IMAGE VIA CLIFFHOUSE KOMBUCHA
If you haven’t tried kombucha, you’ve probably at least heard the word. Maybe the “fermented tea” descriptor isn’t the most appealing. Maybe the thought of a SCOBY freaks you out. We get that. But take a look at the potential health benefits and try a taste — see if you change your mind.
And with this living drink, you take care of your body and your mind, and Boulder has got your fix. Now give that gut some love with a bottle of local ‘booch!
Boulder born and bred, Rowdy Mermaid kombucha is made simply from organic tea, Colorado snowmelt, Ayurveda-inspired organic herbs, and organic cold-pressed fruit juice. It’s low in sugar but not in flavor. We know you’re wondering about the name. Founder Jamba Dunn was watching his young daughter splash around pretending to be a mermaid in a mountain hot spring while in the beginning stages of developing the business. The name popped in his head and stuck. It’s non-GMO, certified organic, and produced with 100% wind energy.
TRY IT: Rowdy Belly, with fresh turmeric, ginger, fennel, and coriander; Living Ginger, with ginger, chaga mushroom, Tasmanian pepperberry, and Himalayan salt.
FIND IT: Select Alfalfa’s, Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, and tons of other restaurants and shops around the Front Range; fill growlers at the tasting room at the Rayback Collective.
Happy Leaf started brewing in Denver on a small scale in 2013. You know, before kombucha was cool. They’ve had crazy growth and have since expanded flavors and distribution. They’ve also moved their taproom to Edgewater, where you can fill growlers, or get a tasting flight and some legit food. Follow them on Twitter to find out where they’re hanging out (like which farmers markets they’re attending) and what flavors they currently have on tap.
TRY IT: Happy Leaf has experimented with over 150 flavors; some favorite staples are Hibiscus Lemon Ginger, and a sweeter option, Cranberry Lavender.
FIND IT: In cans(!) at select Whole Foods, Alfalfa’s, and tons of other restaurants, bars, farmers markets, and gyms around the Front Range.
You may know High Country kombucha as the one with the amber bottles. It isn’t just for looks (although they are kinda pretty), the amber bottles actually protect the contents from harmful UV light. As the name suggests, High Country is brewed high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains with only pure spring water. Bonus: Through years of brewing, High Country has mastered the art of keeping its sugar content at a low level while maintaining an awesome brew.
TRY IT: Blueberry Ginger, with organic blueberry juice, fresh-pressed ginger root, reishi mushroom extract, lemon juice, and a huge list of organic herbs; Elderberry Citrus, with elderberry, hibiscus, orange peel, chamomile, and vanilla bean.
FIND IT: Select Natural Grocers and Whole Foods stores.
Owned by two families in Castle Rock, Trubucha is everything you want from kombucha: made with organic fruits, flowers, and essential oils; brewed in only glass and stainless steel; and not pasteurized (when kombucha is pasteurized, it is heat-treated and can lose its probiotic content). They also compost all waste from the brewing process — so green, so cool. Trubucha is serious about making its customers happy, too; shoot them an email in advance and they will arrange to have your favorite flavor ready for pick up at any upcoming farmers market.
TRY IT: You can’t go wrong, but try Mango or Citra Hops for a unique flavor.
FIND IT: Not available in bottles, but on draft at several farmers markets and restaurants around the Front Range.
Upstart takes pride in its small batch brewing with only four simple and delicious flavors. All ingredients are high-quality, organic, and are steeped together (rather than adding flavor at the end of the brewing process). Upstart attributes this method to its uniquely robust flavor. And speaking of flavor…
TRY IT: Rose Bud, with roses and white tea, has a light citrusy taste; Berry Black is a smooth and rich blend of three berries and three teas.
FIND IT: Select Alfalfa’s, Natural Grocers, and Safeway stores, as well as several restaurants and coffee shops throughout the Rocky Mountain region. They also have a taproom in Boulder, just east of Valmont Bike Park at 3095 Sterling Circle.
Let’s talk about being really local. Cliffhouse is made in small batches and bottled by hand in Jamestown. What’s more, all tea and sugar are organic and fair trade. What does fair trade really mean, you ask? It means that the farmers receive a fair price for their crops plus an additional premium payment to benefit their communities. Pretty cool stuff.
TRY IT: Orange Raspberry, with organic orange peel and organic raspberry blossoms.
FIND IT: Select Alfalfa’s, Natural Grocers, and Whole Foods stores, as well as several restaurants and coffee shops along the Front Range.
A hobby gone awry — that’s Mortal Kombucha. With fun flavors like the margarita-inspired Marg Simpson and the spicy-sweet Napalm-egranate (pomegranate and cayenne), you’re sure to find something that’ll mix up your kombucha game. Why the name Mortal? Because it’s alive. Duh.
TRY IT: Test out a sample of flavors with a combo pack like the Achoo Eliminator or Vroom Time.
FIND IT: Find it in stores, restaurants, and coffee shops or have it delivered locally for FREE through online order.
Okay, it’s not exactly a dedicated booch brewer. But Arcana bartender Gabe Oliver-Kose does ferment his own booch for the restaurant. Even better? They feature it in the favorite brunch cocktail, Gabe’s Brunch Booch. Gabe also makes a fermented ginger beer, Oliko, that is just perfect for mixing. Boozy booch? Yes, please!
TRY IT: Booch flavors rotate, but Gabe’s Brunch Booch is on the weekend brunch menu at Arcana.
FIND IT: Arcana’s booch can be found at their restaurant on Walnut. Oliko can be found at a growing list of retailers and restaurants around Denver and Boulder.
**Updated by Hillary Bennetts, October 2018