Just to be clear, the arrangement of the cans in the picture is in no way a subtle indicator of which of these IPAs is superior. The picture of these stacked cans, is simply for aesthetic value.
The selection of these particular brands though, is certainly deliberate.
A few short years ago, Treehouse was the pioneer of a new craft beer style, the New England IPA, that a majority of todays craft breweries are now brewing, or at least trying to successfully emulate. This specialty style took Treehouse from a roadside shack, to a stainless steel juggernaut.
Trillium followed in Treehouse’s footsteps. Based in Boston, with meager beginnings in a closet-sized taproom, Trillium expanded its once small footprint on the strength of delicious pale ales, and juicy and flavorful single and double ipas.
Equilibrium may not technically be considered a specialist of New England Style ipas, but their mastery of hazy, juicy, double ipas is definitely worthy of consideration among the aforementioned top tier brands. Based in Middletown, New York, this less than two-year old brewery is generating incredible hoppy creations.
Shall we consider them The Champ, The Usurper, and The Up and Comer?
Or should we taste them all, rate them and let our palates decide?
My esteemed beer drinking associate and I are going to taste and rate.
Treehouse – Julius
Judge A – Consistent with expectations of the style, the liquid is a hazy, golden/straw-colored beer, topped with a fluffy, pure white head. The nose is very citrusy, almost stinging the nostrils, with notes of oat, pine, and a sweet, musty-barn tinge finishing off the initial pungent scents. The body is the consistency of a liquid creamsicle, and the flavors are of citrus fruits, stone fruits, and hints of papaya and mango, then accented by a solid, bitter, hoppy finish. This exemplifies “crushability.” Delicious. 9/10
Judge B – I’m glad this is technically the last day of summer, because this makes me want to sit on a beach and soak up the sun, which one could imagine doing when appreciating the color of this beer. Although, it’s a different style it reminds me of Golden Road’s Mango Cart. While this is an IPA, the aroma is not as hop forward as most but has a delicate floral nose. The taste is light, refreshing, and crisp. It is smooth on the palate and has distinguished hints of orange. As much as I have been excited for fall, this delicious beverage makes me want the summer sun to linger a little longer. 8/10
Equilibrium – Vulgar Display of Flower
Judge A – This is slightly “cleaner” looking when compared to Julius, but the orange/pale sunshine color is very similar. The head quickly dissipates after pouring, leaving a thin, lazy, lacing clinging atop the beer and onto the glass in a ring. The smell is intensely floral, with cyclonic dank notes circling a sharp grassy/pine center. The nose is incredibly stimulating. The taste follows the nose with equal intensity, delivering orange and lime, coupled with bitter pineapple and saliva inducing hoppy, herbal notes. This is the pinnacle for the IPA fans who love aggressive hop bitterness in their IPAs. I am one of those fans. Wow, is all I can say after each sip, then I’m immediately reaching for my glass again. 9.5/10
Judge B – While the appearance of this beer may resemble a sunny and hazy beach day in California, the aroma transports you to the state’s national state parks from its strong piney scent. I’m refreshingly surprised at my enjoyment of the taste due to the earthy notes but can’t quite differentiate it’s various flavors. The taste is pleasingly unique, in a decidedly different way from Julius, and I would more than happily indulge again. 9/10.
Trillium – Nauset Lighthouse
Judge A – The color of this beer resembles a murky marmalade. When poured it is topped with a wispy, frail head. The smell is decidedly more malty, and heavy, with slight hints of pancake batter, honey, and earthy tones. The mouthfeel is somewhat chewy, and the taste is heavy, sugary, with more of an intense, malty presence. As a barley wine, this may please fans of the style, as an IPA, it isn’t even close to delivering to expectations of a hop enthusiast. 5/10
Judge B – Everything about this beer reminds me of fall, starting with it’s orange, pumpkin color. While it’s definitely not a cider, there is a great aroma of apple, but more specifically, chilled apple cider, with hints of sweetness. This is followed by with a buttery, yet slightly, bitter finish. It’s light but fully bodied and would be well paired with an Oktoberfest. The more sips I take, the more I find myself enjoying the flavors offered. 7/10.
The tastings have been completed. And now that our palates have been stimulated, the ratings can be delivered.
Treehouse Julius – 8.5/10
Equilibrium Vulgar Display of Flower – 9.25/10
Trillium Nauset Lighthouse – 6/10
Though a different selection of IPAs from these breweries may have yielded a change in results, with this taste test there is an overwhelming consensus from these two IPA enthusiasts.
We want more Equilibrium please!!!!!!!!!