugar and caffeine, and offers clean natural energy packed with beneficial yeasts and bacteria,” says Carly Erickson, proprietor of Boro Beverage in Cary.
If you’re curious about kombucha, plan a visit to one of these four breweries that are tapping kombucha alongside their craft beers.
Charlotte’s Lenny Boy Brewing Company has been fermenting kombucha longer than they’ve been brewing beer. The South End brewery became the Southeast’s first certified organic kombucha brewery in January 2013. In September of the same year, Lenny Boy became licensed as a microbrewery — becoming the only certified organic brewery in North Carolina.
Today, the brewery offers seven kombuchas year-round, including Lost Rose, made with rose petal and lemongrass, and Lavenderade, made with lavender and lemon, as well as seasonal flavors, like sweet potato pie.
Lenny Boy’s kombuchas are sold by the bottle, crowler, growler, and keg in the brewery’s taproom, and in stores across North Carolina and along the East Coast.
3000 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28217
Apex’s Southern Peak Brewery creates small-batch kombuchas from local fruits and homegrown herbs. Past releases have included a pineapple-kiwi-mango-ginger flavor and a batch featuring North Carolina muscadines. Call ahead or visit the brewery’s Facebook page to check availability, as the kombuchas often sell out within days of each batch’s release.
For those interested in the science of kombucha brewing, Southern Peak is hosting two home brewing classes in January with in-house kombucha specialist Sarah Michalski.
950 Windy Road, Suite 100, Apex, NC 27502
Carly Erickson has been the manager of Steel String Brewery’s taproom since the brewery opened in Carrboro in 2011. Erickson is also the proprietor of Boro Beverage, a company producing kombucha, switchel, and shrubs. Steel String carries Boro Beverage’s kombuchas on draft or in growlers, including small-batch releases like Bloody Mary kombucha.
Recently, Erickson launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the conversion of a 1968 Shasta camper into a mobile unit to serve farmers markets, food truck rodeos, and more. Boro Beverage products can currently be found across the Triangle, including at Grey Squirrel Coffee Co. and Johnny’s Gone Fishing in Carboro and Guglhupf in Durham.
106 South Greensboro Street, Carrboro, NC 27510
If you’re not quite sold on kombucha, Cary’s Fortnight Brewing Company has something to help ease you into it: Lucid Dreamer, a “beer/kombucha hybrid.”
On the beer side of things, the drink is brewed with the malt and hops you’d expect. On the kombucha side, which is sourced from Cary-based kombucha company Tribucha, the drink includes organic tea and spices such as ginger, cayenne, and turmeric. The brewery describes the drink as “delectably sour with a warming sensation.” While kombucha normally contains only trace amounts of alcohol, Lucid Dreamer clocks in at 4.5 percent ABV.
Lucid Dreamer is currently on tap at the brewery, and will be available in cans soon.
1006 Southwest Maynard Road, Cary, NC 2751
This story was published on January 4, 2018
Ethan Butler is a freelance web developer based in Durham and a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism. Butler helped create Our State’s BEER NC and continues to update the app with new information regularly.
Sales Representative / Taproom Bartender
This is a full-time position available to the right candidate. Responsibilities include the sales and service of our brand from start to glass and include but are not limited to:
- Brewery’s brand awareness and sales in the Triangle area
- Effectively communicate brewery’s brand through sales calls, product sampling and promotional events
- Increase distribution sales in new and existing accounts
- Build strong relationships with key customers and buyers
- Represent the brewery at festivals and customer events
- 2 to 3 days of sales calls and pipeline management
- Plan and attend promotional events
- Attending events on and off-site, as needed
- Serving 2-3 shifts per week in the Southern Peak taproom
- Maintain a high level of customer service in a fast paced environment
Our ideal candidate:
- Has a passion for craft beer and a willingness and desire to learn
- Is a critical thinker and problem solver and is always proactively seeking ways to innovate and create continual improvements
- Makes positive contributions in a demanding production environment
- Has the ability to multitask and adjust to changing priorities while focusing on quality and safety
- Is ready, willing and able to work 40 hours a week while maintaining a flexible schedule, including evenings and weekends
- Has the ability to work independently and in a team based environment
- Is self-motivated and detail-oriented
- Has 2+ years experience in the brewing industry
- Will maintain a professional attitude at all times and while representing Southern Peak Brewery outside of the brewery
- Capable of standing on your feet for long periods of time
- Physically able to lift 50+ lbs
- May be exposed to temperature changes, wet or humid conditions and regularly required to stand, climb, stoop, kneel and crouch
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Time to rally our amazing community! Our brothers and sisters in Texas need our help. We have been saving a limited release of our Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrel Aged Casey Jones and can think of no better time than now to release it. We will be donating a portion from all of our beer sales on Friday to the American Red Cross for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Hungry Paws Mobile Dog Treats will be here at 6:30pm accepting donations of any kind for people and animals. Grab your furry friends and your neighbors and come out!
