Q&A with energy food startups Bearded Brothers, Munk Pack, Pat’s Backcountry Beverages

Bearded BrothersMorgan Tilton

Munk Pack Garage Grown Gear

Whether fly fishing under bluebird skies, undertaking an epic backpacking trip, or jetting from the office to yoga, active lifestyles require on-the-go pocket fuel.

Good energy foods need to be delicious, densely packed with nutritious calories, and they need to be real – made with fresh grown-from-the-earth ingredients and unprocessed flavors.

We unwrapped a handful of new outdoor energy foods. Here, we review a few and share behind-the-scenes interviews with the recipe holders.

Bearded Brothers

Bearded Brothers Energy Food

The Recipe: Two active, outdoorsy brothers (with beards) in Austin, Texas, launched their own snack food company to offer bars that are a whole list of goodness: certified organic, non-GMO, raw, vegan, and gluten- and soy-free.


Q&A with Cofounder Caleb (small beard)

Bearded Brothers

All-time favorite snack: Pizza-flavored combos…in Junior High School—but now that I make an effort to eat organic non-GMO foods I lean towards corn chips and salsa. My favorite salsa is a brand called Mateo’s Gourmet Salsa made out of Frisco, Texas. It’s my go-to snack after a long, hard day of work.

Next snack bar flavor to be created: I hope to break out of the snack bars and create yummy seasoned nuts and seeds. I would also like to eventually create a healthy energy gel that isn’t just a processed sweetener. In my early days of experimenting with raw foods I would make “shot blocks” out of dates, lemon juice, and sunflower seeds. I’d like to make something similar in gel format, but time will tell.

Favorite outdoors setting for enjoying a snack bar: Definitely while rock climbing. I have a huge passion for multi pitch trad climbing, but now that I’m a father of two and running a business I find it harder to get in long days of climbing. The perfect day would be full day of climbing with an alpine start to the day, topping out near sunset, and enjoying a delicious Bearded Brothers bar on the peak.

Where the passion for consuming (and manufacturing) healthy, organic foods comes from: It all started when Chris (the other brother) got me interested in raw foods. I pretty much became vegetarian overnight and saw dramatic improvements in my health. Ever since then I’ve been into having healthy portable snacks. It’s always hard finding healthy foods when you travel. One day, I’d like for our bars to be found in every gas station across the nation, so that anybody on a road trip can find healthy, tasty noms on the go. My ultimate vision is that finding healthy foods when traveling wouldn’t be so difficult.


Q&A with Cofounder Chris (big beard)

All-time favorite snack: Avocados. All day, every day. On salads, with chips, in tacos, with veggies, straight out the avocado with salt and lime, or mixed with cacao to make chocolate pudding. I'm addicted.

Next snack bar flavor to be created: An avocado bar. Ha! Seriously though, something with kiwi's—which is one of my favorite fruits. Not sure if either of these will happen, but we can all dream, right?

Favorite outdoors setting for enjoying a snack bar: First, hiking in the mountains with my three sons. After a long day of exploring we reach the summit and take in the beauty of the sunset and scenery while devouring Bearded Brothers bars. Second, during long disc golf tournament round(s) and the feeling that the energy bars give me to compete at a high level.

Where the passion for consuming (and manufacturing) healthy, organic foods comes from: A quote from Ann Wigmore has always stuck with me: "Food can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison." Food is fuel. It should charge you up to help you conquer the day. I love giving someone a bar who isn't into healthy foods and seeing their faces light up when they see and say how good it tastes. This helps keep me motivated. Another passion we have and stand behind is using organic and non-GMO ingredients, which are safer for consumption and the environment, plus all of our packages are compostable! I want to give people the ability to choose a better snacking alternative: something that is tasty and healthy.


GGG’s Dish on Bearded Brothers

With creative, fun names, the bros have invented a load of flavors. Here’s the list starting with our favorites in descending order: Bodacious Blueberry Vanilla, Mighty Maca Chocolate, Colossal Coconut Mango, Fabulous Ginger Peach, Radical Raspberry Lemon, and Outrageous Orange Kale. Every Bearded Brothers bar is dense, tasty, with no ingredients overpowering and no flavors that are too sweet. Not overly sticky but absolutely moist. Plus, they are the perfect size and caloric count for a snack bar. And, the packaging is compostable. Ten out of ten.


