Reporting on NJ Breweries Since 2007
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077XX-Cans
Carton Brewing’s hoppy session ale, Boat, has a first mate – and a passenger.

The Monmouth County craft brewer last week added its signature double IPA, 077XX, and its mulberry-infused sour seasonal, Monkey Chased the Weasel, to its lineup of canned beers.

O-Dub (the zero, plus double 7s, a nod to the brewery’s postal ZIP code), the brewery’s shorthand for its 2X India pale ale, and Monkey Chased the Weasel (3.9% ABV) were packaged in pint-can four-packs last Friday and put on sale in the brewery’s tasting room over the weekend. (Check with the brewery for availability. Learn the story behind Monkey Chased the Weasel.)

Monkey-WeaselBoat Can8Carton launched in 2011 with Boat session ale (4.2% ABV) and 077XX (7.8%) as draft-only beers; last summer the brewery canned Boat, becoming New Jersey’s first craft beer-maker to package in cans. 

Both brewers and consumers are still big on craft beer in cans. A lot of brewers have embraced canning as a better option for preserving the beer from staling. Beer drinkers like them because their ease of handling and recycling.

Even when there was nothing but a homebrew pilot rig in their building in Atlantic Highlands, the folks at Carton Brewing noted their plans included canning beers under their brand. Cans are a good fit, says co-owner Augie Carton, for a brewery that is managing growth while continuing to brew a diversified portfolio of beers.

“Cans are good for beer; they’re just better for beer,” Augie tells Beer-Stained Letter. “We’re trying to figure out some ways to make some bottles … some things you would want to oxidize, things we’re designing to age. Right now we’re making things we want to deteriorate as slowly as possible, and cans preserve that creation.”

 

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Spellbound-Canner
After a parade of stainless steel-laden trucks to Spellbound Brewing’s loading dock, the next delivery truck to pull up will most likely be loaded with malt and hops, yet another signal of “beer soon” from the Mount Holly craft brewery.

On Wednesday, a canning line was offloaded at Spellbound, the last of the equipment that co-owners John Companick, Mike Oliver and Scott Reading acquired to outfit their production brewery.

“All the equipment we need is in the building,” John tells Beer-Stained Letter.  “It’s nice seeing it here, knowing that we don’t have to wait for another (equipment) truck to back up. The next truck that backs up is going to have our ingredients.”

On Wednesday evening, the Cask ACS line, capable of putting up 30 cans a minute, sat freshly uncrated, waiting to be tucked into its spot in the brewery floor plan. 

Spellbound-BrewhouseThe canner and depalletizer arrived a couple weeks after Spellbound’s 20-barrel brewhouse was forklifted piece by piece off a flatbed trailer; in weeks prior, it was the brewery’s fermenters.

There’s still some crucial work ahead, i.e. electrical work and completing the coldboxes. But the finish line is very close, John says, and a summer opening with eight to 10 taps in the tasting room is within reach.

“Right now, we’re just working on finishing up the electrical, getting the permits; same thing with the plumbing,” John says. “Then we're down to getting our certificate of occupancy, getting our OK from the state after inspection, and then we’re ready to go.”

When that happens, Spellbound will become the second Mount Holly craft brewery to open its doors. Village Idiot Brewing opened late last year just three miles away along High Street, the main thoroughfare through the town, the county seat of Burlington County.

 

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