Carton Brewing Company

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Pale Ale - American
Ranked #1,248
Ranked #27,069
3.8 | pDev: 8.68%
Carton Brewing Company
New Jersey, United States
Very Good
Notes: Like the tension and relief of a day spent flitting between laying on sand under the beating sun and bobbing on the ocean’s cool surf, summer session drinking needs leisurely contrast. With Beach we find that midpoint where Kolsch yeasts fruity character matches its lean dryness and where an amber’s roundness gets pulled taught by cracker notes. The hops’ fruity aromatics flow, and the bitterness ebbs, with a swash of orange zest to be clean and lean, bitter and bright. Drink Beach and be chill.
Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 100 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ichorNet
ichorNet from Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gotta say, this beer seems very inspired based on the description. Something like a combination Kölsch/amber/session pale ale with orange zest? Hell yeah. I mean, we're almost in Fall now but we have a few Summery days left in New England, as far as I can tell, so let's get this in my glass without further ado and enjoy!

The pour here definitely has nothing to do with the "amber" they mention in the description, but I kinda expected them to be talking more about the malt character than the color/appearance. As such, this is a moderately hazy golden/blonde pale color with a thin but retentive white head. Some spotty lace and a hazy surface are initially slightly enticing to my eyes, but nothing about this stands out completely in my opinion. Looks alright, but not spectacular.

We have a beer up here in New England that is sorta similar to this in concept; Baxter's Summer Swelter. It's also a Summer session pale ale, but with with Kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass added. The overall scent is somewhat similar to that beer, but there's definitely more of an orange peel note here. They're similar in hoppiness, with this one throwing out some nice grapefruit and sticky grassy/green resinous elements along with some light herbal touches. Definite wheaty malt presence here as well.

On the tongue, Beach is light, crisp, and refreshing, but it doesn't sacrifice any of the satisfying fruity hop notes or the orange peel adjunct elements, as I expected it wouldn't. Indeed, the mid-palate is crackery and almost mineral-driven with a full-bodied maltiness that quickly dissolves to the power of the herbal and slightly-grassy/citrusy hops. This tastes similar to the beer I mentioned above; even the intense hoppy finish it very similar, right down to how dry and refreshing it is! Good stuff.

Beach is very nicely-made with a quenching feel, but actually comes across a little fuller-bodied than a 4% beer should feel, if you catch my drift. It doesn't actually affect my enjoyment of the beer that much, but I think it should be mentioned. It's almost a full percent lower than the other beer I've been comparing it to, but I think the other one feels more apropos of the sub-style at play here. This is really nice and hoppy... kind of a midpoint between a session pale, an APWA, an herbal beer, and a Kölsch without going too far in any direction. Fun stuff. Maybe by July next year we'll get Carton on the regular and I can enjoy this during Summer proper.

Aug 31, 2019
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

kolsch yeast and orange zest in a low alcohol pint can of crushable beer. i know they also make one called boat beer, which is somewhat ironic, because i enjoyed these on a boat, not those, a generous and unexpected gift from a neighbor! the beer is great, perfect in this setting, super summery, and interesting in a lot of ways, a whole lot more going on than is normally the case in a summer ale type. the orange is subtle enough to not make this drink like a fruit beer, but it adds some citrus essence and a little bitterness on the finish, while the yeast makes this much more well rounded and dynamic than a flavorless ale strain would, i think its a really smartly built beer. it has a little malt sweetness in the middle, a honey note, and some grassiness to the hops on the finish, a neat blend of styles overall, and one that is ultimately refreshing when its ice cold. nice to have a light and drinkable beer that obviously has some thought put into it, and that isnt another run of the mill session type. id love to get my hands on some more beer from these guys, every time i drink one i am impressed, its just far too infrequently. this was a wonderful refreshing, a good beer on a hangover, and one that really put me in good spirits!

