Sunday, February 25, 2024

King of Clubs expands to add kombucha beer brewing operation

King of Clubs also has a location at the Premium Outlets that opened earlier this year. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Lance Zaal)
King of Clubs also has a location at the Premium Outlets that opened earlier this year. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Lance Zaal)

A local coffee business is once more expanding their offerings with a type of beverage they say is a first for Virginia.

King of Clubs Brewing Co.’s Joker Brewing project will begin producing kombucha beer and other alcoholic products for sale hopefully by late October, although a concrete opening date for the business is still up in the air.

In a region where breweries, distilleries and wineries are plentiful, King of Clubs — which opened a coffee shop featuring kombucha, nitro brews and more in March at the Premium Outlets — plans to offer small-batch specialty products to set itself apart.

“We’re not trying to be one of the larger commercial breweries with massive steel tanks,” said King of Clubs owner Lance Zaal. “We are trying to be more on the exclusive end of that… We’re not trying to be another brewery.”

This Saturday, the company will host a pre-opening tour of the King of Clubs Coffee Factory and Joker Brewing facility at its production facility, 113 Palace Lane, Unit D. 

The pre-opening event is free and open to the public, although there is a $10 ticket price for people who want to participate in tours, tasting, roasting and “coffee cupping,” Zaal said.

The alcoholic kombucha beer Joker Brewing will specialize in is not yet past its recipe and testing phase, so that product is unlikely to be available for testing during Saturday’s event.

Other King of Clubs products such as kombucha, jun, cold nitro and cold brew coffees will be available for tasting, with explanations on how they are turned into “a new type of beer,” King of Clubs wrote on its Facebook event for the pre-opening.

Tours Saturday will show Joker Brewing’s process and how the oak barrel distillery will operate, and run on the hour, every hour. King of Clubs will also offer an introduction to the process of making coffee, featuring a roasting session.

Zaal said the Joker Brewing project was an evolution of operations already underway for King of Club’s regular coffee production on Palace Lane.

“Our kombucha right now is a little fizzy, a little carbonated,” Zaal said. “It’s refreshing. The flavor depends on the type of flavoring you add. We use multiple flavors.”

Zaal said kombucha beer can be found more on the West Coast.

Because it’s such a unique product to the area, the Joker Brewing team is working to hone its kombucha beer recipe, which doesn’t use hops or grain in the brewing process like typical beer. 

“It takes time to work on that product,” Zaal said, adding that Joker Brewing already has regulative approval to begin operations.

Joker Brewing does have a goal for its new product, however: Sour beer brewed in bourbon barrels.

“The sourness really complements what we’re doing and what we’re working with,” Zaal said. “That’s why we’re planning to focus on sour kombucha beer at first.”

Joker Brewing and King of Clubs doesn’t plan to neglect its existing coffee products at the Palace Lane facility. 

King of Clubs has been working on flavoring some coffee beans by aging them in barrels from the Williamsburg Winery, Copper Fox Distillery and other local businesses.

“It’ll be a great place for coffee lovers as well,” Zaal said.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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