New Brew In Town

Photo courtesy of Joker Brewing

A selection of great drinks at Joker Brewing in Williamsburg.

Joker Brewing makes the first hard kombucha in Virginia.

Due to the fermentation process, all kombucha has trace amounts of alcohol. Joker Brewing in Willliamsburg is the first brewery in Virginia to amp it up to create a light, refreshing, slightly fizzy adult kombucha. 

Lance Zaal of King of Clubs coffee got interested in kombucha—fermented tea—a couple of years ago when he was brainstorming new products for the summer months. “I wouldn’t want to open a brewery,” he says, “but thought kombucha beer would be fun and interesting.” He experimented with brewing ‘bucha at home, “made a lot of mistakes, and came up with a method that made kombucha that was the best I’d ever had,” he says. 

Once Zaal had perfected his kombucha, he realized he could also make “hard” beverages with it—beer, wine, spirits, sparkling—depending on how he fermented and finished it. “It’s a flexible beverage,” he says. He’s created flavors, including peach cinnamon and lemon ginger, and infused some with CBD. 

While standard kombucha must have less than 0.5 percent alcohol, Zaal says his hard kombucha ranges from 6.4 percent to 7.0 percent. “I try to strike a balance,” he says, “so it’s not too dry; a little sweet, but not too sweet.”

Zaal’s regular and CBD-infused kombuchas are available at King of Clubs, as well as on tap and in bottles around central Virginia. He plans to open Joker Brewing as a separate establishment and make the hard kombucha available both wholesale and retail later this fall. 

 “It’s fun and different,” Zaal says, “and no one else in Virginia or nearby is doing it.” 

This article originally appeared in our October 2020  issue.

June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum