For hard seltzer fans, boozy tea enthusiasts, and others looking for low-ABV options, shelves are rapidly filling with hard kombucha. And as the category grows in popularity, so does the variety of offerings. Today, brands and brewers are releasing styles made with Champagne yeasts, built like IPAs, or woven with unconventional ingredients like prickly pear, golden kiwi, or even palo santo.
Brewed from a base of tea and sugar and fermented with yeast and bacteria, hard kombucha is gaining traction, no doubt a testament to the growing kombucha trend we’ve seen over the past few years. In 2016, Grand View Research valued the global kombucha market size at $760 million. Now, the same firm predicts it will hit $7.05 billion by 2027.
So whether you’re a kombucha fan already or you’re looking to get in on the trend, here are the best hard kombuchas to try now. Read on for the full list and learn why the category is drawing more and more savvy drinkers by the day.
1. KYLA Hard Kombucha: Lavender Lemonade
A true lavender lemonade, this kombucha boasts a sunny sip of classic homemade (read: sugared) lemonade without being too sweet –– or “kombucha-sour.” A fresh-picked lavender taste prevails and lends a clean, floral note that brightens up the drink. Be sure to pack this one for your next picnic. Bonus points go to Kyla’s Coconut Crush flavor, with toasted coconut notes lightened by bright yuzu and closed out with a touch of mouthwatering sea salt.
2. Luna Bay Booch: Light Lychee Lime
On the nose, this kombucha opens with round lychee aromas. On the palate, it begins with Key lime pie flavors that form a point with the slightly sour bite of lychee. This particular flavor is also brewed on a base of yerba mate, which keeps things fruit-forward instead of grassy as with green tea–brewed varieties. In addition, those looking to try something truly different may want to take note of the brand’s Blueberry Palo Santo flavor, which reads like an herbal blueberry elixir chock full of wispy palo santo.
3. Strainge Beast Hard Kombucha: Raspberry Golden Kiwi & Elderflower
Named “Strainge” for the heavily researched strain of SCOBY used, Sierra Nevada’s Strainge Beast Hard Kombuchas weave layered flavors through each sip. Its Raspberry, Golden Kiwi & Elderflower release begins with elderflower aromas on the nose that transform into yellow-orange golden berry notes mid-palate. Tart raspberries curl the end of each sip and provide a tang that plays off the spicy kombucha sparkle. In the Watermelon, Sea Salt, Lime & Mint flavor, fresh watermelon notes zip right in and are further activated by lime and sea salt –– making it the perfect pairing for any summery body of water.
4. Jiant Hard Kombucha: Guavamente
Here, the usual kombucha “kick” (or “spiciness”) is happily mellowed by a softer guava flavor. Where other brands come in hot, Jiant begins this lower-ABV kombucha round and low, with floral white tea notes permeating throughout. I suggest pairing it with your next cucumber sandwich and thinking of it as the spa water of hard kombucha.
5. Walker Brothers High Gravity Kombucha: Ginger
Many hard kombuchas already rely on effervescence and heavy spice as a backbone, so ginger has become a frequent guest star in every brew, with a competitive claim across the category. This flavor proved itself to be one of the most balanced offerings in the entire category. It offers clean, candied ginger aromas on the nose and is frankly a perfectly solid, if not humble competitor. It’s a very reliable, entry-level hard kombucha and reads like a mild Jamaican ginger beer with a balanced, juicy kick of fresh ginger in every sip. Fans of Shacksbury’s ciders would likely love the brand’s High Gravity Citra, which is reminiscent of apple cider with uniquely mild pineapple notes.
6. Flying Embers: Kombucha Bubbly Brut Nature
A welcome addition to the larger category, this kombucha is brewed on Champagne yeasts and begins bright and dry with a slight grip. It totes an effervescent minerality you could pair with oysters, yet retains a subtle kombucha aftertaste (something a bit more sour than the dry, tannic grip that would typically close a sip of bubbly). Its Grapefruit flavor also deserves a shout-out as it busts with fresh ruby-red juice and sparkles with an effervescence closer to mineral water or club soda than the usual harsh, kombucha kick.
7. Unity Vibration: Citra Blood Orange Kombucha Beer
This unconventional offering would surely entice any saison lover, and can’t help but flex a strong partnership with the coolest hop in town. On the nose, it presents tart, fresh-squeezed blood orange juice aromas –– something closer to a ruby red grapefruit than the classic navel orange –– with tart hops on the palate that round out to a wheated taste dotted with faint notes of orange pith. The brand’s Elderwand flavor shows hot, tart cherry aromas that evoke Lambrusco and sips like a crushable, chilled red wine with soft blueberry and blackberry notes.
8. Local Roots Hard Kombucha: Island Vibes
With toasted coconut and pineapple juice on the nose, this hard kombucha will be a welcome surprise to every frozen Piña Colada lover. It boasts a coconut cream sweetness with an effervescence that keeps it as refreshing as coconut water, with deep golden pineapple notes. If you’re not quite ready to go tropical, the Purple Haze is also worth sampling, as it balances classic gingery kombucha flavors beneath a juicy blueberry flavor.
9. Zesty: Wild Grapefruit Hard Kombucha Seltzer
Somehow, Zesty has achieved the rare ruby-red grapefruit flavor in a category obsessed with all things grapefruit. Perhaps in part because of its lower ABV, the drink remains deliciously floral and sour like real grapefruit juice, with lower carbonation allowing the flavor to properly coat your palate. Its gin botanicals also lend another layer of floral, juniper-forward notes that close the drink with an earthy aftertaste.
10. Four Corners Brewing Co. Buchalada: Prickly Pear Ginger Boozy Kombucha Seltzer
This super-juicy hard kombucha is better suited for those with a sweet tooth and will entice fans of the most concentrated hard seltzers. That said, it offers a sweet blast of prickly pear right from the gate as well as slightly softer, rounder guava notes. Each sip closes out with a telltale ginger kick. Similarly, the brand’s Grapefruit Sea Salt flavor also offers sweet, honeyed grapefruit notes and reads closer to a flavored San Pellegrino than a La Croix.
11. Dr. Hops Real Hard Kombucha: Strawberry Lemon
If anything, Dr. Hops achieves the juiciest strawberry flavor in the category, and this particular hard kombucha evokes a hot, overgrown strawberry patch in the summer. That said, the drink doesn’t read sweet and instead sees a slightly bitter, hop-forward taste mid-palate. Its Ginger Lime flavor can entice any Moscow Mule lover as easily as it will impress an earthy gin fan, and its kombucha IPA totes a toasted oat-forward taste.
12. Boochcraft Organic Hard Kombucha: Apple Jasmine
Far from classic cider apples, this kombucha evokes crispy slices of Granny Smith wedges interrupted by floral jasmine notes. The jasmine softens the taste to round out each gulp, but the drink ultimately tastes closer to a canned cocktail or vodka RTD than the average hard kombucha. With a long list of flavors, Boochcraft’s Watermelon Chili and Orange offerings both offer fairly toasted flavors and could be worth pairing with a summery lunch.
13. AfterGlow Hard Kombucha: Cherry Sour
Tart cherry was a brilliant entry point for any hard kombucha, and seems like a great way to play off kombucha’s funkiness, but after the first bright burst of sour cherry in this drink the flavor dilutes back down and is dominated by the usual kombucha spice. That said, there’s a sweeter, lingering cherry jam taste at the end of each sip, making this milder offering a great can to convince the less enthusiastic hard kombucha sampler.
14. Allkind Hard Kombucha: Tropical Turmeric
This kombucha opens with dried mango and pineapple juice aromas, but transforms on the palate to exude fresh, tomato-like turmeric tastes (those who make their own golden milk, or often work with fresh turmeric, will recognize this flavor quickly). With a soft mouthfeel and chalky citrus notes, this kombucha reads a bit more savory. If you’re looking for something a little more refreshing, consider the brand’s Juicy Citrus flavor, which begins with a burst of fresh orange juice flavor and gives way to lingering tangerine notes.
15. ROVM Hard Kombucha: Blueberry Yuzu
The blueberry taste used here reads fairly tart, and benefits from a calming yuzu aftertaste. With fairly sharp carbonation, this hard kombucha may make for a pleasant cocktail mixer and could even work off something as savory as Cynar. Conversely, the Passionfruit Citrus flavor totes papaya and tangerine notes on a base of peony tea.
16. Kombrewcha Hard Kombucha: Mango Pineapple
To its credit, this kombucha boasts a much lower ABV than many of its competitors and could likely win over those with a soft spot for sweet cocktail mixers, sodas, or hard seltzers. The juice bomb tastes closer to a Goya mango juice or thick mango lassi than it does actual fruit, with a touch of something similar to the bartender’s trusty, tiny can of Dole pineapple juice.