Above: New Mexico Ferments outside of the Rail Yards Market in Albuquerque. Photograph Joy Godfrey.

Recently I ordered a pint of New Mexico Ferments’ Hibiscus Lavender Kombucha from the Brake-room, Santa Fe Brewery’s taproom. This is something my younger self would have judged hard—Really, John? A kombucha at a bar?

Well, it was hot, and I was ready for a break from beer. The drink was a little sweeter than I prefer, but smooth, herbal, bubbly, and a rich scarlet color. It was light and refreshing—a great alcohol-free alternative to big, nap-inducing brews.

Bonus: I had met the people who made it, too. They live in Albuquerque and set up regularly at the Downtown Growers’ Market, where I first tried their probiotic-rich ’booch. They really love kombucha, but not in a proselytizey way. They make many delicious flavors, like prickly pear, grapefruit-rosemary, and turmeric–black pepper from their own SCOBY—that’s a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, also known as “the mother.” Anyway, I regret nothing.