Monday, March 5, 2012

Helping the Environment, One Beer at a Time

“Recycle, Reduce, Reuse.  We can close the loop….”  If anyone who read this column was a child in the Eighties you might remember this little ditty about recycling that would come on TV during commercial breaks for popular network cartoon shows.  Needless to say, it was successful gimmick. Because to this day I cannot avoid getting it caught in my head in an endless loop whenever I think about reusing something for the sake of the environment.

With that in mind, I wanted to say a special “thank you” to The Filling Station in Chelsea Market, the impetus for that annoying song getting stuck in my head at least a couple of times a week now. 

But as much as the recycling song irritates me, I love the set up at The Filling Station enough that I keep going back week after week.  The concept is one lots of people can get behind.  Select a bottle of oil or vinegar, jar of gourmet salt, growler or glass pint jar of beer, and you can bring it back to get refilled at a discount. 

The refillable beer growler is nothing new, of course, employed by brewpubs around the country.  But The Filling Station picked up on the fact that not every one of their customers might be willing and able to drink a 64 oz. growler in a night.  To serve those more casual beer drinkers looking to purchase a draft brew on the way home from work, last fall they introduced branded pint jars complete with screw on lids. 

John and I have gotten pretty into this concept.  The beer menu, though not long, changes frequently, giving us the opportunity to sample a lot beers we probably would have a hard time finding on tap unless at the most diehard beer bars.  And the pint jars mean we can sample a couple at a time and still have room for a glass of wine with dinner.

Recent selections have ranged from standbys such as Allagash White and Lagunitas Czech Pilsner to locals like Bengali Tiger from Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery and two-man operation Barrier Brewery that puts out a might fine Belgian Ale.

As we’ve amassed a collection of the Filling Station glass pint jars that we sometimes repurpose for water or cocktail glasses, I can’t help but patting myself on the back.  With a little help from The Filling Station, we’re just doing our part to help the environment by reusing those pint jars.  This was a lesson instilled in childhood- even when it comes to beer, just like the song says, we can close the loop if we just Recycle, Reduce, and Reuse.  

Amy Powell is a food and travel writer based in New York City. She is a graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration and the French Culinary Institute. Follow her on Twitter @amymariepowell

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