There’s no huge difference between regular kombucha and hard kombucha; the hard variety just contains more alcohol, thanks to a secondary fermentation process in which extra sugar is added.
Still, hard kombucha is increasing in popularity, and one rising star is the Flying Embers brand. Flying Embers produce a line of hard kombucha, hard seltzers, and even wine seltzers, but it’s their hard kombucha products we’ll be taking a look at today.
In the Flying Embers kombucha line, there are seven main flavors. The alcohol content of these flavors ranges from 4.5 percent ABV to 7.2 percent ABV.
These flavors include Watermelon Basil (4.5 percent ABV), Ginger (7.0 percent ABV), Black Cherry (7.2 percent ABV), Cucumber Juniper (4.5 percent ABV), Grapefruit Thyme (4.5 percent ABV), Wild Berry (4.5 percent ABV) and Pineapple Chili (6.8 percent ABV).
While we will be giving you our thoughts on Flying Embers hard kombucha as a whole, we’ll also be focusing specifically on the most popular flavors from this collection.
By the end of this review you’ll know all you need to know about Flying Embers kombucha, and which flavors (if any) are the right ones for you.
So, first thing’s first…
The History Of Flying Embers
The name ‘Flying Embers’ might make you assume these drinks will all pack a fiery punch, but it’s actually just a reference to the California wildfire which tried in vain to claim the brewery as it was first being set up.
The company now donates a portion of the sales of their beverages to firefighters and other first responders, to acknowledge the selfless work they do on the front line.
Flying Embers first came onto the scene when, in 2017, industry veteran Bill Moses sold his kombucha and probiotic brand KeVite to PepsiCo for 250 million dollars, and set his sights on the hard kombucha game.
In an increasingly competitive market, Flying Embers continues to hold strong.
There’s no wonder it’s so popular; it’s made from sparkling fermented black tea kombucha culture, and contains no sugar, no carbs, just 85 calories, and restorative properties.
It’s a tasty alternative to light beer, and a far healthier one, too.
Benefits Of Flying Embers Hard Kombucha
Several of the ingredients found in Flying Embers kombucha, such as its live probiotics, ginger, ashwagandha, turmeric, and astragalus, are found in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicinal remedies.
Its adaptogenic properties mean that the drink can improve the human body’s resistance to stress, as well as regulate energy, mood, and cognitive functions.
They also pride themselves on being far more environmentally conscious; a few bottles of imported lager a day have the combined carbon footprint of roughly 50 thousand cups of black tea.
They source their raw materials as locally as they possibly can, and are an outspoken promoter of regenerative farming.
The Flying Embers brand can now be found across 40 states in America, as well as in mainstream stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Costco.
They also have big plans for international expansion, so if you’re not in the United States and you like the sound of this hard kombucha, you might be seeing it on shelves sooner than you think.
The only downside of Flying Embers Hard Kombucha worth mentioning is its price, which you might find a little steep, especially when compared to the price points of other alcoholic seltzers.
But it’s worth bearing in mind that you won’t find many brands of hard kombucha on the market with all the benefits that this brand has.
It’s organic, maintains its probiotic properties, and comes in a variety of flavors- if you’re a fan of kombucha, you’re bound to like something here.
*Packaging may vary
Pineapple Chili Hard Kombucha (6.8 percent ABV)
The leading flavor of Flying Embers Pineapple Chili Hard Kombucha is, surprisingly, coconut.
There’s certainly undercurrents of pineapple present, but the first thing you’re going to notice after taking a sip of this kombucha is the coconut, as well as hints of ginger and a chili afterburn.
It’s not a burn your mouth won’t be able to handle, though- the heat is mild. There’s a reason Pineapple Chili is considered a fan favorite amongst Flying Embers fans.
Black Cherry Hard Kombucha (7.2 percent ABV)
Quite a bit different from the Pineapple Chili flavor, the Black Cherry hard kombucha consists primarily of fresh dark cherry notes. Its finish is clean, crisp, and refreshing, and delivers a pleasant burst of lime.
