Last spring I wrote a column about the Red Star Kombucha bar in the Pittsburgh Public Market. Now I’m writing to tell you that the “glob” — as owners Naomi Auth and Joy Toujours affectionately call the symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeast (SCOBYs) that ferment their tea — has moved into a new space in Market Square. Red Star Kombucha Growler Shop opened March 18, less than a month after the closure of its former space at the Public Market. With a grand opening on April 1 under its belt, the shop is off to a good start.
A diagonal blond-wood bar with seven taps sits at the back of the small storefront. Two or three stools are parked at the bar, but it’s mostly standing-room-only, with a short counter extending the length of one side. It’s cozy, whether you want a quick drink or are planning to stay a while. The bar will host monthly shows of work by Pennsylvania artists, kicking off in April with Pittsburgh artist Kara ZuZu.
Red Star’s kombucha is raw, unpasteurized, unfiltered, fermented and also alcoholic, so it’s legally classified as beer. Its kombucha comes in at around 2.5 percent ABV, with flavors like Original Green, Zingerbuch, Black Tea, Blueberry Oolong and Super Sour Cherry Vanilla. Expect frequently rotating taps with new flavor selections like Yerba Mate Kombucha with holy basil and mint in the coming months. For a little more kick, Ciderbuch, an apple cider-and-kombucha blend, has an ABV of 5 percent. Servings come in three basic sizes: mini glass, a flight or a pint, and a growler to go (32-ounce or 64-ounce). Bottled Red Star Kombucha won’t be available at the Growler Shop, but can still be found at Giant Eagle and on tap at local bars like Gus’s and Franktuary. Production will continue at Red Star’s space in Point Breeze.