Mar 18, 2024 - Food and Drink

Hard water kefir taproom joins San Antonio bar scene

Glasses lined up, filled with colored liquid, while a four is filled with a bubbly liquid.

Fermentería's drink lineup. Photo: Courtesy of Giant Noise Partners

Hard water kefir is joining the mix of bar offerings in San Antonio. If you haven't heard of it, it's because it's a newcomer in the industry.

Catch up quick: Jade Sheppard recently opened Fermentería at 2243 E. Commerce St., offering an array of alcoholic and nonalcoholic water kefir on tap or by the bottle.

How it works: Kefir, like kombucha, is a fermented probiotic drink. Alcohol is naturally produced in the fermentation process.

  • While most producers halt fermentation at a lower alcohol concentration, Sheppard's process continues until it reaches 5% alcohol.
  • It naturally has hundreds of strains of probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. No sugars or alcohol are added.
  • Sheppard says it offers a buzz without the hangover.

The drinks are flavored with botanicals and natural extracts.

  • Flavors include pineapple lemongrass, brut, hibiscus sangria, paloma, Thai lime coconut (Sheppard's go-to) and orange elderflower.

By the numbers: A 12-ounce can has 100 calories and zero sugar.

Flashback: Sheppard says she's allergic to alcohol, but first discovered that she was able to drink alcoholic kefir during her time in Nicaragua.

What they're saying: "I would definitely encourage anyone who is interested in a light, bubbly, social, euphoric type of alcoholic experience but doesn't want sugar to try it."

The vibe: Sheppard describes the new taproom as "scrappy," pieced together with secondhand items her team has hauled from throughout Central Texas.

  • "It's supposed to give a sense of authenticity, homemade and home-brewed," she says.
  • "We're all Burning Man people and DJ people, so we have a DJ booth built into our tap room. It's just a bunch of hippies who are also nerds and love what we're doing."
  • Customers will be able to bring growlers for refills.

What's next: Fermentería will host community events each month, with the first happening April 13.

  • Proceeds from the night will benefit The Thrive Center, a shelter for LGBTQ+ youth.

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