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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Good Vibrations, Sweet Sensations: A Review of Unity Vibration

By Doug Dorda

Good vibrations, sweet sensations
Adorning the same shelf as gluten-free (GH) beers based off of sorghum fermentability, there may be found another class of "alternative beer" that is based upon an ancient drink famous for its ability to enrich a drinker's vitality and improve his or her overall quality of life. I’m speaking of the GF beers offered by Unity Vibration, a Michigan-based company that produces non-alcoholic as well as alcoholic kombucha

Those familiar with kombucha are sure to note that the beverage is characterized by a pronounced acetic acid bite that is the object of lust for those who regularly enjoy the fermented tea. Those who can not quite grasp what acetic acid may taste like will be pleased to discover that the taste is very similar to those found in many wild fermented beers, or most closely to the profile of “sour” that one may experience while drinking a lambic, the most prolific of which being those made by Lindeman's

While kombucha often contains little to no alcohol, the folks at Unity Vibration have allowed the organic cane juice—the sweetener of their beverage—to ferment three times, ultimately yielding a higher alcohol content. The first fermentation is comprised of creating the kombucha tea. The second blends the fermented tea with organic raspberries, ginger, peaches, or juniper, and the mixture ferments again in bourbon barrels. The final fermentation takes place in the bottle and is responsible for the creation of carbonation.

It is important to note that all of the additives in Unity Vibrations beer are raw, organic and, of course, gluten free. Having noted that the beverage is now alcoholic and wonderfully flavored by one of many choice organic fruits or roots, the question that remains is this: Do the beers taste like beer?

Earlier I made mention that the acetic acid produced during kombuchas fermentation makes the taste of these GF beers similar to the taste of fruit lambics. Those who did not know better may even assume that the raspberry offering of Unity Vibrations could be a pour of Lindemans framboise. However, we again find ourselves at the mercy of perspective as pertains to these offerings. Did you, as a classic beer drinker, adore and long for the sweet/sour bold and yet delicate nuances of wild beers in the Belgian universe? Those who answer yes will be more than happy to discover that the same family of contrasting flavors are presented in a package devoid of gluten thanks to the people at Unity Vibration. 

Personally, I find each of their offerings, being ginger, raspberry, peach bourbon, and juniper pale, to be wonderful beverages if not entirely reminiscent of classic beer as we (non-celiacs) know it. Each raw and organic flavoring promised by the label of the beer is found, and never found wanting. Never will you taste one of these beers and cry “artificial!” as pertains to the taste in question. I find that each beer begins with a cane juice sweetness on the palate that quickly gives way to a showcase of its particular flavor and dries nicely before the finish thanks to the savory acetic acid that wonderfully contrasts the fore-palate.

Unity Vibration produces the ginger and raspberry in both 12oz and 22oz bottles, while the peach bourbon and juniper pale come in 16oz sizes. I highly recommend that both the gluten intolerant and tolerant give them a try.

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