Reading the news in America today is a troubling exercise. Civilians are being maimed with reckless abandon in a police state which threatens to become increasingly militant. The government is in hopeless gridlock. Maybe Congress will shut it down again — at tremendous expense to taxpayers — or perhaps it’ll disinvite the President from making his annual State of the Union Address. Either way, it remains firmly committed to doing absolutely nothing for its constituents.
In the face of constant malaise, we can’t simply resign ourselves to being gloomy sourpusses. This is the U.S.A. We need to use perpetual optimism to wrest proactive relief from the jaws of utter dismay.
In other words: drink more beer.
I propose a toast to the hardworking men and women of craft brewing. These noble saints enable our last refuge of hope and cheer, washing away the mope and fear. Dark times can only be relieved by a sensationally dark libation. And Carton Brewing’s newly released Epitome is properly titled for the task. It’s our Beer of the Week.
As Northern Jersey’s most noteworthy craft purveyor, Carton continues to turn heads with a series of bold, innovative offerings. You want a beer made with butternut squash ravioli? They got that. How about a liquid engineered to taste like the innards of a Philly Blunt? Yes! Carton is here making the world safe for flavors you’ve always craved yet were always afraid to admit to liking.
Jersey’s never been afraid to bend the rules. Sure, Superfund sites parked alongside major interstates seems suspect, yet it’s never stopped the fine folks of the Garden State. And when it comes to the beers, the brewery is certainly not going to let restrictive style guidelines dictate how it should brew its grog.
With Epitome, Carton created a beer that looks and feels like an Imperial Stout; heavy and malty with an ink black facade. But this genre-bender has the backbone of an American-born IPA. The Boss would be proud. As you drink this 10.5 percent hopped black ale, your senses are thrown into a chaotic disarray, much like when you gaze at current headlines. Ultimately, though, you are left with the calming sensation that only a high alcohol beverage can provide. Everything’s going to be alright, you’ll think, so long as I can get my hands on the next one.
Considering the collective record of the Giants and Jets, it’s fairly uncontroversial to call Epitome the best thing to come out of Jersey all year. And in canned pints, it won’t actually leave the state — you’ll have to head across the river to score those. But you can find it on draft at Astoria Beer and Cheese, Blind Tiger in Manhattan, or at Tørst, for the Brooklynites. Just don’t expect it to last long. Dark times are ahead.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 5, 2014