Southern Peak Brewery is hiring part-time bartenders for our taproom with growth potential into brewery operations, distribution and/or full time employment. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in making a positive impact on our growing brewery and team!
Our ideal candidate:
- 2+ years bartending experience
- 1-3 years experience working in a craft brewery
- Knowledge of and passion for craft beer
- Friendly and positive attitude in a high paced environment
- Able to work weekdays and weekends
- Ciceronce Certified Beer Server preferred
* Must be at least 21 years old to apply
If you don't fit into this mold but have great customer service skills, are eager to learn, and self-motivated with a "can-do" attitude please apply at email@example.com!
We released 100 bottles of our award winning, Midnight Conductor Baltic Porter at our fall festival. They sure went fast!
Join us from 1 - 8PM for the Southern Peak Fall Festival! There will be 2 new beer releases, 2 food trucks and live music!
Check our events page for additional details.
By Will Doran
It’s not by chance that so many of the up-and-coming breweries around the Triangle started with somebody brewing beer in a garage and deciding to take a stab at doing it professionally.
That may seem obvious. But what other professions have such a large base of people who start out doing it at home for free? Aspiring bankers don’t give loans to friends as practice.
It helps that homebrewing is a cheap hobby. It costs $100 to $200 to get all the equipment and ingredients you need to brew your first five-gallon batch, and a fraction of that for each subsequent batch you brew.
It’s a growing hobby, too. Atlantic Brew Supply in Raleigh recently gave away wort. The sugary liquid, a byproduct of grain, is a key ingredient. They had enough for about 100 people and ran out with plenty of homebrewers still in line.
And there are more and more showcases for homebrewers who love competition or want feedback before going pro. Opening a brewery isn’t cheap, but it’s at least cheaper than opening a golf course, winery or ski lodge, to name other hobbies people dream of doing professionally.
So for you dreamers out there, I talked to some people who are making names for themselves despite only recently transitioning from homebrewer to brewer.
Craft beer in North Carolina is competitive, with more than 170 breweries. If you’re going to join the fray, you need to know you’ll be good.
The only breweries that beat Southern Peak in the altbier and Baltic porter categories were longtime Portland, Ore., brewery Widmer Brothers Brewing and California phenom Ballast Point, which sold for $1 billion last year.
“I texted the other guys and was like, ‘Holy (smokes), what?’ ” Southern Peak co-owner Nathan Poissant said, of his reaction when he heard the results.
The brand-new brewery’s quality is less surprising when you learn Poissant has been homebrewing for more than a decade. But still. They brew their beer in small seven-barrel tanks, in a space tinier than the bar’s sitting area.
The fact that the small guys will always be able to compete with the biggest brewers is one of the coolest aspects of the beer business. Anyone can make a good beer.
That’s not to say that everyone makes a good beer, though. And there’s a reason, at least according to two newcomers.
“Brewing can be really scientific,” Poissant said. “People won’t just seek you out because you’re ‘craft’ anymore,” he added. “That doesn’t automatically mean you’re good. You have to prove quality and consistency.”
Whit Baker agrees. He’s a co-owner of Bond Brothers Beer Co. in Cary, which also opened this spring. Most beers, Baker said, “are 95 percent science, 5 percent art.”
Bond Brothers is another up-and-coming brewery that has been drawing big crowds despite having been open a few months.
Baker and the Bond twins were active in local homebrew circles long before their breweries opened. So it made sense that for months leading up to it, he and Jay and Jeremy Bond could be found at any event in Cary that would let them give out free beer to potential customers.
Baker is a former high school chemistry teacher who is about to start teaching brewing classes at Wake Technical Community College. He can talk your ear off about yeasts or phenols or bacteria, or more likely all of the above. “I like drinking beer, but I like brewing it more,” he said.
You have to really love brewing to open a brewery, though. Success means turning your attention to marketing, staffing, distribution and all manner of legal, logistical and bureaucratic hurdles.
Poissant said before Southern Peak opened, he spent 16 months dealing with everything but beer: “You’re thinking about permitting. You’re thinking about inspections. You’re thinking about electrical, plumbing, gas.”
And now, with those darn awards and the crowds, Southern Peak is short on supply and might soon have to cross one or two beers off the menu, at least for a few days. They weren’t expecting to be so busy so early.
Just one more problem, but at least its answer is brewing more beer.
Doran: 919-836-2858; Twitter: @will_doran
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/living/food-drink/flights-blog/article93227067.html#storylink=cpy