What to Drink This Weekend: Carton Boat Beer

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Photo Matthew Feddersen

Brooklyn beer taps are crowded with IPA mash-ups lately: black IPAs, Belgian IPAs, East Coast IPAs that taste like West Coast IPAs. It’s dizzying. Now another hybrid is making the rounds. Call it a…kolsch IPA?

The brewery is Carton, from the Jersey Shore. And the beer is Boat, a superlight, refreshing ale brewed with Kolsch yeast, but liberally spiked with various American hop strains. For more on the Kolsch style, see my spiel from June. But in short, like the Cologne originals, Boat is superlight, straw-toned and a hint sweet. Unlike the originals, the modest body gives way to an intense hop wallop akin to a California IPA. There’s mild citrus that comes through as mostly grapefruit and a crisp refined bitterness that lingers like a tannic red wine. Boat is creative, but shows restraint — a welcome approach in a culture that tends toward extreme.

Carton is a young brewery. They just opened up last year in Atlantic Highlands—a quaint seaside town known for boating, fishing and other seaside goings on—but they’re already making serious headway in the New York market thanks primarily to Boat’s rapid reception by beer bars, retailers and obsessives. Recently I’ve spotted the beer at Mission Dolores, Pete’s Alehouse and Bierkraft, and those of you who, like myself, spend way too much time on the Brooklyn bar circuit shouldn’t have any trouble finding a pint. And another. And another.

It’s easy to get caught up in Boat, especially when it’s warm out. In beer speak, it’s highly sessionable. But at just 4.2% ABV, thankfully it’s not all that dangerous.