Video: On The Town With Goose Island’s Fleur – Kombucha Beer!

Tom Korder, Brewing Operations Manager of Goose Island in Chicago, shares a laugh with Hannah Crum of Kombucha Kamp

Tom Korder is the Brewing Operations Manager at Goose Island.

Kombucha beer and Kombucha wine recipes have made the rounds among homebrewers forever, but only recently have commercial brewers considered the combination of Kombucha and beer, especially Belgian beers which share many of the same flavors and even yeasts as Kombucha, namely brettanomyces.

When I found out that my Sweet Home Chicago based Goose Island Brewery was one of the first to jump on the Kombucha beer trend with their hibiscus hinted offering Fleur, the perfect excuse to visit home had presented itself. Us Midwestern types are known for our hospitality, and the folks at Goose Island did us proud with a full private tour of their facility and Kombucha brewing operation.

Tom Korder, Brewery Operations Manager, brought me up to speed on beer brewing basics (delightfully similar to brewin’ up the booch) and clued me in on Goose Island’s plans for expansion. He’s excited because the craft beer movement has created room for innovation and creativity that didn’t exist before. I was pleased to learn that all of Goose Island’s offerings remain unpasteurized (though they don’t advertise that fact), providing more nutrients akin to the beers brewed in times of yore. So when you drink Fleur, you are also receiving health benefits from live Kombucha Tea.

John Laffler of Goose Island Brewery talks about Fleur, the Kombucha Beer

John Laffler is a Cicerone, the beer world equivalent of a Sommelier.

John Laffler, author of our great guest post this week, showed me the ropes of Goose Island’s Kombucha brewing operation. Starting out in a base of Oolong Tea, Hibiscus flowers are added lending fruity, floral notes; “Fleur” means flower in French, after all. The resulting tea is bright pink, staining the SCOBYs purple over time. Glucose is the sweetener of choice which produces a milder, less acetic (vinegary) ferment. Though the Kombucha is intended to balance the sweetness of the beer, using regular sugar could create a sourness that would over-power the more delicate flavors of the beer.

Enjoy the video!

I really enjoyed this smooth, floral quaff, especially after sipping for a few minutes (I admit I’m not the biggest beer drinker). Fleur has been well reviewed by Emma Christensen of The Kitchn and scores a B+ on BeerAdvocate.  The good news is that it is being rolled out to new markets including the East Coast – Boston & New York as well as coming out West to California. It is currently sold in a 22 oz size meant for sharing with friends. I’ve heard that 4 packs and kegs will be available this year as well.

To see if Goose Island beers are available where you live, plug your zip code into their Beer finder.

Have you had Fleur?

If not, do you like the idea of Kombucha mixed with beer?

Leave your comment below! :)

Hannah Crum, the Kombucha Mamma!Hannah Crum is The Kombucha Mamma, founder of Kombucha Kamp, Industry Journalist & Master Brewer, educating others about Kombucha since 2004. Connect with her on Google +
Kombucha Mamma SCOBYs & Kits ship free in the US!

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Continuous Brew mini-FAQ

How does it work?

By changing the starting ratio from…
1 Part KT:9 Parts Starter (orignial method)
to
3 Parts KT:1 PART Starter Liquid (CB method)
…the brewing cycle is dramatically reduced (just 1-2 days to complete).

Posted in: Continuous Brew mini-FAQ

What about the Sugar?

Your colony of bacteria and yeast will be hungry and will very quickly process the small amount of sugar into mature KT.

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I don’t want to take on more work.

Actually, CB results in less work.  One example: a more streamlined bottling experience, without the need to lift your brewing vessel, clean it every week or deal with the mess afterwards.

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I can customize the flavor?

Sure, just drain mature KT and add starter liquid to taste.  Or for bottles, flavor as desired – no funnel, no mess!

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It’s actually healthier?

So says Michael Roussin and experts worldwide.

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Will I have too much Kombucha?

Not at all.  Having it on tap will change your perspective.  Plus, you’ll find friends, family and neighbors eyeing your Kombucha set-up with envy and maybe even helping themselves to a fresh glass.

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Really? You’re telling me it’s fun?

Yes.  With a straight face.  It is.

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I’m nervous. Is it hard?

Don’t be nervous.  You have the experience of hundreds of homebrewers backing you up in the form of my detailed instructions and maintenance plan.  You will be guided along the way.  You will save time and effort.

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