Aug 23, 2019
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JerzDevl2000 from New Jersey

3.52/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fruit / Vegetable beer? Kolsch? American Pale Ale? I had no idea what this was as I poured it out and let it settled, as the head was quite thick and the body quite light. Sure, this can was dated 6/9/17 with "START @38F JOURNEY BEGAN" written above it and this could have been mistaken for a Radler, given how little booze was in it. In the end, this was a session beer that was indeed chill but not the first brew that I'd want to chill out with...

This had a light pour to it as it looked and felt like a Kolsch when it filled up my glass. A muted tangerine with plenty of head, there wasn't any lacing to be seen once I started to work my way through this. Light citrus, mild funk, white grape, and orange zest filled the nose as the taste contained all of those notes as well. Dry, zesty, and full of grass, this felt like a spring or summer beer that needed just a bit more flavor and heft to it. Hard to discern the malt and the carbonation could have been a bit more lively as a dry and chalky lime mouthfeel and aftertaste took hold once this fully warmed up.

Hardly any booze here and it would be quite easy to quaff can after can of this, even though I only had one in my stash. For the beach, this may do but I'd sooner reach for a session IPA like the Founders All Day than this - which isn't necessarily a knock on this beer. Worth a go once if you're a fan of Carton or just want something to mindlessly sip while watching the waves lap as the sun sets...

Jun 05, 2019
Photo of JBowenGeorgia
JBowenGeorgia from Georgia

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've enjoyed all if Carton's offerings that I've had in the past so I was excited for a new one. I usually shy away from sessionable beers but here goes.
This one pours a somewhat hazy golden orange with a finger of white head.
Citrus on the nose, pithy orange.
Taste follows, pithy orange with a bit of malt peeking through.
Light to medium body, spritzy carbonation.
Overall this would be a good summer drinker.

Oct 31, 2018
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HorseheadsHophead from New York

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L: Cloudy orange juice yellow with a small soapy white head. Fizzy bubbly retention. Spotty lacing lingers.

S: Orange zest, diluted orange juice/Sunny D, pineapple, lemon zest, grass, cracker.

T: Big orange peel and orange oils throughout. Cracker and white bread malt. Hints of mango, peach, and pineapple. Diluted orange juice and Sunny Delight flavor overall, creeping up to a punchy bitterness of fresh cut green grass and orange pith, with lingering orange peel bitterness.

F: Medium-minus. Smooth and creamy upfront, well carbonated, then trailing off into thinness, but not overly watery. Finishes crisp, clean, and lightly dry, with a touch of lingering stickiness, but mostly quite clean.

O: A really nice session ale. Very flavorful, and not too watery for its abv. Recommended.

Oct 10, 2018
Photo of Tony210
Tony210 from New Jersey

3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Good beer, very very light (4%abv), light flavor or orange, hops are very faint. Good session beer.

Draft at The Seafarer, Highlands NJ
3.75 rating

Sep 15, 2018
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Carton Brewing Co. "Beach"
16 fl. oz. can, coded "[email protected] CANNED ON (??)/9/18"
$3.49 @ Roger Wilco, Pennsauken, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: It's poured a cloudy golden body beneath a finger thick head of white foam. The head seems to be dropping already but it looks like it might leave some nice lacing behind, we'll see. The aroma is citrusy with orange and lemon. It's not bold but you won't miss it. The flavor follows with some cracker-like malt added in, and some grassiness in the dry, somewhat bitter finish. Orange lingers in the aftertaste for some time - I guess the added orange zest paid off! In the mouth it's light to light-medium in body and gently crisp. As a "session ale" it works although I find it slightly bitter for what it is. Looking back, that lacing never did materialize although there was some at the outset. I think they named it right, this would be a good beer for the beach.
Review# 6,229

Sep 11, 2018
Photo of JRed
JRed from New Jersey

4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy sunrise with white head. Aroma of fresh citrus, lemon skin, honey, grass. Tastes of lemon skin, grass, honey, thick citrus, light bitterness. Big bodied.

Aug 20, 2018
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Jacobier10 from New Jersey

3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On-tap @ Beef Trust Kitchen & Bar in Pompton Lakes, NJ.

