of the Lazy Literatus

Tag: kombucha

A Pre-Super Bowl Kombucha Beer?


Alright, I’ll make this quick. Most of you have a sports event to go to. At least, most of you in the States, anyway. Why am I posting a blog on Super Bowl  Sunday? Well, this story sort of ties into it – a tea(ish) one.

I have this friend – we’ll call him…uh…ah, hell with it, his name is Jeremy. Anyway, Jeremy and his wife throw Super Bowl parties every year. They are quite well-renowned for their nachos. Oh lord, the nachos.

epic nacho

Moving on.

This year, I didn’t think I would be able to attend because of my work schedule. The best I could hope for was getting off early. That was the case last year, and maybe such a miracle would occur this time as well.

On Friday, my boss pulled me aside to show me the new schedule, and said, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t get you two days off in a row this week.”

I took a deep breath and looked. My eyes widened.

“You gave me Sunday off?!” I practically yelled. “Sweet! There’s someplace I have to be.”

I relayed the good news to Jeremy, he texted back with the address (since I never seem to remember where he lives).

I asked if he wanted me to bring anything.

He said, “The brew of your choosing would suffice.”

Mission in hand, I hit one of my nearby specialty beer haunts – Birra Deli – to do some hunting. Jeremy had a preference for ciders and red ales. Finding the right ones would be a chore, though. That and I was a horrible judge of cider quality. If it tasted anything like apple and not – well – ass, I generally liked it.

Birra Deli

Image mooched from Birra Deli’s Facebook page.

My search, though, was sidelined when I looked at the beers on top. Topping the list was something that made my eyes glaze over. Four words: “Kombucha Mama Apple Sass”. Eureka! A teabeer! I thought. As some of you well know, I’m sort of an amateur expert on the subject.

I ordered one, took a sip, and was greeted by something that tasted like a hard apple cider only more syrupy and…well…fermented. It almost reminded me of an apple ale I tried months ago, only sweeter. Like someone had taken several Red Deliciouses and plopped them in a boiling keg. I sipped lovingly as I continued my search.

Six beers bought, and a pint swigged, I left there with only the slightest hint of a buzz. I wondered how much alcohol that supposed kombucha ale had. Well…

Kombucha Beer

I arrived home, stuck the six-pack in the fridge, and went online to check out Kombucha Mama’s website. What I had drunk was just…regular kombucha. No alcohol in it. At all. Well, save for the .01% ABV caused by the fermentation. But why did it taste different from other kombuchas I’d tried? And what the hell was it doing in a bar?!

Turns out the way Kombucha Mama did their “tea” was slightly different. That and they marketed to bars as part of their business model. Not sure what alchemic process they administered, but their kombucha had more in common with mulled cider than the cold-brewed tea-‘n-bacteria cocktails I was associated with. Sure, the main process was the same, but there was something they did that shook it up a little. Most kombuchas have a hint of vinegar to them; the Apple Sass did not.

I had normal kombucha, and my brain had thought I was actually buzzed on beer.

Scumbag Brain

Nay, I was tea-drunk. Sometimes it’s hard to tell, but no brain cells died in the process. Just pride.

I amended a tweet I’d made about the supposed kombucha beer.

I received a reply that went like this:


An image of sixty Scoby mothers coalescing into one being and doing this came to mind.

Hello, my honey!

I’ll take my imaginary beer buzz, thanks.

“Thé”-ater: Tea Time at the Movies

My mother is an idea gal – always has been. The part that’s most frustrating – especially for me, the eldest of her brood – is that she is right 90% of the time. I think she missed her calling as the head of a newspaper, the magnate of an advertising agency or the moderator for a think tank. Her braingems should be bottled and sold on the black market for six figures. I say this because…well…she’s the reason this entry exists.

One phrase from her, just one phrase: “You should do movie reviews with tea.”

At first I scoffed at the idea, but then I tossed it around in my head (over a cup of tea). I thought back to the last few summer movies I’d seen, mulled over my opinions but also what teas I felt like drinking after them. Surprisingly, finding matches didn’t take that long.

Here are my thoughts:



I was not excited for this movie at all when I first saw the trailer. It resembled Flash Gordon by way of Iron Man – cheesy but visceral. The choice for director also made my brow furrow. What did Kenneth Branagh know about directing a comic book movie?! Granted, he could easily pull off “EPIC!” if he had, too…but a Space Viking movie? Secondly, it was Thor. I don’t know anyone that cares about the wing-helmeted thunder god.

What gave me some measure of hope was the writer who penned the script. I was already a fan of J. Michael Straczynski from his five-year magnum opus, Babylon 5. He also had extensive experience as a comic book writer. If anyone could make the foundation translate to cinema, he could. And, boy, did he.

The combination of tongue-in-cheek, fish-outta-water, and Shakespearean posturing made this one of the most entertaining trips to the multiplex in some time. Marvel really knows how to dial up the “FUN” factor for an intro to summer. In hindsight, nothing much appeared to happen, but I look back on it fondly.

Tea Match: “Golden-Tipped Assam”

Assams tend to be thick, malty teas usually used as the base for wake-up breakfast blends. Tippier Assams – I’ve found – possess a honey-like texture to them, similar to a Golden Yunnan. That smooth sweetness along with the burly malt bite are a good compliment to a movie featuring a golden-haired, muscle-bound god with a ridiculously large hammer.


