When we travel, we like to seek out and support food and drink companies dedicated to producing a quality local product. By using natural local ingredients, the end result is unique and a truly regional food; there are always positive ripples through the local economy, too, as the contributing suppliers share in the product's success.
Urban Farm Fermentory brews hard cider made with Maine apples which are fermented with wild yeasts, mead made with local honey, and a variety of kombuchas flavored with seasonal local ingredients including Maine blueberries and foraged edibles such as red clover flowers and nettles.
|SCOBY or mother.|
Kombucha is a probiotic fermented tea. Sweetened tea is fermented using a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and a few ounces of previously made kombucha. It can be flavored with the addition of fruit, herbs or other plants, allowed to steep, then strained.
The kombucha found in supermarkets has very low alcohol content to allow it to be sold as a non-alcoholic beverage. Urban Farm Fermentory is one of only three breweries in the country making kombucha in the traditional method with a liquor license. The resulting tea is 1.5% proof, high enough to prevent my eighteen year old daughter from ordering a sample tray in the tasting room. Sorry Honey, house rules.
We tried several of their brews on tap: Mead, Cider, Red Clover, and Ginger Kombuchas, plus Blueberry, and Mint Nettle Kombuchas. We enjoyed the Tasting Room and came home with a bottle of Mead, Hard Cider, Blueberry Kombucha and Red Clover Kombucha, plus a bottle of Mint Nettle Kombucha for Oyster Girl. We also got a bottle of Chaga Chai Kombucha which is one of the flavors sold at retail outlets. The flavors we bought on tap included a bottle fee. If ever we are back in Portland we can get refills of any brew on tap for a much smaller charge.
Urban Farm Fermentory is part of a brewery cluster in Portland where several breweries are located in close proximity and share resources. According to the UFF website, this is part of their mission to have a positive impact on the city and the local economy, as is their commitment to education through teaching classes at their facility.
Kombucha is easy to make at home. If you are interested in creating your own kombucha masterpieces, read this article by one of the leading voices in wild fermentation, Sandor Ellix Katz. He discusses the health benefits of the drink plus shares a recipe and provides trouble shooting tips.
Now I'm off to enjoy a glass of kombucha on the front porch.