Soma made a splash in 2017 with its second location, on Belmont, an unmanned taproom that dispenses kombucha until the wee hours of the morning and when it first opened, was accessible with a credit card swipe like an ATM. Soma has since normalized the operation with a door that locks after it closes in the early evening, but the eight taps on offer are still some of the best brews in town, from basic flavors like the OG to more adventurous options like Mangosteen Ginger and a Peach that's infused with CBD. Both locations feature Eastern-inspired, yoga-mom décor and ambient electronic music that's a perfect backdrop for studying or spacing out while sipping. But the Belmont location is better if you're looking for an actual seat, since the original St. Johns basement location offers only what looks like a communal massage room filled with floor-bound beds for onsite consumption.
The Growler Guys
At the lone remaining location of this taproom chain, kombucha fans can get their fix amid flat screens and a congenial sports-bar vibe rather than what might as well be a yoga studio. A recent visit to its South Waterfront location found a carefully curated tap selection. The highlights of the four choices that anchored the very bottom of the menu were handles from Portland's own Soma, and Cannablis CBD brew from GT's, the popular L.A.-based purveyor.
Tea Chai Té
Tea Chai Té's in-house kombucha brand, Happy Mountain, has taken off in the past year. It's escalated from a small hand-bottled operation to a full-scale tap takeover. Each location offers at least four varieties of Tea Chai Té's delicately seasoned and mellow flavors. For the best vibes and biggest spread of flavors, visit the new location adjacent to Rontoms on East Burnside, which inhabits a space formerly inhabited by a Laurel Canyon-style vintage store that left much of its stark, plant-forward aesthetic intact. A pint runs $4.50 and comes in such flavors as Peach Blossom, Honeydew Melon and Spiced Chai.
The gentle creep of kombucha onto the tap lists of growler-fill spots is a godsend for straight-edge folks who are still down to hang. Growler's Taproom always has a few good options hidden in the bottom right corner of its DigitalPour menu. A recent visit featured a Superberry and Citrus Hops from Brew Dr., and the awesome patio and food selection courtesy of Tight Tacos and KT Sandwiches & Vietnamese makes this a solid go-to for beer nerds and 'booch fans alike.
Townshend's in-house brand of kombucha, Brew Dr., is rightfully one of the most popular and visible brands of kombucha in Portland. Each flavor, of which there are 10 on tap at the Stark location in Montavilla, is perfectly balanced with effervescence, vinegary funk and subtle sweetness to earn the brand top marks among die-hard tea drinkers and newbies alike. Each of the three locations has the relaxed vibe of a library cafe, with the Mississippi location offering upright tables with green library lamps for studying and broken-in furniture for idle lounging.