Those notes of citrus make up most of Black Cherry’s aroma. Like the rest of the Flying Embers kombuchas, Black Cherry is brewed with live probiotics, as well as the adaptogen root blend of ginger, turmeric, astragalus, and ashwagandha.
If you’re a fan of kombucha then you won’t mind tart flavors, but the Black Cherry hard kombucha might be a little too tart if you’re new to kombucha.
We recommend one of the milder flavors on offer if you’re just getting into the beverage.
Grapefruit Thyme Hard Kombucha (4.5 percent ABV)
On the lower end in terms of alcohol content, the Grapefruit Thyme Hard Kombucha is the lightest of the Flying Embers line.
The sweetness of the grapefruit helps to offset that familiar tartness, making it quite different from most kombucha.
There’s some great flavors in here, including hints of thyme, and its aromas are much the same.
There have been several other flavors of Flying Embers released over the years; some are featured exclusively in packs, and some were limited edition flavors that are currently not available.
A few of these flavors feature higher alcohol content than the core line of flavors.
Some of these interesting variations include Grapefruit Tangie (8.5 percent ABV), Mango Hop-anero (8.5 percent ABV), Guava Citra (8.5 percent ABV), Blackberry Bramble (7 percent ABV), Apple Spice Vanilla (7 percent ABV), and Golden Pear Ginger (7 percent ABV).
What’s The Difference Between Hard Kombucha And Normal Kombucha?
All kombucha consists of sweetened black or green tea combined with a colony of yeast (SCOBY) and bacteria, which allows it to ferment.
The yeast turns the sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol, which results in the tart sweet liquid we know as kombucha.
Regular kombucha can have an alcohol content of up to roughly three percent ABV, but anything lower than 0.5 percent ABV is usually considered non-alcoholic, especially on store shelves.
The difference with hard kombucha is that, following its fermentation period, extra sugar is added, as well as an additional strain of yeast.
A second fermentation process will convert this extra sugar into extra alcohol, and some brands also add more spices, fruits, and adaptogenic herbs into the mix.
So, that’s hard kombucha, at its core. Kombucha with a little more alcohol.
Does Hard Kombucha Have Any Health Benefits?
Any health benefits from hard kombucha are the same you would get from drinking regular kombucha, as the alcohol isn’t believed to kill the kombucha’s probiotics.
Its leading benefits include the presence of glucaric acid and polyphenol compounds, which provide support for your body’s detoxification.
Hard kombucha can contribute to good gut health, but no more than regular kombucha, especially considering the amount of sugar that certain brands might add.
But, generally, the ingredients found in hard kombucha will be much the same as traditional kombucha (plus the alcohol, of course).
Flying Embers Hard Seltzer Line & Wine Spritz Line
You can also get Flying Embers brand hard seltzers and wine spritzers.
The flavors included in the hard seltzer line are Clementine Hibiscus (5 percent ABV), Guava Jalapeno (5 percent ABV), Passionfruit Elderflower (5 percent ABV), and Watermelon Chili (5 percent ABV).
In the wine spritz line they offer a Red Wine Spritz, a White Wine Spritz, and a Rosé Spritz.
Conclusion: Our Experience with Flying Embers Hard Kombucha
Kombucha tends to be an acquired taste, and hard kombucha is no different. But if you’re a fan of the drink (or you want to become a fan and need a place to start), we highly recommend Flying Embers.
All of the flavors have their own defining characteristics, and it’ll be down to personal preference whether you like some over the others, but Pineapple Chili is our favorite.
It also has all the probiotic benefits of regular, non-alcoholic kombucha, as well as being low in calories and gluten free.
If you’ve been looking for a healthier, more environmentally conscious alternative to light beer, Flying Embers Hard Kombucha is certainly worth a try.
You can find Flying Embers Hard Kombucha on Drizly, as well as other drinks made by the company. Flying Embers also offer a brewery and social club, where you can get the full Flying Embers experience.
This experience is available in the Los Angeles Arts District, in Boston, and in Santa Barbara. Full details can be found on the Flying Embers official website.
Looking for more hard kombucha brands to check out – head on over to our look at Strainge Beast next.