I decided to begin the New Year with a trip to Urbanrest Brewing Company in Ferndale. The trip wasn’t for their always pleasing and delicious beers, but for their Kombucha or Booch as they refer to it because I am participating in Dry January.

Prior to this trip, I had never tried Kombucha. Honestly, if I have ever seen it as an option at a brewery, I would overlook it and go straight to their beer choices.

I asked the friendly bartender what exactly Kombucha it. She told me that it is fermented tea. She informed me that yeast and sugar are added to black or green tea, which then ferments for a week or more at room temperature. During this process, bacteria and yeast form a blob known as the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), which transforms the tea to Kombucha. The bacteria that has grown in the process has a probiotic function that can provide your gut with healthy bacteria to aid in digestion, inflammation, and even weight loss. During a second fermentation, the Booch can be introduced to fruits, spices, extracts, and oils for different flavors. This refermentation can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks depending on the amount of flavor that is desired.

I loved the quick lesson and ordered a flight of the three Kombucha choices that Urbanrest had on draft.

My favorite was their Strawberry Kombucha. It is brewed from black tea with the kombucha then refermented on organic strawberries. It has a huge strawberry nose like opening a jar of homemade strawberry jam. The flavor was a very pleasing, but not fake, strawberry taste. Pureeing the strawberries and adding them to the second fermentation ensures that more of the surface area of the Booch is in contact with the berries. This accounts for the strong strawberry flavor. It is allowed to ferment for several more days and then is strained and refrigerated. It was very refreshing.

Also in the flight was their Apple Thieves Oil. The bartender said it was her favorite. It is Kombucha conditioned with apple juice and Thieves Oil. Thieves Oil is a blend of several other essential oils: cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, and rosemary. The potential benefits of its use are boosting the immune system and fighting infections. I found it very easy drinking and a lot like a hard cider with no fizz.

Last up was the Cherry Kombucha. It is made from tea, organic sugar, and is refermeted on organic cherries. It had a nice, mild cherry flavor which made it easy to drink and enjoyable.

My verdict is that Kombucha is a great non-alcoholic option. I can see its place alongside beer as it offers a craft beverage to drinkers who want to avoid alcohol. All three of Urbanrest’s Booch choices cam in at 0.5% alcohol, which is considered alcohol free.

So, if you are partaking in Dry January but still want to enjoy a craft beverage, the three Booch choices at Urbanrest will certainly satisfy your needs. Be sure to check them out for yourself.

Urbanrest is located at 2615 Wolcott Street in Ferndale, MI. They are open Monday through Wednesday 4pm to 10pm, Thursday 4pm to 11pm, Friday 4pm to midnight, Saturday noon to midnight, and Sunday noon to 9pm.



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