Beat the Winter Blues with Three Fabulous New Local Beverages

Kombucha, kvass, and jun, oh my! These probiotic drinks may lower inflammation, increase fat loss—and even boost your will to live. (Really!)

By Tuck Woodstock January 18, 2016

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You’ve heard us wax poetic about the many benefits of probiotics, which boost everything from gut health to fat burn to immune function. In fact, according to one scientific study, probiotics may make us less likely to suffer from anxiety and despair. (Um, yes, please!) But even if none of that were true, we’d still drink these new Portland-made probiotic beverages every day—they’re just that tasty.

Kombucha by Oregonic Tonic 

Father-daughter team Dave McGee and Ally Yancey recently entered Oregon’s thriving kombucha market with their own take on the popular probiotic beverage. Brewed in North Portland, Oregonic Tonic offers fresh flavors like sweet cranberry honey, spicy chaibucha, and seasonal white peach. Our favorite part is the company’s creative labeling system: each bottle is ranked on a scale from “puny pucker” to “proud pucker,” allowing kombucha novices to skip the strong stuff, and hard-core fans to seek it out. (Rumor has it that an off-the-charts “motherpucker” brew may appear one day.) 

Find It: Green Zebra, Lardo, and many other spots

Jun by Sacred Summit 

On the hunt for the next big beverage trend? Our money’s on kombucha’s cousin, jun. If kombucha = China + black tea + sugar, jun = Tibet + green tea + honey. The result is a blend with all the probiotic power and bubbly sweetness of kombucha, without the vinegary flavor, yeast, or tart aftertaste.

New Portland company Sacred Summit uses an authentic Tibetan jun culture and local raw honey to brew two flavors, Tranquility and Heavenly Hibiscus. The blends are infused with herbs like lavender and lemongrass to create a light, floral beverage that even kombucha haters adore. 

Find It: People’s Co-op, coming soon to Alberta Co-op

Kvass by Oregon Brineworks

Traditional Slavic kvass is fermented from rye loaves, but the savvy folks at Oregon Brineworks sub bread for beets to create a raw, organic, gluten-free beverage bursting with billions of active probiotic cultures. A 2 oz shot of this sweet and salty drink is said to clean the blood, boost the immune system, and detoxify the liver. Try it in two flavors: bright red Beet Kvass with caraway seeds and rosemary, and Ginger Gold Kvass, featuring fresh-squeezed carrot, ginger, and gold beet juice.

Find It: New Seasons, Whole Foods, Food Front, and many other spots

Bonus: Sauerkraut by Blue Bus Cultured Foods 

OK, this isn’t strictly beverage-based, but the folks at Blue Bus Cultured Foods deserve recognition as probiotic pros. Based in White Salmon, Washington, in the Columbia River Gorge, Blue Bus recently had three sauerkrauts win 2016 Good Food Awards, competing against local favorite Choi’s Kimchi (among others). Feed your gut flora with sweet Shakedown Beet, funky fusion Kraut-chi, or spicy Salvadoran Cortido spiked with turmeric and cumin.

Find It: New Seasons, Food Front, and many other spots

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