Brewery Visit: Equilibrium Brewery
It’s no longer hard to find Northeast Style IPAs. They’re everywhere. Those hazy, yellow to orange colored brews can be found in almost every state throughout the U.S. But I have to say that not every brewery who is making them hits the mark. No different than any other style of beer really. Some breweries nail it while others continue to hone in their recipes. The hunt to acquire the exceptional examples sometimes can be challenging. Insert brewery new comer: Equilibrium Brewery in Middletown, New York.
Don’t be fooled at what looks like a short line to snag a case of the limited run Fluctuation DIPA cans in the photo above. This is the line as we were leaving – a whole 1.5 hours AFTER securing our allotment AND enjoying some goblets of juicy goodness plus a bite to eat for lunch inside the brewery.
The line actually formed hours before the can release was scheduled to drop at 11:30am. The line was long and wrapped the whole way around the side of the building, back behind the building and down the sidewalk.
Many lounged in chairs sharing beers they brought from their favorite breweries with folks in line near them. Others traded beers that they had negotiated for on Instagram or Twitter prior to arriving. “Are you (fill in the Instagram handle) who has the (fill in crazy good beer name) for trade?” was a common icebreaker amongst this line of beer hunters. Some had regretted pounding those 2 or 3 cans of beers they brought because they now had to use the bathroom but the taproom wasn’t open yet.
Derek and I aren’t fans of standing in line for hours. Been there. Done that. If you’ve read my articles on this website or StoutsAndStilettos.com, then you know how I abhor it. Vehemently. I get antsy, thinking about all the other beers I may be missing elsewhere. Ha! I’m a #BeerGirl on an efficient mission. No time to sit or stand around for hours.
We rolled in about 45 minutes until release time. There were about 85-100 people ahead of us. And as the time ticked away, 50-60 people filed in behind us.
The heat and humidity were intense that day. Seriously so hot standing on black top and sun shining brightly. I secretly hoped that Equilibrium would open up sales early and they did! The line started moving and moving quickly at 11:05am. Sweet! Props to the beer sales team for a well planned and well executed can release.
The one advantage of waiting for just a little while in line is you really do get to meet some great people. It’s fun to talk about beers you’ve recently enjoyed and to get insider info on breweries or restaurants that we MUST visit. We got a great recommendation to hit up Mill House Brewing Co. for dinner after our visit to Plan Bee Farm Brewery. And, the tip was a winner. Excellent food. Thank you, Matt Haynes, for that intel!
What’s also pretty darn cool? Folks from the brewery went to each person in line and offered them samples of Fluctuation so they could try before they buy. Incredibly smart business move! Considerate to their guests plus savvy sales hook. We both fell in love with the first sip and decided to buy more cans then we originally had planned. There was a can limit per person but it was quite reasonable – 1 case per person.
It’s Not Just IPAs! There was also a bottle release happening (same line) of There And Back Again Plum wild ale. It’s described as “a tale of a spontaneous fermentation, isolation, confiscation, rejuvenation, mutation, and finally perturbation. This sour American wild ale is a collaborative effort with our dear friend Dr. Jason Rodriguez. We took our house ‘honey badger’ mixed culture (no saccharomyces) and allowed it to ferment and sour over several months before refermenting it on plums. The result is a plum character boosted by the tropical expression of our microorganisms. This beer is unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally carbonated and will continue to evolve over time if properly cellared.”
PRO-TIP: You can stay in-the-know about future releases by following Equilibrium Brewery on Instagram. Scroll through the comments for trading opportunities, see how long the line is the morning of the release and if you can’t make it early, the brewery will let everyone know when the release has become sold out.BEER RELEASE INFO
By the time we purchased our cans and tucked them into a cooler full of ice in our car, Equilibrium’s taproom and grille was open. Perfect timing. It was 11:30am and we were thirsty and hungry.
