Here at Allagash Brewing Company, we have a beer called Little Grove Peach + Kombucha. We make it by brewing both beer and kombucha, and then mixing the two together. How does that work? Read on!
First, a little kombucha primer. Kombucha is made from tea and sugar that is then fermented using yeast. That yeast is often referred to as a SCOBY, which stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeast. The scoby itself is a home for the bacteria and yeast that will ferment that sweetened tea. Fermentation creates all of Kombucha’s signature lightly tart, funky, and tasty flavors, in addition to carbonation and a small amount of alcohol.
The tea for our kombucha comes from Little Red Cup in Brunswick, ME. All Little Red Cup teas are actually organic and Fair Trade and are sourced from across China. The two we use come from Yunnan and Jiangxi provinces. Fun fact, we also used their Yunnan Black tea in a beer called Sun Drift, that was brewed with lemon peel and blended with black tea (it was really good)! For our kombucha, we use a blend of their Chun Me Green Tea and Yunnan Black Tea. We make 30-barrel batches (31 gallons per barrel) of kombucha at a time, using very, very large tea bags.
Little Grove Peach + Kombucha is fermented with a small portion of kombucha—around ~15% of the total volume. Since this blend is 85% beer, we don’t consider it a hard kombucha, but rather a low-ABV beer blended with kombucha. The idea for adding kombucha to our beer actually came from a pilot system suggestion—a brewing system where any person that works at Allagash can suggest a beer idea.
So how does the process of blending beer and kombucha actually work? Our brewers were kind enough to sketch out the steps of the process below.
How we blend kombucha and beer
1: First we brew the kombucha, which is able to ferment a fair amount of sugar we’ve added, but not all of it.
2: We add that kombucha to our fermenting beer, a light and refreshing saison-style ale. The remaining sugar in the kombucha is fermented by our beer’s yeast.
3: The result is a clean, dry blend of beer and kombucha that’s a shelf-stable: able to be stored warm or cold. To make sure the point is clear, there are no live, active probiotics in Little Grove Peach + Kombucha, and storage temperature won’t affect anything but the beer’s flavor.
We hope that helps to give you more info all about how Little Grove Peach + Kombucha comes to life. We hope that helps you gain a little more insight in the brewing process behind this one-of-a-kind beer blend.