Very hazy/cloudy, gold to light amber in color. Average white head. Strong citrus aroma, mostly orange or tangerine with some light tropical fruit in the background. Some light crackery malt in the flavor, but balance is decidedly towards the hops. Bitter and dry finish. Medium bodied, it feels heavier than the 4% ABV.

My biggest knock on the beer is that it's a little one dimensional. Usually, I get more complexity from a Carton beer, but this just screams orange citrus for the duration of the drink. I do like that the orange feels like a genuine product of the hops and not an additive to the beer.

Aug 04, 2018
Photo of Act25
Act25 from New Jersey

3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a) The appearance and aroma zing here, for a more satisfying "light" beer experience.
t) Taste follows smell with orange zest, honey, hops, flowers, and a clean clear cleansing finish.
f) Scrubbing, light, well fizzed as it should be, slightly tang, aspirin astringency that works.

Old: Simple, clean, but too light for me.

Nov 10, 2017
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Vetbidder from Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Slight colored opaque look to this beer with a slight head from tap. Strong scent of citrus on the nose of this brew. Similar citrus flavor (I called it tangerine like not knowing what exactly was in it) with a biscuit malty finish. Just under medium in feel with high carbonation. Somewhat bitter but pretty tasty I would say.

Oct 01, 2017
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Wiffler27 from New Jersey

3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours straw gold with a solid head, looks very light

smell is bland, some orange zest but not much

flavor is clean and simple, nice orange zest to it. sweet and citrusy but not overpowering. obviously a small beer so it's easy to drink. nothing special about it but it isn't bad either.

Sep 04, 2017
Photo of tigg924
tigg924 from Massachusetts

3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours hazy, light yellow in color with 1/3 inch head. Taste is big orange zest and pale malt. Slightly bitter, light bodied, with moderate carbonation. Makes for an above average, tasty, and fruity pale ale. I prefer other Carton beers but this is solid.

Aug 23, 2017
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orcrist_cleaver from New York

3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: A very, very pale straw. Looked like white grape juice, or champagne when light filters thru. Has a certain speckled haziness that I suspect is the zest.

S: Sweet honey glazed biscuit malt, sweet valencia orange, sweet florals, sweet citrus.

M: Dry, tingling carbonation. Refreshing. Light feel/body. Everything on point here.

T: Crackery malt really dominates first sip. Then, some peach and mandarin. Time may have muted bitterness, but has the aura of a mossy pine tree about it.

Aug 11, 2017
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So is this Boat with orange zest? Maybe.

It pours a light clear orange color, with a small head and lots of lacing.

This smells simple but nice, Kolsch fruity yeast, grassy hops, orange zest. Very inviting.

This isn't quite as good as Boat, but it hits the mark for anyway for me. There's a nice subtle fruity character from the yeast and a brightness from the orange, with bitter grassy flavors on the finish. It's simplistic but very tasty.

This is light bodied and very crisp, with a normal carbonation level.

This is really nice- Carton makes some really solid beers.

Jul 31, 2017
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Eamonn-Cummings3 from New York

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz can into a speiglau IPA glass.

Look is a hazy pale yellow with a white bubbly head.

Aroma is definite orange peel with a biscuit malt backbone.

Taste is a little thin but the malt and orange complement nicely.

Jul 18, 2017
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Stevedore from Oregon

3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz can, served in a snifter glass (mostly to gauge colour). Pours a slightly hazy golden body, slight copper hue, one finger thick white head, good retention and bits of lacing. Smell is orange zest, biscuit, a bit of grain, some floral notes. Straightforward, not too much going on here. Flavour is fairly straightforward as well, with a mild orange zest bitterness, light citrus, mild biscuit, cracker, touch of lemon. Mouthfeel is lighter bodied, appropriate for a 4% ale, good carbonation, fair depth, works well as a session beer. I don't love it, but I can see the appeal to drinking this one while mowing the lawn or at the beach.

Jul 10, 2017
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Billolick from New York

3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tall can, stamped on the bottom is "Journey began 6/9/17" about a month in the can...pretty fresh

The pour here is heavily hazed, lighter, yellowy amber, under a looser bubble light khaki cap that leaves a thicker colar and moderate thicker bits and bars of lacing.

