MIDDLETOWN, NEW YORK
Just off the main drag of Middletown, in the red-bricked industrial foothills of rustic Orange County, EQUILIBRIUM Grille and Brewery opened in the spring of 2017. Owned in part by an experimental MIT engineer whose scientific principles and a passion for craft brewing led to the massively flavorful India Pale Ales and other fine beverages guiding this outwardly opulent signpost.
Yet despite the gargantuan Equilibrium trademark stretched across its ample pale green aluminum side, the white grain silo-enhanced garage housing the pub is actually quite modest.
An unfinished cement-floored tasting room (with open overhead door, exposed ducts and spinning wheel light fixtures) fronts a cozy mezzanine area where pub fare gets served alongside the well-balanced homemade ales and choice cocktails. Three two-stool tables, a few seated tables and one community table fill the tasting room as my wife and I head up to the Edison-lighted wood counter at the bar to sample all six draughts available this sunny Sunday afternoon.
A local band at the mezzanine plays Nirvana tunes while I quaff three worthy IPA’s, two stylishly ‘big’ pale ales and one resilient sour ale.
Smoothly ‘crushable’ flagship, Photon Pale Ale, lets politely enduring apricot, peach, tangerine, mango and pineapple juiciness gain mild piney hop resin and lemony orange tartness for a true ‘go-to-ale.’
‘Conditioned’ on lemon-limed grapefruit, tangerine and orange zest, hybridized Photon Citrus Pale Ale concentrates its original fruity base with citric hops, leaving sour lemon rot upon the earthen tea midst.
An undeniable favorite, resonant Fractal Citra/ Galaxy IPA allowed subtle passionfruit, guava and peach tones to illuminate the creamy crystal malting and contrast its resinous hop bittering.
Easygoing Hoptimization IPA retained a soft-tongued grapefruit and pineapple tang as well as a less distinct sour lemon splurge above herbal wood-toned hops. Meanwhile, juicier Hoptimization 2 IPA brought mellow floral spicing to pine-needled lemon, grapefruit, orange and mango tanginess.
For a complete changeup, There And Back Again Sour Ale loaded dry-hopped lactobacillus yeast on vinous green grape tartness and salty lemon-limed acidity while frisky grapefruit, pineapple and passionfruit undertones waver.
While sojourning to Middletown, don’t forget to complement your Equilibrium trip with a visit to nearby Clemson Bros. Brewery as well.