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Saturday, 20 July 2013 05:31

Carton Brewing: And so it Gose

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Carton BarrelsWith American brewers and craft beer, anything goes.

At Carton Brewing on Sunday (July 21), it's gose (pronounced GOH-suh) ...

And clams. 

The Atlantic Highlands brewery, soon to notch a second anniversary as a member of the Garden State's craft brewing industry, will release its take on the tart, mildly salty German wheat beer, probably best known from the Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof brand in the tall flask-like bottles found on the shelves of liquor stores with ambitious import sections.

Digger – the name of Carton's 4% ABV rendition – is a mid-summer, über small-batch brew, perfect for long hot days and sultry late-July evenings.

Leipziger GoseThough a German style, the folks at Carton opted to go where Germans wouldn't, even if gose, thanks to the use of coriander and salt, dodges Germany's brewing adherence to the yeast-barley-hops-water purity mantra.

Carton made Digger with lemongrass and clams sourced from Bahrs Landing, a landmark bayshore restaurant in neighboring Highlands that Carton brewed The Wit Whale (witbier) for back in the spring.

In a brewery video about Digger, brewery founder Augie Carton notes the themes that Digger summons: oyster stouts, the fishing and clamming heritage of the brewery's host town, and summer brews in general.

A stout probably would have been like wearing wool suit in July. But gose, Augie notes in the nearly two-minute video, fit as a good stand-in: a lighter "fun, fresh summer beer flavor."

The addition of clams during some of the boil spoke to the salt signature of gose and lent some mineral content to complement the brewery's local water supply. Green Bullet hops (a New Zealand variety) remind you that Digger is beer. The lemongrass suggests enjoying steamed clams, that "it's July, I'm down by the water having beer and clams," Augie says.

Carton Brewing was among New Jersey's brewery class of 2011, a year that saw five start-ups get licensed. The brewery entered the state's craft beer market that August with its signature hoppy kölsch-like Boat and 077XX double IPA. In the nearly two years since, Carton has made exploring flavors and aromas – green apples and wasabi and trail mix, for instance – another part of its identity, working those elements into the beer, not the beer around them.

Digger finds Carton adding a chapter to Jersey brewers who have made the beer style that's synonymous with the city of Leipzig in eastern Germany, or who have brewed with bivalves.

Triumph brewpub in Princeton explored gose going back five years, while Flying Fish brewed an oyster stout with Delaware Bay shuckers for its second Exit Series beer in 2009.

Triumph's brewer, Tom Stevenson, says he was drawn to gose as a offering for brewpub's taps because of the style's relative obscurity and the element of salt as a flavor. The style also represented the prospect of something besides a hefeweizen as a summer seasonal. For a brew that's well off the beaten path, Toms versions have been well received by Triumph patrons, many of whom have been left guessing at how to pronounce the name (again, it's GOH-suh).

"I hadn't even tasted a real live gose before I brewed it, so there was a bit of guesswork involved," Tom says. "The actual recipe has evolved over the years, but its always been a medium-gravity, unfiltered wheat beer with little or no hefeweizen characteristics, somewhat tart, and flavored with coriander and salt."

Read 17001 times Last modified on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 00:34

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