Wednesday, 2 September 2015
Equilibrium Extra-Special Bitter
As if the name isn't enough, the 473mL cans of Equilibrium Extra-Special Bitter feature a teetering elephant and the slogan "balanced brilliance". I think they're suggesting the beer is balanced.
The "they" I'm referring to is Burlington, Ontario's Nickel Brook Brewing Co., the outfit responsible for this 5.5%, 43 IBU ESB. Equilibrium pours a comfortable toffee colour under a layer of sudsy off-white head. Pretty murky stuff, too.
My nose was met with a classically English-style pub ale aroma; a blend of caramel and copper, with a malty spine. The flavour, believe it or not, does exhibit a nice degree of balance (though I think that, semantically, balance doesn't have degrees--it's an all or nothing proposition). Malty, sweet notes of caramel and raisin are set off against bitter ones, while a tinkling metallic undercurrent keeps pace.
I haven't had a really nice ESB for some time. For one thing, I think of them as a fall brew, and it was decidedly July when I tasted Equilibrium. But also, I just haven't found any that have tickled my fancy outside of the traditional English ones. However, in Equilibrium, Nickel Brook has put together a charming ESB--one that contains a hearty hops bill to lend it something different.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10.