Happy Leaf Kombucha Offers Denver an Alternative to Beer

Kombucha is coming atcha!

Happy Leaf Kombucha started six years ago because Jenni Lyons was tired of all the beer her boyfriend Mike Burns was home brewing.

“I was like, ‘can we put kombucha on tap at the house’?” she laughs.

Kombucha is fermented sweet tea. Similar to beer, yeast and bacteria ferment the sugars in the tea until a new product is created, but it has little to no alcohol and is not regulated as such by the federal government. Kombucha, which has been around for centuries, is a natural probiotic and health conscious Denver is catching on to its benefits. It’s why Lyons began drinking it in the first place, however, store bought kombucha wasn’t always palatable.

"I’ve been drinking it for 15 years,” she says. “When I was younger I got really sick and had to take a bunch of antibiotics. Then I started doing probiotics and found kombucha. It helped me so quick. There was only one brand on the market and it was pretty bad. I thought I have to learn how to make this, because it’s helping me so much.”

Using her holistic health and cooking background and Burns’ home brewing skills, they began creating infused kombuchas using fruit and herbs. They were so good she and Burns began taking them to farmers’ markets where they sold out consistently. The couple first began fermenting kombucha large scale in a production facility in RiNo next to Great Divide Barrel Bar. When their building was sold, they moved into a larger facility in Lakewood near Sloan’s Lake and now sell cans and kegs of kombucha around Colorado. In fact some of the company’s bigger clients are Denver’s craft breweries who offer Happy Leaf on tap for customers interested in a non-alcoholic alternative.

So what’s kombucha like?

“For (plain) kombucha balance is important,” says Lyons. “It should be tart from the bacteria, but not vinegary and funky from yeast. Lyons and Burns infuse their kombucha with sweet and fruity flavors. Tastes that Lyons says create a balance with the tart. I sampled a flight of Happy Leaf flavors on tap in the company’s Edgewater tap room.

Cranberry Lavender is the company’s most popular and it is sold in cans around town. It has an intense pink color with a light fruit and lavender scent. The taste is smooth, full of red fruit and not tart at all.

Cinnamon is the flavor that Lyons says is closest to unflavored kombucha. She says it doesn’t take much cinnamon to get a smooth, yet tart taste with a hint of apple at the finish. The beverage is a cloudy golden color and is a great way to ease into kombuchas for those unfamiliar.

Hibiscus Lemon Ginger is a subtle pink color from the hibiscus with a floral herb scent. The taste has many layers to it with the lemon up front and hibiscus at the finish while the tart ginger makes its way all the way through.

Apple Rose is another great introductory flavor with a hazy yellow color and very little scent. The taste is a meld of apple and rose. You don’t get a strong sense of either, but also very smooth with no strong tart.

Happy Leaf has Cranberry Lavender, Hibiscus Lemon Ginger, Orange Basil, and Grapefruit Citra available in cans at Front Range Natural Grocers and Lucky's Markets, while more experimental flavors can be found on tap at the tap room. Currently on tap is a Chili Grapefruit kombucha made with habaneros. The scent of the chili is strong as you put the glass to your lips, however, the taste contains all the flavor of the chili without the burn. The drink tastes bright and fruity with hints of citrus, apple, and other fruits including the chili. It turned out to be my favorite flavor of the flight. 

The best way to dive into Happy Leaf Kombucha is to visit the tap room in Edgewater and have a flight. Then pick a growler or two to take home. The tap room used to have an organic kitchen café, however, it is currently undergoing renovation and will reopen in the future. You can also enjoy Happy Leaf at local Novo Coffee locations and local breweries like Black Shirt, Colorado Plus, and Mountain Toad. The tap room even has a Happy Hour from 3 to 6 PM Monday through Friday and all day on Thursdays. Enjoy $2 off growlers.

Happy Leaf Kombucha tap room is located at 5700 W. 25th Avenue in Edgewater. 

Photos via Carrie Dow

Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Bigsby's Folly Introduces Denver to the Wine Cottle

Bigsby's Folly Introduces Denver to the Wine Cottle

New World grapes with Old World appeal. ...read more ›

by Carrie Dow Oct 29, 2019
Get in shape and drink beer at Denver's Brewery Boot Camp
by Carrie Dow Oct 10, 2019
Pabst Blue Ribbon Launches Blue Ribbon Whiskey in Select US Markets

Pabst Blue Ribbon Launches Blue Ribbon Whiskey in Select US Markets

PBR has launched their own whiskey. Let's keep an open mind and see what is inside this bottle....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Sep 24, 2019
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
The Master Sommelier Scandal is Now the Subject of a New Investigative Series

The Master Sommelier Scandal is Now the Subject of a New Investigative Series

There's a new investigative series about one of the biggest scandals to ever hit the wine world....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Sep 13, 2019
Explore a Newsworthy Social Hour at Courier Denver

Explore a Newsworthy Social Hour at Courier Denver

Anyone who loves tasty food paired with delicious drinks is welcome....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Sep 11, 2019
Places to Drink and Play in Denver
by Carrie Dow Aug 6, 2019
Using Peas to Make Gin Might Lead to More Environmentally Friendly Spirits, Studies Show

Using Peas to Make Gin Might Lead to More Environmentally Friendly Spirits, Studies Show

Scientists may have discovered a more environmentally friendly way to make one of the world's most popular spi...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 23, 2019
Where You Can Rosé All Day in Denver

Where You Can Rosé All Day in Denver

You'll find plenty of rosé to keep you sippin' all summer long....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Jul 9, 2019
Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Negroni Week 2019 is June 24-30, so drink this classic cocktail for a good cause....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 19, 2019
What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

If you're taking an Uber, Lyft, or cab and feel unsafe, there are steps you can take to protect yourself....read more ›

by Nina Starner Jun 19, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close