What IS Kombucha or, more importantly, you might ask yourself … why? That’s the question I set out to answer when I was invited by the good people at Rowdy Mermaid to stop on in for a taste. I’m always up for a culinary adventure but I have to admit that on the way over I was a bit skeptical. I had never really had a full serving of Kombucha before and my only recollection of this strange brew was taking a few swigs offered by my girlfriends who were so into it that they seemed (at least to me) to be in some sort of “Kombucha craze.” Hmmm, not exactly impressed – out of the bottle it tasted kind of weird and wild, not necessarily in a good way. But all of that is destined to change.
As you arrive at Rowdy Mermaid, you’re greeted by a cheerful open, indoor/outdoor space that is cleverly homey with a craft-brewery type of feel. The bar is cozy and sits just in front of the brewing area so you can look beyond and see the tanks where next week’s brews are fermenting. To the right, and up one step, is a small table accented by a cheerful painting on the wall and a crafty red chandelier-of-sorts, which then opens up via a garage door to the outdoor area and a really nice hang-out spot. There’s also a small sofa behind the bar to sit and chat with friends. It’s inviting.
- From left to right, I started with Autumn haze – it was light and bright with hints of apple and a yellowish gold color.
- Then, the Deep Forest – also hints of apple but rounder, with butterscotch tones.
- Third was the Savory Peach – an ever so slightly smoky version of the previous two replacing the hint of apple with peach, of course. At this point, I am generally enjoying the slightly effervescent, chilled beverage that is Kombucha. That’s a great step forward but I wasn’t sure that the differences between the first three really warranted all these different versions on tap.
- But then, I tried the Rowdy Belly and it just about knocked me upside the head with an indescribable but undeniably excellent punch of flavor.
- I also enjoyed the Smoky Badger – flavored with cinnamon, hibiscus and chipotle with hints of peach and a small hint of spice from the chipotle that snuck up at the end but was perfectly balanced.
- Finally, the Strawberry Hibiscus punched with flavor – very pink, very strawberry and absolutely refreshing.