The good people at Bison Brewing recently sent me some samples to try.* The IPA and Imperial Brown were decent renditions of classic beer styles; the chocolate stout was tasty indeed, with the cocoa powder added to the mash playing the same role it does in a good molé sauce: added depth but not an odd chocolate-y flavor where none should be. The gingerbread ale was not at all sweet, just spicy, and instead of being as weird as I thought it would be just reminded me of an old family favorite I sometimes bake up as Christmas: gingerbread made with Guinness in it.
Honestly, though, I was most interested in the packaging. I get a lot of food and drink samples sent to me. I've come to expect and accept the styrofoam forms, bubble-wrapped ice packs, and other "professional" packing these samples usually involve. The Bison Brewery 4-pack came simply thrown in a box with a mix of shredded paper and packaging peanuts that looked as if they'd seen better days.
And so they had. Included with the materials describing the brewery and its organic beer was this note, explaining that part of being green at Bison is using not recycled packaging materials nor even simply re-using packaging materials at hand, but also seeking out scavenged packaging materials:
It says, in part, "Please excuse the somewhat shabby nature of out packaging material.... We simply scavenge and reuse... shoe boxes, produce boxes, "peanuts," etc."
This is how we pack things at my house - we re-use stuff that other stuff comes in. I love the idea that it's catching on at a company level. Check out The Story of Stuff or Scavenging for more information and inspiration.
* Disclosure: As is common in the industry, review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy