On Saturday, my roommates and I spent the afternoon at a fun local brewery, Lenny Boy Brewing Co. Lenny Boy isn’t just your average brewery, though. While they do brew beer, their specialty is kombucha.
Never heard of kombucha? I’ll fill you in. Kombucha is an “ancient fermented tea beverage” that has a natural effervescence that is full of probiotics, antioxidants, and B vitamins. Kombucha is said to boast all kind of health benefits, including detoxifying the liver, boosting metabolism, improving digestion, relieving joint pain, improving eye sight and has even been found to destroy cancer-causing free-radicals.
Lately I’ve been on a huge kombucha kick and drink half a bottle of GT’s Synergy every afternoon. I’ll be honest and say that it’s an acquired taste (very fizzy and vinegar-y), but now it’s something I look forward to every day! One major downfall is that bottled kombucha tends to be pretty expensive – typically about $4 a bottle. The mom of the kids that I nanny is amazing and also loves kombucha, so she buys it for us by the case full – a definite perk!
My roommate Maddie is also a kombucha fan and recently let me know that Charlotte has its own local brewery! So, on Saturday, after hiking Crowder’s Mountain, we went to check it out. The sign out front highlighted their weekly specials, which are all pretty awesome.
We arrived at Lenny Boy on the early side (around 1:00 pm), and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. I imagine that it would be a fun place to hang out when there’s a big crowd, but for our first time, it was nice to be able to chat with the bartender and learn more about Lenny Boy’s background.
Lenny Boy has been around since 2012 and was only licensed to brew kombucha at first. Later on, they became licensed to brew “wild ales,” kombucha with a hint of alcohol. Most recently, they got their microbrewer’s license, and can now brew their own beer! I have to say, the best part about Lenny Boy is the prices. You can take home a growler of kombucha, which holds 64 ounces. On Sundays, you can refill your growler for only $10. Seriously, that’s such a steal.
I’ve considered brewing my own kombucha, but since I get it for free at work currently, I’m going to ride that train as long as it lasts. I loved peeking inside the kombucha brewing room – I can’t imagine how big the SCOBY (a fermenting culture that is made from previous batches that stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) is in that big barrel in the back – so creepy but awesome! For Charlotte locals, Lenny Boy does offer brewery tours, but only a few times a week. They have to be super careful about who they allow in the room – any sickness can get into the kombucha and ruin the batch.
On Saturday, Lenny Boy had 5 flavors of traditional kombucha, 3 sour wild ales, and 6 organic beers on tap. They also had 5 kombucha flavors bottled if tap isn’t your thing, or if you wanted to take some home. Another note to Charlotte locals, you can find bottled Lenny Boy at Whole Foods and Common Market!
The bar tender recommended with try the flight of five, which was an awesome deal at only $7. The flight glasses were a generous size, probably equaling about two and a half bottles. It was the perfect way to try a number of flavors.
After much deliberation, I decided on the Holy Moly, Elite Beet, Sweet Potato Pie, Good Ol’ Giner, and Blueberry Waffle.
I started things out with the Holy Moly, the only Sour Wild Ale that I ordered. It was a blend of NC Sweet Potatoes, molasses, and spiced kombucha. It’s made to be gluten free and clocks in a 4% ABV. I loved this! I really don’t know how to review drinks (not a beer enthusiast), but I’ll say that it tasted very cozy, seasonal, and perfect for fall. You could really taste the sweet potatoes!
Next up was Sweet Potato Pie – sweet potatoes, cinnamon, and molasses. Even though the ingredients were similar to the Holy Moly above, it didn’t taste anything alike. This kombucha was light and crisp, but not at all fruity.
My third tasting was Blueberry Waffle, which included NC blueberries and maple extract. I loved the light pink color! It was sweet, fruity, and tart, making it my favorite overall.
Next I tried Plain Ol’ Ginger. My favorite GT’s flavor is Gingerade, so I imagined that I’d love Lenny Boy’s ginger ‘buch. I thought it was good, but almost too plain. If I’m craving ginger, I think I’ll stick with GT’s.
Fifth and finally, I had the neon pink Elite Beet. Apparently people love or hate beet, and I gotta say, I’m a hater. I actually don’t think I had every had beets in any form before this. It wasn’t my thing, but our bartender told us it was one of their most popular flavors. So, to each their own!
I also can’t fail to mention how involved Lenny Boy is in the community. On Saturday mornings, they host a yoga class. Your first class if free, then after that, it’s $5 a class. I’m not positive, but I think you get a free drink afterwards! Last Saturday, they were also hosting a halloween party and had a food truck parked outside. I’m so glad that I discovered Lenny Boy and I’ll definitely be back. Charlotte locals, you’ve gotta try it out!