Fermented Fabulousness

By: Karen Dybis | February 17, 2020

Photo Courtesy of Detroit Kombucha.

It’s lightly effervescent. It may be slightly alcoholic in some iterations. It’s always fermented. By and large, kombucha or “booch” to its loyalists offers a powerful boost to people’s everyday diet and may even provide health benefits to boot. 

For those who focus on the healthy side of this tangy drink, kombucha provides good stuff such as probiotics, which may help with digestion and heartburn. 

Kombucha typically starts as a kind of sweet tea, which is then fermented with the help of what’s known as a SCOBY. That stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast – in other words, sort of that kind of stuff that makes vinegar. Your SCOBY snacks on the sugar, turning the tea into something full of bubbly lightness yet still sporting a refreshing bite. 

So how does it taste? A little sour. Oddly fizzy but in a soda or pop kind of way. Depending on how you made it or who is brewing it, there may be a teeny, tiny bit of alcohol in it based on the fermentation process. Unless you’re sensitive to it, you may not even notice it. But it’s there in most cases and you can amp that up if you so wish. 

Here are some places around Metro Detroit that offer their own take on kombucha with a Michigan spin.

Detroit Kombucha

This boutique draft kombucha is fun at pop-up locations or anywhere else you can buy it at retail stores around the area. Its focus is on low-sugar and non-alcoholic varieties of kombucha, freshly made and distributed to its partners and events such as Detroit Soup. Some of its most popular flavors include Mango, Ginger and Hibiscus. 

Neu Kombucha

This Farmington-based distributor started small with about 50 bottles a week – now, it has surpassed 1,000+ bottles, gut shots and kegs around Metro Detroit locations. Neu Kombucha is raw and unpasteurized, something that is important to know if you’re allergic or pregnant. It has great unique flavors such as Super Berry, Tart Cherry Ginseng and Pineapple Ginger.

Urbanrest Brewing

This Ferndale favorite is in love with fermentation – and that led its brilliant brewers directly to kombucha. Urbanrest brews and serves beer, cider, mead and wine along with its signature kombucha. Its flavors also rotate regularly, but some recent treats include Straight Up Booch, which is made with House Organic Black Tea, POCB Booch, which has pineapple, orange, carrot and beet flavors and Apple Thieves, which has apple juice and Thieves Oil included. 

Unity Vibration Kombucha

When it comes to Kombucha, it makes sense that a college town like Ypsilanti would have a lock on some great brews. Unity Vibration started brewing booch in 2009 as a tea but it also has made a name for itself for creating “hard” or alcoholic kombucha since 2011. It also has some fun flavor combinations, including Mint Pear and Grapefruit Sage for the teas and Tart Raspberry for the kombucha beer. You can try it at its Ypsi tap room or at a Metro Detroit distributor, such as the Wine Palace in Livonia. 

Eli Tea Bar

This Birmingham location has three kinds of Detroit Kombucha on tap most of the time, and the flavors change regularly. You can drink it there or bring that same bottle back for refilling at a discount. Each keg of kombucha at Eli Tea is fermented with organic Assam black tea and then flavored during its second go around with flowers, spices and the like.