Update: Gyst closed its regular restaurant functions. We visited earlier this fall. While the food and beverages were excellent, the “no tipping” notes on the menu were gone and the prices were about the same.
At any moment I expected the bartender to tell Jake, “I’m sorry sir, but we have to cut you off.
“Can you get cut off at a kombucha bar?” I wondered, as he ordered another glass.
Jake’s best described as a beverage enthusiast. He loves all kinds of beverage, from coffee to tea to kombucha to beer. His favorite non-alcoholic drink is definitely kombucha, something I haven’t learned how to make yet. As long as we were at a fermentation bar, he wanted to try everything.
The first time I tasted or even heard of kombucha was in herbal medicine class seven years ago. Occasionally we had class at a woman named Luann’s house and her fridge was always stocked with pitchers of homemade kombucha in many flavors. It was effervescent and tasted of tart vinegar and fruit.
Most every bottled version I buy from stores taste too sweet. It’s supposed to be punchy. It’s also really expensive. Like I said, I really need to learn how to make kombucha. I still pronounce it wrong, too.
Could it be possible that the best happy hour doesn’t even revolve around alcohol? At Gyst Fermentation, the answer is yes.
(Technically there is trace of alcohol in kombucha as a byproduct of fermentation).
We tried almost all of the non-alcoholic drinks at Gyst. First, there were two flavors of komucha; a lovely dry-hopped citron flavor from the tap and second flavor scented with clove. The tart fruit shrub soda was as tangy as the kombucha. Shrubs are typically fruit syrups preserved with vinegar and sugar.
And then there were the salty drinks. We curiously sipped a magenta glass of salty kvass made from fermented beet brine and a shot of kimchi brine. It’s never occurred to me to drink kimchi brine. When it’s this good, I want a whole glass. It would make the world’s best Bloody Mary.
You can enjoy lots of nibbles at Gyst’s happy hour, most of which involve a food created with some type of fermentation. The Sandor combines creamy peanut butter and kimchi topped with chopped peanuts. At happy hour, you can enjoy a smaller version (yet, still a generous portion) called the Sandor Snack for only $5. Kimchi and peanut butter might sound strange, but if you like spicy peanut sauces, you will like this dish.
This week, my opening greeting to people at work was, “Hey, have you been to Gyst?!”
We can’t wait to come back.
Gyst also offers a variety of charcuterie boards, dessert coffee, tea, beer, and wine. There is no tipping at Gyst. Instead, the restaurant has included gratuity into their menu prices. In fact, when we paid with our credit card, the receipt didn’t even offer a tip line. Our menus stated that they donate any additional “tip” to Appetite for Change.