By Nathan Borchelt

"I swear I’m not making this up: when my wife and I got to the Urban Farm Fermentory, a basket-weaving class was happening in the courtyard just outside its expansive property. Inside the massive space, the hippy/hipster vibe continued, like something out of a feverish Portlandia dreamscape. But in a good way.

As its name proclaims, this “experimental urban farm” and community engagement hub is focused on making authentic fermented beverages—kombucha, cider, mead, and gruit, using local and foraged ingredients whenever possible. They even have a sign asking for donations of any herbs or other ingredients that you might have in abundance.

We opted for a flight of kombucha, cider, and gruit (I find mead to be too sweet), and it was a spectacular tour of different, bold flavors—sour, sharp, herbal, earthy, sweet, and spicy. The three gruits—an ancient method of beer-making using herbs—won’t replace my love of West Coast IPAs, but the ciders were refreshingly tart and funky, a far cry from the saccharine sweetness typical to most mainstream versions. And the kombuchas were a revelation, particularly the one made with ghost pepper. The heat didn’t punch you the way that pepper’s reputation would have you believe. It was subtle, coming on quietly, artfully at the end of the beverage’s sour notes.

The menu is entirely seasonal—naturally—and they also offer 32-ounce growler fills. They also distribute bottled kombucha throughout the state, as well as in Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, and Washington, DC."

 

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