Our intention was to get 1 brew each and a quick bite to eat in the upstairs Grille. The goal was to scurry off to Hudson Valley Brewing for their can release at 12:30 p.m. Yeah. Well. Equilibrium provided to be too good to leave on time. IPA. After IPA. After IPA on the tap list. I tweeted that I was sticking around longer to “IPA my face off.” This was NOT the place to just settle for a flight of beers to sip. Hell, no! We wanted the full experience of savoring many sips in a full pour. Although we did split each 13 oz goblet with each other. Mostly so we could try almost all the brews but without being irresponsibly drunk.
While I enjoyed each beer I tried, MC2 DIPA was my favorite. Fluctuation was not on tap at the Grille bar but that was fine with us. We had a whole cooler full of it to take home! MC2 was a solid 5 for me and I rated it so in Untappd. Described on the tap list as “Photon’s big brother. We literally took Photon’s hopping rate and squared it. This DIPA is our tribute to the amazing relationship that energy and mass are balanced, proportional to the speed of a photon squared. It pours hazy tangerine color, releasing bright tropical notes of mango, pineapple and apricot. This tastes like a succulent mango juice loaded with chewy hop resins. It’s very drinkable for 8.0% ABV. Be careful, this one can sneak up on you.” MC2 delivers on all of this.
You can take our word on how completely delightful their beer is. And, we’ll take their word on the relationship of energy and mass. After all, brewers, Ricardo Petroni and Peter Oates, are environmental engineers and MIT graduates.
“Equilibrium Brewery applies scientific principles and a passion for craft brewing to balance drinkability and massive flavor. We consider ourselves an experimental brewery with emphasis on research and exploration. We are driven by inspiration and curiosity as both scientists and beer drinkers.”
Is the food as good as the beer? Yep. Derek opted for the Grilled Chicken Sandwich. It’s grilled chicken breast marinated in Photon Pale Ale and topped with lettuce, tomato, cilantro and tomato-bacon aioli and served with a side of house cut fries.
I went for the crabcake made with MC2 spent grains and a side order of yucca chips (think salted potato chips but made from yucca root). Every element of this dish is housemade. The cilantro beer-infused remoulade was the perfect dip for the crab cake. A nice change from the standard tartar sauce in most restaurants.
The artisanal food menu has a variety of carefully crafted items that use fresh, locally-sourced ingredients when possible. We also recommend:
- Poutine Fries – house cut fries and cheese curds with gravy made from their Photon-Merlot short ribs
- Mac ‘n Cheese – smoked gouda and cheddar infused with their Vulgar Display of Flower DIPA
- EQ Buddha Bowl – mesclun greens, roasted chick peas, quinoa, avocado, shaved carrots, cucumber and apple cider vinaigrette
- any of the Half Pound Burgers
The decor is industrial-rustic with fun little nooks to sit at and enjoy your experience. You can even look down into the brewery from a few of the seats. The Grille also has a spacious bar you can belly up to that includes their own beers plus a few rotating guest taps. The day we visited, Half Acre, Kent Falls and Common Road were the guests on tap. Graft Cider was also available in cans.
You’d never be able to tell that the building used to be the former Chicago-based Swift & Company meat-packing plant. What a transformation inside and out! The brewery and grille owners saw potential in this up and coming city of Middletown and are an active part of its revitalization renaissance.
Just at Equilibrium Brewery for the beer? No worries. You can check out the downstairs bar space where you can hang out and enjoy your brew or get your growlers filled to go. It’s the same beer lineup as at the bar in the upstairs Grille.
Growler Fill Policy & Hours
- Two growler sizes can be filled: Large (64oz/2L) and Small (32oz/750ml)
- Limits on growler fills will be issued as needed
- Growler Limit: Maximum 2 growlers (any size) of each beer and maximum 6 growlers (any size) total
- We will not fill dirty or clear growlers as either degrades the quality of the beer and the drinking experience
- Growler fills available: Monday – Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm and Saturday & Sunday from 11:30 am – 6 pm
More New York/Hudson Valley Beercation Info: