I’ve learned to expect the unexpected from certain breweries that don’t adhere to common rules of beer service. Chief among them is Oceanside Ale Works (1800 Ord Way, Oceanside), a company that’s played fast-and-loose for some time. Co-founder Mark Purciel has been offering beer blends — pints of two beers combined to create a style hybrid—almost since the OAW opened back in 2005. So much so that one of his favorite blends, Buccaneer Blonde and American Strong Ale, has its own name (Strong Blonde) and place on OAW’s core beer listing. But that seems tame by comparison to the latest blend being offered at this operation’s North County coastal tasting room — Beerbucha.
Two months ago, OAW started offering two varieties of GT’s Kombucha on draft through contractor, Kombucha On Tap (KOT). That fermented, nearly non-alcoholic beverage is becoming extremely popular as a healthful, refreshing drink. It’s popping up everywhere, but this is the only place where I have seen it combined with craft beer to form its own cocktail. Purciel and company are mixing GT’s Cosmic Cranberry Kombucha with its Pêche, a Lambic-style sour ale made with peaches, and its Orange Agave Wheat with GT’s Citrus-flavored Kombucha. The split is 50/50.
KOT says Societe Brewing Company in Kearny Mesa also has the en vogue beverage (which has actually been around for centuries) running through its lines, though at present, it’s there for the staff’s refreshment. According to KOT, kombucha as a segment has experienced 30% growth over the past year and is projected to be a $500 million industry in 2015. Could it become a draught staple in breweries and bars or, even less conceivably, as a craft beer mixer?