Bright citric nose with lemons coming to mind.

Bright and flavorful, more lemons, some lime....enjoyable and sessionable, citric ale...could see drinking these all day on a boat or yes at the beach...worthy

Jul 10, 2017
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EMH73 from New York

2.66/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pours a slightly cloudy yellow with copious effervescent bubbles and a well retained head that is leaving a nice amount of lacing. Smells of lightly roasted malts and oranges. Taste is absolutely dominated by very bitter orange zest. As a matter of fact, that is all I can taste. Light bodied and well carbonated with a slightly dry mouth feel. Unfortunately I'm finding this quite unenjoyable and it has resulted in a drain pour.

Jul 09, 2017
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SmashAdams from New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I was thrown off by the descriptions of this beer. I was expecting light, crisp, refreshing Kolsch style similar to Boat with the addition of orange. Instead I got a hazy, hoppy, pale/session IPA with almost no orange flavor. It was just ok. nb

Jul 07, 2017
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IvoryFoxhole from Virginia

3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. can dated 6/9/17. Poured into Teku glass.

L: Slightly hazy light amber. 2F head with poor retention, does not leave much lacing or ring.

S: Very little of anything, to be honest. A faint whiff of orange and a little bit of cracker malt.

T: Some zesty orange peel, a little bit of Kolsch yeast, a little bit of cracker malt, and that's it. Not a whole lot to it. Finish slightly bitter.

F: Light bodied, pretty aggressively carbonated and I think that's right. Crisp and refreshing for sure, with good drying. In balance and constructed nicely.

O: Would rather drink Boat, given the choice between the two.

Jul 05, 2017
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DEdesings57 from New Jersey

3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not sure how to rate this really. It's def not carton's best and doesnt touch boat beer but it's a nice session thats super solid for sure. I think an 85 is what this beer should have. It really does deliver on the orange flavor for sure, both in the aroma and in the taste, but I would not call it a zest. More like orange marmalade, or and orange flavor. Wish it had more of that fresh citrus peel zest instead of this orange flavor but its still solid.

Jul 04, 2017
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NiceTaps from New Jersey

4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can with some "journey began 6/9/17" nonsense on the can's bottom. In a nonic pint glass.

So pale that it may well be the most light pale looking brew that I've seen, at least that's what comes to mind. There's a 1F white cap, quick fade, no film, minimal spot and wisp lacing. A tad cloudy, too.

Carton delivers a nice blend of Kolsch yeast, light malt, and citrus hops. The orange citrus aroma is light but clear. Light floral hop.

Pretty sturdy malt flavor, fresh biscuit. The orange peel and rind come through.

Lean and dry with much hop bitterness. More body than a garden variety 4.0 abv offering.

Light hop fix with some body and flavor. Happy Summer!

Jul 02, 2017
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Tucquan from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this on 2017-06-24 in Atlantic Highlands, NJ at the brewery on-tap

A -Pretty hazy straw-yellow with a 1-finger white head and light lace.

S - Fruity at first then some white bread, grass and floral.

T - Initially biscuit, fruit and light pine yield to cracker and orange zest on the finish. Unlike another reviewer, I found it to be less bitter than Boat but there's still enough to linger.

M - Light body and medium-high carbonation. Quite dry with a little prickle.

O - Enjoyable although I do prefer Boat.

Jun 26, 2017
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MacMalt from New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned 6/9/2017. Poured into cylindrical glass. It pours a hazy, golden-straw color with a finger of fluffy, bright white head and lacing. It smells of orange peel and wheat cracker. The first thing I taste is the cracker, followed by a subtle but clear taste of orange. It finishes with more bitterness than Boat. It's a quintessential session ale: light, crisp, lively carbonation but the orange zest distinguishes it. I'm sure that some Carton fans will debate the merits of Beach v. Boat. They're similar but nonetheless distinct. And they both serve their purpose well.

Jun 24, 2017
Beach from Carton Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 100 ratings