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Spiked Yerba Mate Bar Moves Into Barrio Logan

Kové Hard Yerba Mate is now sharing space with Thorn Brewing

A new tenant at Thorn Brewing’s Acre of Awesome in Barrio Logan is bringing a new twist on a classic South American beverage to San Diego.

Kové Hard Yerba Mate, which offers 5 percent ABV hard yerba mate flavored and fermented with organic, all-natural ingredients on tap and in to-go four packs, is now occupying the outdoor area adjacent to Thorn’s brewing facility.

The San Diego-based company is helmed by CEO Alex Montelbano, CCO Ryder England, COO Josh Makler, and sales manager Dylan Ankeney; the three head operators have previous experience in hard tea drinks, having previously worked with local hard kombucha brewers Juneshine.

Montelbano shared with Eater San Diego his team had identified a gap in the market for the drink as more consumers became familiar with the traditional, non-alcoholic version of yerba mate.

“There wasn’t a hard version of (yerba mate) yet, so we wanted to create that natural fermented alcoholic drink,” he said.

Four cans of Kove Hard Yerba Mate on a cooler at the beach Facebook

Thorn Brewing founder Dennis O’Connor offered the Kové team the space while they were looking for a brewing facility, leading the Kove to take over a 1,600-square-foot outdoor area that features ample seating and is outfitted with plants and furniture made with reclaimed materials.

“He offered us empty tank space when things were slower on their production site during Covid so we did that,” Montelbano said.

For the tasting room’s recent grand opening, Kové featured six vegan-friendly and gluten-free flavors on tap: sweet peach heat, mojito, hibiscus paloma, lemonade iced tea, passion berry and mango colada, along with Thorn Brewing’s perennially popular Barrio Lager beer. Pours of Kové’s yerba mate are available in pints and flights of three flavors of your choice.

Food is available from neighboring HottMess Pizza and Sideyard BBQ, also located within Thorn’s facility, via QR code forms on the table.

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