Long Awaited, But Awaited No More – Opening of Equilibrium Brewery

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March 25, 2017

It’s not that the opening of a new brewery is a rare event these days. If you follow the beer scene, you’re aware that breweries have been popping up like Spring bulbs all over the country, and the Hudson Valley is no exception. But as common an event (relatively IMG_1917speaking) as it’s become, it is always exciting when a new establishment opens, and you have the privilege to be among the first beer lovers to pass through the doors of a top-rate brewing operation.

After months of chatter and anticipation, Equilibrium Brewery opened its grille and taproom to the public at 11:30am today, setting the table for what many believe will be a long and successful relationship with the local and regional beer community.

The brewery has actually been in operation since late 2016, kegging and distributing many of its products to local retail accounts, so the buzz has been building – and sounding louder and louder, in fact – leading up to today’s soft opening.  But judging by the public turnout today, “soft” is perhaps the last word I might have used the describe it.

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The taproom, as seen from Equilibrium Grille

As you arrive via the brewery’s main public doorway, you’re presented with the option of going either straight up a set of stairs to the Equilibrium Grille (where there is still plenty of beer in addition to food), or a turn to the right where you’ll enter their industrial, yet airy taproom.  Most patrons today appeared to have chosen to visit the grille, where many found booths from which they could order food and nosh while they enjoyed the beer offerings, and which afforded a terrific loft view of the taproom down below.

For my part, I was there alone, so chose the taproom, where I found two lines – one for people looking to fill a growler, and the other for those wishing to taste samples and order one of the six varieties that were on tap.

Although there was a brief issue with the brewery’s POS system, causing temporary delays with the taproom’s lines, the patrons were patient, and essentially just happy to be part of this excitement.

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MC ²

Although I held no real intention of ordering a full glass of it, my curiosity led me to sample the Mmm…Osa, a fairly low gravity pale ale, which I found to have a good mouthfeel and a tangy finish. I suspect that as the weather warms and the taproom opens its large garage door, this beer will be among Equilibrium’s most popular.

But for my first glass, I decided to go with the MC², an Imperial IPA (or what some might call a Double IPA), coming in at 8% ABV.  Served in a broad Belgian-style glass, this beer hit the spot for me. The Equilibrium website explains their commitment to creating beers with “massive flavor”, and this one is definitely powerful in that sense. So much so, in fact, that you don’t realize how much alcohol is in it. It’s flavor profile is direct and gets right to business, and I’m sure this one will also be a hit, not only during the summer months, but year-round as well.

After slooooooowwwly downing the MC², I got back in line, and this time went with their standard pale ale, called Photon. At 4.8%, this beer is extremely drinkable, and is what the brewery refers to as MC²’s “little brother”. Also full of flavor and color, just like its big brother, Photon should be a staple for Equilibrium fans for a long time to come.

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17498411_1373754386021503_2736015053733386808_nAs I enjoyed my glass of Photon, I had a brief conversation with head brewer Pete Oates, who although very busy greeting other patrons, took a few minutes to explain to me the concepts that are at the core of Equilibrium’s business and operations – science, research, and experimentation. As is evidenced by the names of a number of their beers – Fractal Citra, Photon, MC² and Fluctuation – science is clearly at the root of who they are and what they do.  Pete also explained to me that all of Equilibrium’s beers are “completely unfiltered”, which he says allows the full flavor of each beer to come through.

When you get a chance, come on out and enjoy the offerings of this superb brewery, located right in the heart of Orange County. I, for one, will definitely be back again soon.

Equilibrium Brewery
22 Henry Street
Middletown, NY
http://eqbrew.com

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“Veni. Vidi. Bibi.”

Post-St Paddy’s Day, Pine Island Style

March 19, 2017

With the skies sunny and blue, and lots of white stuff on the ground from this past week’s 2-foot snowfall, today seemed the perfect day to take a drive through the area’s famous Black Dirt region and drop in on our friends at Pine Island Brewing in Pine Island, NY.

It had been nearly 9 months since my last visit, which was just after the brewery’s Spring 2016 IMG_1898.JPGopening of its beer patio and garden in the back of the property.  But the tap room was clearly still in “winter mode” on today’s visit, with the front garage doors closed, and the interior space made roomier to accommodate the indoor season’s crowd.

Upon getting seated at the bar and taking stock of things, I noticed a couple of friends of mine in the back area near the dart board, and after dropping $25 on the bar to buy myself some beer tokens, I shuffled over to say a quick “hello”. Turns out my friends Larry and Karen, who live just down the road in Florida, were pub crawling today with another couple. As Larry told me, their next stop would be probably be Glenmere, and then they’d try to get to Rushing Duck in Chester before the 4:00pm “last call”.

Upon sitting back down, I started off with one of Pine Island’s staple offerings, their Oatmeal Creme Stout. This beer is not dominated by the higher alcohol content you’ll find in an Imperial stout, so goes down smoothly, and has a soft, creamy finish. At 5% ABV, I wouldn’t exactly classify it as a session beer, but it’s about as “sessionable” as beer is going to get from a Hudson Valley craft brewery.

After finishing the stout, I took a look at the chalk board, and noted something that appeared new, and was perhaps one of head brewer Mike Kraai’s specialty offerings – a Belgian style IPA called Bier de Melon. Wondering how “melony” the flavor was before ordering a whole glass, I asked tap room manager Cody Lynch for a sample first.  Knowing my general aversion to fruity beer, I expected to turn this one down after having the sample, but to my surprise, the melon essence was not overwhelming to the tongue. Although this beer comes in at 7.1%, the alcohol is well-hidden within its appealing flavor profile.

Inquiring with him about how Bier de Melon is made, Cody explained that there is actually no fruit in the beer at all, and that the fruit essence comes from a special German hop called Huell Melon. A German hop in a Belgian ale – imagine that. It is innovative to say the least, and leaves the tongue with a lasting satisfaction.

To end my afternoon session at Pine Island, I ordered their Scottish Ale, which is about 6.5% ABV, a beautiful dark amber in color, and nicely true-to-style for anyone who fancies themselves a fan of this category.

Check out their website at http://pineislandbeer.com, and pay this great brewery a visit when you get a chance. And depending on the season, you may even come home with a little bit of black dirt on your shoes as a memento. 😉

Pine Island Brewing Company
682 County Rte 1, Suite B
Pine Island, NY

“Veni. Vidi. Bibi”

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