Munk Pack

Munk Pack

The Recipe: While adventuring throughout their corporate careers, Munk Pack co-founders Michelle Leutzinger and Tobias Glienke were hard-pressed for time—making eating on the road a necessity—and had trouble finding affordable, healthy fixings. Inspired by the oatmeal and fresh fruit smoothies they’d make at home, the couple decided to package their recipes in a pouch to share with others.


Q&A with Co-founder Michelle Leutzinger

Behind the scenes of Munk Pack: We wanted to create something that was based on our own lifestyle and it was a process that evolved. Primarily the inspiration was our own experimenting in the kitchen when we were struggling during our corporate careers to find healthy food on the go. Breakfast is really important and we would run out without food. We were making smoothies and oatmeal at home and putting it into containers that we could take with us.

Why the Pouch is Awesome: Pouch format allows you to keep these nonperishables without preservables, 12 months shelf stable. Some of the goos in pouches have that sugar energy substitute, so they are perishable, but the ones that are fruit and grain based are not perishable.

Running a business with a life partner: I don’t think most people could survive on the personal and professional relationship. For us, it’s made us stronger in both aspects. From the business side, I have complete trust in him. He is an extension of myself. On the personal side, he inspires me and I admire him in my professional life as well.

Balancing the partnership: Initially, it seemed like we were doing everything together, then by time demand we ended up dividing responsibilities—but not in traditional sense. Tobias has quite a knack for marketing, and I educate myself about the business side. The division of responsibilities happened naturally. It’s nice to have each other there to make decision more efficiently and bounce ideas off of each other.

Central meaning of Munk Pack: Munk Pack means something more to us than the product that we produce—it’s about inspiring others to be fit, active and to eat healthy while being on the go, and to lead an adventurous lifestyle. Being fit and healthy and on the go should not be a contradiction.


GGG’s Dish on Munk Pack

Adding oatmeal into each smoothie creates a savory balance to the sugary fruits while also satiating and cutting off hunger. Texture-wise, Munk Pack is not quite a smoothie and not quite oatmeal—it’s somewhere in the middle, and it’s definitely not a goo. The oatmeal-cinnamon flavor—Apple Quinoa Cinnamon—is the most mellow and savory. Raspberry Coconut is so sweet it’s almost bitter. Blueberry Acai Flax is middle-of-the-road of sweetness. All three are delicious. Plus, the pouch is resealable. Seven out of ten—just create more flavors!


Pat’s Backcountry Beverages

Pat's Backcountry Beverages

The Recipe: Pat’s Backcountry Beverages invented a way to enjoy a beer or soda 20 miles from nowhere. The system involves a carbonator bottle along with brew or soda. At your destination, add water and follow the directions (meticulously) through a process that takes about 10 minutes.


Q&A with Founder Pat Tatera

Pat's Backcountry Beverages

All-time favorite backcountry refreshment: My ultimate backcountry refreshment is a Pat’s Pale Rail mixed with ice-cold rocky mountain spring water.

Next beer to be made into a concentrate: We’re currently developing an American style lager called Pat’s American Logger, due out this summer 2015.

Favorite adventure setting for enjoying a brew: There is something very satisfying about a round of cheers on top of a mountain!

Is there a potential for other microbreweries to adopt the HBT (hybrid brewing technology) process?

There is incredible potential for other breweries to adopt the HBT process, which retains the original character and taste profile of the beer while reducing the environmental impact of both the brewing process and the transportation around the world. It also allows for a truly portable pint!


GGG’s Dish on Pat's Backcountry Beverages

On the first try, we did not follow the directions to a T. The beer was totally flat. Second attempt: we meticulously followed the directions (including locking and unlocking the lid when advised, lifting the lever to 45 or 90 degree angles, and lifting lever slowly) and the Pat's Backcountry Beverages coke was carbonated and delightful. Using the carbonator bottle feels like a playful science experiment and is one of the coolest all-ages toys for the backcountry. The lock-unlock clip is a little tough to maneuver. Eight out of ten.


Enjoy this article? Check out 5 companies making good food for backpacking and hiking.


Bearded brothersMunk packPat's backcountry beveragesTrends & top 10

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