Brewing Exceptional Beers Behind the Scenes
Carton Brewing Co.
Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
Creativity can be gleaned, but precision usually needs to be honed through years of practice. New Jerseyan Pete Dickson put his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Rutgers to work by engineering medical diaphragm pumps in Trenton, then landed a job at GE Aviation. And oh, yeah, Dickson had “dabbled in homebrewing” for a few years.
“I followed my passion by taking a huge risk,” says Dickson. He applied for, and completed, the American Brewers Guild – Apprenticeship Program. Next? “I quit my job at GE with no guaranteed brewing job, and I spent five weeks apprenticing with Smuttynose.”
From there, he landed a full-time gig with Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn, where he became head brewer after 18 months. Alas, Superstorm Sandy, among its extensive destruction, flooded the brewery with three salty feet of water and debris. Dickson’s father is a welder and fabricator by trade, and (in addition to being a source of inspiration for his craftsmanship and work ethic) helped get Sixpoint operational again.
Dickson became acquainted with Carton while brewing a batch of a collaboration beer (benefiting Beer for Beasts) with founder Augie Carton. A year later, Dickson joined the crew and eliminated his hefty commute.
“Carton’s catalog is heavily influenced by being creative with food (and) beer ingredients and pushing boundaries,” he explains. Some of Carton’s offerings include a panzanella salad ale, lemongrass clam ale and green apple wasabi sour ale. Says Augie Carton of Dickson, “I can turn to him and say, ‘This beer needs to taste more like butterflies.’” Still, Dickson prefers to be out of the spotlight. With beers like that, his work tends to shine on its own.
– Brian Yaeger