What’s on rotation in your summer fridge? Our shelves are happiest when they’re stocked with the latest crowlers from Junkyard Brewing and Barrel Theory, Jinx Tea’s Woke Punch (carbonated hibiscus herbal tea with pineapple, ginger, mango, lavender, and cinnamon 😋), and ice-cold cans of Double Dog Kombucha.
Fresh juice and locally sourced ingredients give Double Dog its edge, yielding a softer, more effervescent, less yeasty bite than other kombucha we’ve tried. The flavors are fun, too. Pelé is a perfectly balanced tightrope walk of pineapple, ginger, jalapeño, and cilantro. Joy Bubbles bursts with strawberry, mint, and vanilla bean. And Blueberry Portage is a BWCA-inspired fermented tea made with organic blueberries and cacao.
But what really makes Lee Vang’s inventive kombucha stand out is the homage it sometimes pays to beer — without the alcohol, of course.
Vang, whose family emigrated to St. Paul in 1981 from a Hmong refugee camp in Thailand, launched Double Dog in 2017. (The name is a nod to his two adorable rat terriers, one of whom is pictured above.) Following his own struggles with beer and alcohol, he wanted to experiment with fizzy teas that incorporated the uniquely beer-y characteristics of dank IPAs and pitch-dark porters. Double Dog’s Citra Mango kombucha tastes like a lip-smackingly fruity IPA, while the Double Hop kombucha derives its tropical, aromatic profile from Strata hops. Both make noble stand-ins for folks looking to cut back on their beer intake or avoid it altogether.
Vang has been a Saturday staple at the Mill City Farmers Market since May 2018, selling his kombucha by the can or on tap; check this calendar for a complete list of upcoming appearances. Order 10 or more cans and DDK offers free Sunday delivery throughout the metro area (DM Vang on Instagram or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details).