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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.

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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.



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Named after historic Middletown metalsmiths, William and George Clemson, CLEMSON BROS. BREWERY came into existence during October 2015. Inside a three-storied red brick factory with white window frames, its glass-encased brewtanks lead to the main room featuring an elongated right side bar, closed kitchen, several dining tables, local homemade beer and pub fare (burgers-pizza-appetizers).

During my 1-hour August ’17 stopover with wife, Karen, made ourselves comfortable at the roomy back deck beergarden. A comfy open area with separate 12-stooled covered bar, six umbrella-covered tables, slate-topped side counters and small stage area, the  pleasurable outdoor setting truly fits the sunny summertime atmosphere.

Refreshingly fruitful Sun-Kissed Mango Pilsner loaded sweet ‘n sour mango tanginess alongside grains of paradise, passionfruit and guava tropicalia for a crisply clean light-bodied delight.

Soft-toned Lola’s Blonde Ale relied on light mineral graining and tingly citrus spicing while hybridized Lola’s Raspberry Blonde Ale added raspberry powder tartness and floral accents to the mix.

Murky cherry tartness and white wheat wince could use deeper penetration for mildly creamed Jack Of All Trades Cherry Wheat.

Mild rye breading inundated Rye’s Above as dried fruiting and herbal hops merged with rustic milled graining.

Approachable Manhattan Project Double IPA plied grapefruit, pineapple and orange tanginess to mild piney hop bittering.

Just as easygoing, dry-hopped Brewer’s Mistress Session IPA brought mild reedy astringency to lemon-soured mango, grapefruit and pineapple tones.

Zestful Tower 22 Imperial IPA draped its lemony grapefruit, pineapple and orange tang with dry fungi-like musk and light spicing.

Chocolate-y peanut butter ensconced Porter’s Porter, a smoky medium body with dark-roasted coffee and cocoa tones above charred hop sedation.