Thomas J. Story

Combine that signature fermented fizz with a beer-like ABV, and you’ve got a drink to delight modern yogis—and an insanely healthy gut

Sunset  – April 8, 2019

Kombucha is mainstream enough now that big-guy grocers carry them en masse and even Starbucks and Coca-Cola have their own labels. Hard kombucha? A little trickier to find. Like its nonalcoholic predecessor, hard kombucha has that signature fizz from natural fermentation. But while the traditional yogi’s drink of choice contains less than 0.5 percent ABV, the boozy variety has an ABV similar to a craft beer—about 4.5 to 7 percent. You’ll find the 21+ drink popping up at health-foods markets, local kombucha breweries, and occasionally even on tap at a bar. Is it good enough to be your new day-drinking brew of choice? We sipped (and sipped, and sipped) to find out.

1. Honeymoon Brewery Camellia FlorSanta Fe, NM

“This is a good starter for people who are new to the hard kombucha world. It’s sweet and floral—shout-out to hibiscus—with a light pink hue.” —Jessica Mordo, associate digital director

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2. Boochcraft Apple + Lime + JasmineSan Diego, CA

“This is my new party trick when tasked with bringing drinks. The 7 percent ABV and massive bottle size make it good for sharing, and the apple base reminds me of cider but with a hint of lime.” —Kendra Poppy, audience growth editor

3. Flying Embers Lemon OrchardVentura, CA

“I’m not ashamed to say I choose my drinks based on how pretty the packaging is because it leads me to great finds like this refreshing, lemony drink.” —Kelsey Maloney, editorial assistant

4. KYLA Hard Kombucha Pink GrapefruitHood River, OR

“Just the right amount of grapefruit. I can taste the tangy citrus but it doesn’t punch you in the face.” —Mike Irvine, garden writer

5. JuneShine Midnight PainkillerSan Diego, CA

“I wasn’t sure how to feel about the activated charcoal in here, but it’s surprisingly spot-on with the pineapple and coconut. I’m envious of my San Diego friends who get to visit the JuneShine tasting room whenever they want.” —Maya Wong, assistant editor