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 speaking) 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.
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.
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.
As 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.
22 Henry Street
“Veni. Vidi. Bibi.”