Something’s brewing at Liberty Station next weekend — the arrival of Southern California’s first kombucha festival.
Kombucha — a fermented drink made with tea and sugar with SCOBY, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast — originated in East Asia centuries ago, but has gained increasing popularity in the U.S. in recent years. The probiotic beverage touts health benefits such as improving gut and liver health, as well as reducing the risk of certain diseases and medical conditions.
Once solely stocked at health food shops like Whole Foods with a cult following, it has now achieved mainstream status and is available at many grocery stores and markets. In honor of its popularity, BoochFest invites locals to an all-day celebration of the beverage on Saturday, May 18 at Liberty Station.
The festival will feature tastings from more than 20 participating brands, encouraging attendees to engage with brewers and learn the craft behind the drink. In addition to national brands such as GT’s Living Foods, Brew Dr. and Health-Ade, there will be offerings from 10 San Diego-based businesses including Bootstrap and Bambucha.
And for those who want a bit more of a buzz, a 21+ Hard-Booch Lounge will be available with an upgraded ticket. The lounge will serve seven different alcoholic varieties from vendors including Boochcraft and KYLA Hard Kombucha.
BoochFest San Diego co-creator Nick Angulo said he was inspired to host the event after visiting a local kombucha tap room for the first time, which changed his perception of the beverage.
“Until then, kombucha seemed like another wacky health fad with a strange name and even stranger taste. Upon tasting (the tap room’s drinks), I realized I had mistakenly generalized all kombucha based on the few duds I tried at the grocery store,” Angulo said, adding that he hopes the festival can serve as an educational opportunity for attendees.
“We want others to share a unique kombucha experience — engaging with passionate brewers, learning the craft and understanding the health benefits of this effervescent elixir,” he continued.
In addition to tastings, BoochFest has partnered with Reunify Yoga to offer a Zen Zone with free classes and “silent” tunes from DJ JD. Zen Zone activities will be powered by Quiet Events headphones to keep the vibe as chill as the drinks.
Austin Durant of Fermenters Club presents workshops at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to teach techniques on how to brew at home. Dress in comfortable clothing for yoga classes at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. with a community meditation session at 12:30 p.m.
Live music lovers can jam out at the main stage to tunes from San Diego-based indie group Casual Yak at 11:30 a.m.; folk/blues band Symbiotic Culture, which features the founder of Living Tea Brewing Company, at 1 p.m.; and hip-hop/rap artist B-Turn & Friends at 2:30 p.m.
The afternoon will also be infused with other happenings, including outdoor games, art installations from Soul Flow Studio and a “Culture Talk” with Hannah Crum of Kombucha Kamp.
Early bird prices will be available until Sunday, May 12. Tickets are $30 for general admission, $40 for entry to the Hard-Booch Lounge, and $50 for an all-access pass to receive a reserved parking space and skip the line for tastings.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Liberty Station, North Promenade, 2848 Dewey Rd., Point Loma, boochfest.com