#286: Brunch. Dinner. Grub. – Carton Brewing Company, Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
A pleasant story behind this review. Though I poured this beer into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass, the beer in the glass is most certainly not Corsendonk Christmas Ale. There’s a liquor store in my parts known as Joe Canal’s, and they have a pretty convenient station for filling growlers of various beers. While doing some Whosisbrew scouting, I noticed a Carton Brewing tap at the station, and the tap’s tractor beam effect pulled me right in. Not only did I get a growler of Carton’s “B.D.G,” I got a free Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass for pretty much no reason. Sweet. Anyway, B.D.G gets the spotlight today. It’s what the brewery calls a “country ale,” brewed with Aramis hops and checking in at 6% ABV. It’s designed as a beer to drink with food, but let’s see how it stands up on its own.
Aroma kept me sniffing for a good while. There’s a good amount going on, and everything is kind of folded in so it takes a bit to sort it out accordingly. I would say there’s definitely an herbal, earthy happening coming off the top, like walking through your mother’s herb garden and taking in scents of sage, parsley, basil, something of that sort. And then the breadiness is caught underneath that, with that caramelly base. Really an interesting aroma, and one you should spend some time with before sipping.
But you should sip, too, because this really is an intriguing beer. I see now why Carton opts for the “Country Ale” designation. I can’t really think of “style” with this beer because I’m not quite sure where you would put it. Biere de Garde? Loosely? Don’t even bother, just enjoy it. The herbal and earthy qualities of the aroma are tucked neatly into the body of the beer, playing a bit more of a supporting role relative to what the nose was picking up on. I think the malt bill does its muscley work once you start tasting it. There’s a slight caramel flavor to the body, but what I really pick up on (especially in the finish) is this thoroughly baked bread flavor. You can almost taste the flakiness, as if you’re breaking a crusty dinner roll in half and biting into it. Quite interesting. And you can see how a beer such as this would work with food. With the fullness of the body and the 6% alcohol level, it’s strong enough to stand up to most dishes, yet light enough to not overpower others.
The Verdict: For a beer that’s designed to consume with a meal, it makes for a wonderful stand-alone beer. Drinkable, yet quite complex. One you can easily sit and think about for a while.