New Jersey at Its Finest: Kane and Carton Brewing Companies
As soon as the sun starts shining I get spring fever. A day sitting on the couch just doesn't cut it anymore and I have to get out! Two Saturdays ago, Nick and I hopped in the car and, for the first time, turned our car east towards the Shore instead of southwest towards Philadelphia. It all started over dinner that Friday when we went out for dinner and a beer. The beer I happened to be drinking was Carton Brewing Company's Boat Beer and Nick and I launched into a discussion of New Jersey brewery. Which turned into a "hey, let's check them out!" And we were on our way. We turned our car in the direction of the Shore since two breweries down there are only about 30 minutes from one another: Kane Brewing in Ocean Township and Carton Brewing in Atlantic Highlands. Our first stop was Kane Brewing. Before heading there, I only knew a little bit about Kane. During Philly beer week, I had a sip of one of their beers that was hardly outstanding. So I was excited to find out a little bit more about them...until I realized it was the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day. Talk about crowded and I nearly tripped over a baby in a carrier. I don't know about you but my baby will be safely off the floor, if I happen to be bringing my baby to a bar or brewery.
Kane's brewing operation is still on the small side so it's basically just a warehouse with a front office space. Part of the office space they converted into a bar. There was a whole process of finding the lady that sells the beer tokens, get the tokens, stand in the correct line (not the growler line!) and then finally sip your beer. I want to go back when it is less crowded so I can get a good look around and try more beers. Most of the beers were dark, super dark. The thing that bugged me about Kane was there were no descriptions of the beers. I like to know what I'm getting myself into, you know? Since most of the beers looked dark like stouts and porters, I was more hesitant to try them. When I asked for the "Citrus Zest" beer I was really surprised when she handed me a really dark beer. It was okay but I'm definitely a light beer girl. I really liked the Head High IPA they were pouring and was almost tempted to buy one of their 1 liter growlers because they were like really cute wine bottles but held back. Sometimes you just can't buy every beer you come across. At least that's what I tell myself.
Next up was Carton Brewing Company which was about 30 minutes north of Kane's location in Ocean Township. If I thought Kane was small, Carton is tiny. Funny enough it's located across the street from an elementary school but don't worry, they have a special filtration/ventilation system that keeps toxins from going into the air. We had to take a "tour" which was basically a few steps around their small operation but it was cool to see how a small brewery really gets to work making quality beer. I've always been fascinated by the way factories work and love going on tours of factories big or small. Thank goodness I've surrounded myself with people who can handle my odd loves and hobbies.After the quick tour, we headed upstairs to a little loft space for drinking. It was kind of like drinking in someone's cozy attic and, while there were quite a few people there, it didn't feel crowded. Again there was a token-buying system (just take my money and give me a beer already!) but they were cute orange poker chips so I was okay with that. The price was right and we got six sample beers each and I was feeling good after that. I loved Carton's beers; they had so many light and refreshing choices like their Boat Beer and toasted deliciousness like Red Rye Returning. Can you tell I loved my visit to Carton? Nick has heard multiple times that I'd like to go back...soon.
See, there are good things in New Jersey! While New Jersey breweries have yet to rival the power of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania breweries, I'm excited that they're starting to make their presence known. So if you happen to be in New Jersey and love a good beer, check out either Kane or Carton, they are so so good.