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

The first Pirates of the Caribbean did the impossible; it was a well-crafted and witty movie inspired by a theme-park ride and single-handedly brought back the swashbuckler. To that, I say, “Bravo.” Unfortunately, that movie had siblings. Snot-nosed, whiny, fat, bloated siblings. The two follow-ups were a complete and utter mess. They were well executed, special effects were top-notch, but the story (or what passed for one) was pure seagull splatter. I was not looking forward to a fourth outing.

On a whim, I caught a late showing of On Stranger Tides and found myself…not hating it. Oh, it was still as drivel-ish as her two predecessors, it looked cheaper than it was, and making Cap’n Jack Sparrow a protagonist was a horrible idea, but it at least tried to match the medium scale and old-school feel of the first one. I won’t see it again, but it didn’t leave a poor taste in my mouth.

Tea Match: “Kombucha”

No, I don’t mean the bacterially-cultured “mushroom tea”. Kombu is the Japanese word for “kelp or seaweed”. I personally haven’t had it, but I’ve eaten the key ingredient. Kelp has a very sweetly vegetal, salty profile, and I assume the same could be said for its infused namesake. Unfortunately, it shares the name with another “tea” that utilizes steeped bacteria…and tastes like iced vinegar. Seeing a fourth Pirates movie was exactly like that name/flavor confusion – a well-meaning but unfortunately-named oddity.


Kung Fu Panda 2

The first Kung Fu Panda was lightning in a f**king bottle. It succeeded with what it set out to do – tell a story of a kung fu fanboy given the opportunity to be martial arts legend. That premise alone is every chop-socky geek’s wet dream. The fact that it also stayed true to the trappings of the martial arts genre helped it to transcend its Dreamworks label. Thankfully, it was also successful with mainstream audiences. (It starred a panda; this was a given.)

A sequel was inevitable, and Dreamworks was hit-or-miss with animated follow-ups. I hoped they’d learned their lesson from the last three Shrek movies. In my opinion, they succeeded. KP2 continues where its predecessor left off and explores its protagonist’s background – one that is steeped in prophecy and folklore. I even got a little man-teary towards the end, a good sign.

Tea Match: “Keemun Hao Ya B (with cream and sugar)”

Keemun is a Chinese black (or “red”) tea with an interesting flavor profile. It is almost as malty as an Assam, but also possesses shades of sweetness and smokiness. If done right, it brews to a bold crimson and – when sipped slowly – imparts its nuances gradually. Hoa Ya is a grade known for its silver tippy buds and delicate delivery. The “B” sub-variety tends to be a tad more rough around the edges – as is Kung Fu Panda 2 in comparison to its predecessor. But it takes cream and sugar well, making it more palatable for the kiddies.

X-Men: First Class

Like the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, X-Men suffered from a severe case of Sh**ty-Sequelitis. Well, third time’s a charm, according to the Powers That Be. However, to justify the existence of yet another prequel after the disastrous Wolverine movie, some major liberties had to be taken. In a brilliant move, they adopted a typical comic book motif to do this. They ret-conned and pretended the last two X-movies never existed.

For the most part, the maneuver paid off. While none of the secondary ensemble characters do much in the movie other than look badass or attractive, the dynamic between a young, brash Charles Xavier and a hot-headed (but suave) Erik Lensherr – soon-to-be Professor X and Magneto, respectively – is surprisingly well-crafted. There are plot-holes abound, special effects misfires, and some dreadful acting from a certain blonde that makes Keanu look nuanced. All said, it holds up well. Time will tell if it’s as memorable as the first two.

Tea Match: “English Breakfast (with a blended Keemun/Assam base)”

There is no set recipe for English Breakfast; the only adherence that must be made is to its strength. The blend should zing! you awake in a matter of sips. Tasting good is optional. I’ve heard some schools of thought state that Keemun is the preferred foundation, while others say Assam. What is agreed upon is that it must have an ensemble of ingredients that jolt the drinker upright. EB does this, and so does the new X.


Super 8

MOAR LENSFLARE!!!”…seems to be the battle-cry of writer-director-producer-mindf**ker, J.J. Abrams. I’m not sure when this cinematographic calling card began, but it was most apparent in his reboot of the Star Trek franchise. In Super 8, he tones the flare down a bit but keeps just enough to give the movie a retro feel – as was his intention. This pays homage to the Steven Spielberg sci-fi flicks he grew up with and it shows.

All the ingredients are there: Unseen monster from space? Check. Comedy relief in the form of a high-voiced fat kid? Check. Shadowy military conspiracy? Check. Coming of age romance? Check. Mix and serve. If it had one major flaw – and it’s a doozie – it’s that the movie has no real identity. The strongest parts were the Spielbergian/kiddie character scenes. Everything else seemed “meh” by comparison. This could’ve been a true 80s sci-fi send-up if it weren’t so schizophrenic.

Tea Match: “Matcha-Iri Genmaicha”

I love matcha (Japanese powdered tea), but I loathe genmaicha (Japanese “poor man’s” tea…blended with rice). Put the two together, and you have something that I begrudgingly enjoy. The nuttiness of the rice is downplayed by the kelp-like sweetness of the matcha. The blend is even better if the green tea base is a higher-grade sencha rather than crude bancha. This is as conflicted a blend as the elements of Super 8 are. Parts work, parts don’t. The experience is watchable/drinkable, pretty to look at, but – in the end – forgettable.


To conclude, I had way too much fun doing this. My mother’s brain wins again. The summer’s still young, and I can’t wait to ponder what brews up well with other blockbusters. I wonder if I could sneak a teapot into the theater. Hrm. Probably a subject for another blog.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén