Homemade Gluten Free Beer Replacement Recipe

Kombucha "Beer" after the foam settled
down a bit
For much of my life, I viewed beer and coffee much the same way. The taste was icky, but I'd drink it to get the desired affect. In the case of coffee, to wake up from the caffeine, and in the case of beer, to get a little lightheaded from the alcohol... I never got why anyone would drink decaf coffee, because in my opinion, the only reason why someone would "subject themselves" to coffee would be for the caffeine, so decaf was just drinking icky stuff for no purpose...

As I grew older and my tastebuds developed, I began to appreciate the taste of beer... and somewhat the taste of coffee. Ok, I'm still not a coffee lover, but I do love beer.
Only I can't drink it now, for the most part, as beer is made from grains... Yes, they do sell gluten free beer (for a fortune, might I add), but its not readily available where I live.
And I like using beer in cooking. Beer battered fish is one of my favorite ways to make it. Beer battered chicken is also quite delicious. But alas, no beer.

I've been making kombucha for at least a year and a half by now, and I used to make it with a lot of sugar so it would end up being a sweet and sour fizzy probiotic drink.
But I've been trying to cut down on the amount of sugar we're eating, so I've been making kombucha with less sugar.
Imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago I poured myself some kombucha, and it fizzed up in my cup and tasted exactly like... beer? I was very shocked, thought at first that I had made some sort of mistake, that what I was drinking was not kombucha, but when I was able to repeat my results, I realized that yes, you can make a gluten free beer replacement out of kombucha. No, it doesn't have the same alcoholic content- very, very mild, but it has the same taste, and therefore can be used in cooking, in things like beer bread, beer battered fish or chicken, or any other recipe that calls for beer.

How do you get your kombucha to turn out like beer? First, make sure your kombucha mushroom is very thick and large; you want it to be large enough to cover the entire surface of your kombucha making jar so that it'll trap bubbles underneath it, making your drink pretty fizzy.
Then, you put a little of your starter kombucha into your jar- approximately 1/10 of the way up.
Then, make a really dark tea with black tea. The darker the tea, the more it'll taste like beer, because beer is bitter, and the tannins in the tea mimic the flavor of beer.
I make my kombucha in a large mason jar, and for that amount of tea, I add between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of sugar (I don't usually measure).
I then let it sit for a few days. Once its ready, it should taste exactly like beer and be fizzy like beer as well.
If it ends up being too sweet or too sour, you put too much sugar in it; the acidity comes from the sugar fermenting, so too much sugar that ferments would make it too sour. If it isn't fizzing, try adding a bit more sugar, as the fizziness comes as a by-product of the sugar fermenting.

Have you ever made or had kombucha? What did it taste like? Sweet and sour like soda? Tart? Beer like?
Do you like beer or coffee, or like me, do you just consume it for the desired effect, or do you not eat it at all?
Do you ever cook with beer? What foods do you cook with beer? 
Do you think you'd try this out?

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Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I'm trying to make my first batch of kombucha now. However, I think I've done something wrong. There was a little mold on the top. I've had plenty of store-bought kombucha which was quite vinegary. (Is that a word?)
    I love coffee, but never developed a taste for beer. I'm hoping to make kefir next. I was given some grains from dairy kefir, but would like to try it with water instead.

    1. Did you use some kombucha as a starter for your new batch or just a SCOBY? Is it possible you contaminated your batch? Is it really mold or is it just discolored?

    2. I used a scoby. It floated up to the top of the jar, & the part that rose out of the tea is what developed mold. It actually touched the towel I had over it. I poured out a bit of the liquid so it wouldn't do it again. Is it better to use store bought kombucha as a starter?

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