Four-packs of Boat will be available exclusively at Carton's taproom during tour hours, with a limit of two cases per person per day. Sales are for takeout only, meaning you cannot crack open a can of Boat and drink it at the brewery.
The beer is emblazoned with a label created by John Glavasich, who bested 34 entries in a design contest the brewery held months back. Iron Heart has canned for Manayunk Brewing outside Philadelphia, and Westfield River Brewing in Massachusetts. The company has plans to can for Spring House Brewing in Lancaster, Pa., and KelSo Brewery in Brooklyn in mid-September.
Boat will remain available in draft, and Carton Brewing intends to can the beer again. However, the frequency of future runs is – no pun intended – fluid. (The brewery has no plans to contract out production of Boat, or any of its other beers, to enable packaging, or for any other reasons.)
"We operate at capacity and aren't going to let the places down that have committed to us along the way," brewery co-founder Augie Carton says. "For the time being, we will can when we can, and sell cans when we can. As we figure out more capacity, more cans will be part of it. Until then, the freelance nature of Iron Heart means we can do this as it suits us, which is how we like things."
Years after brands like Oskar Blues and Sly Fox put canned craft beer on the shelf, the aluminum containers have become a burgeoning segment of the craft beer industry, growing substantially in favor among both breweries and beer drinkers.
Portability, air-tightness, and their ability to block hops-spoiling ultraviolet light are among the reasons brewers and beer drinkers like cans. The environmental friendliness of aluminum is a factor as well.
For Carton Brewing, canned beer has always been part of the brewery's vision, which also embraces an individualism, a dedication to doing things a little bit different, even coloring outside the lines (peanut butter in your porter, anyone?). And to that end, Boat is very much part of Carton Brewing's foundation.
Coming well ahead of the current trend of sessionable India pale ales, Boat, first released in August 2011 as draft, staked out ground as a hoppy beer that spoke the language of double IPA, at a strength that would not compromise recreation or getting yard chores done.
Having that beer available in a can, Augie says, completes the picture, while the 16-ounce portion provides a measure that plays to the beer's complexity.
"We said we (were) going to make a series of session beers, starting with one that should appeal to the palate of double IPA drinkers," Augie says. "Part of that is it being in a package that can sit next to a lawnmower or on the roof of a dugout, or anywhere else you will have a couple beers in sequence.
"Boat is about sessionability more than low-alcohol-ness/IPA-ishness. Sessionability is largely about drinkability over time. Boat, and all our beers, are about what happens in the glass through time and temperature changes of the event or outing."