Switchback Ale - Switchback Brewing Company

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Switchback AleSwitchback Ale

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BA SCORE
81
good

670 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 670
Reviews: 139
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 13
Gots: 114 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Switchback Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kaszeta on 08-06-2003

Switchback Ale (First sold October 22nd, 2002)

Using only traditional ingredients, Switchback Ale is a reddish-amber ale which is particularly well-balanced, allowing for complexity of flavor coupled with an unusually smooth and refreshing character. Five different malts, select hop varieties, and our own specially cultivated yeast create an ale which leads with hop flavors and a subtle impression of fruit (our yeast's contribution), followed by a palate pleasing malty finish. Our own special process uses the yeast to naturally carbonate the beer, and we leave it unfiltered. The result is a satisfying brew full of flavor with a remarkably clean and smooth finish.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 670 | Reviews: 139
Reviews by jkeefe1800:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Ainman11
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this from tap. It was golden amber color with a light malty smell. It was crisp and something I could have for a dinner beverage.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.31/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Maybe I'd reached my beer limit that day, but I just couldn't get into this too much. Hazy amber color, small white head. Mildly sweet, mildly citrus aroma. Kind of tepid grapefruit taste. Fairly balanced. Not bad, but I'd had some great beers prior to this, and it suffered in comparison.

Photo of SunDevilBeer
4.15/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this several times on a recent trip to Sugarbush, as it's available on tap nearly everywhere.

Looks like a cloudy Sam Adams, but that's where the similarities end. A caramel-ish sweet citrus taste up front which gets washed away by the hops at the end with a slight tingle. Each sip leaves you wanting more - quickly. And you can do it too, because the alcohol is left in check. This beer is definitely a drinker, not a sipper, and not one you want to sit and dissect flavors....just drink.

This is a terrific beer to session apres-ski. If I lived in Vermont this would be my go-to beer.

Photo of bishopdc0
4.05/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a big glass (special night at the GLB)

The color is amber not transparent with a nice thick head to start. As I drink lacing forms

The aroma is sweet subtle hops of citrus and a sweet malt very nice

The taste is brilliant start with a soft carbonation a sweet malt comes and reveals a citrus hops mixed with a slight earthiness

Photo of ThisLadyLovesBeer
3.13/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A = unfiltered orange-amber color, a quickly dissipating head that leaves no lacing on the glass.
S = Lightly flowery, I can smell hops at first sniff.
T = I found that the malts are outplayed by the hops in this brew.
M=carbonation is okay, medium body but somehow watery as well.

Overall, I was hoping for more balance between the hops and the malts, but found the hops took over and left a bitter hoppy aftertaste. The finish was somewhat clean, except for the aforementioned hoppiness. It is a lighter feeling ale than most in its class, but I think would be a good pub choice with burgers or a wrap. Best way I would describe this is that it's kind of like a "Light IPA."

Photo of tigg924
3.03/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on tap in St. Johnsbury

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, dark amber in color, clear, high carbonation

Smell: earthy hops

Taste: earthy hops and light caramel malt

Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, medium bodied, bitter with a touch of sweetness

Overall: This strikes me as an average hoppy amber. This is not a bad beer and certainly worth a try for hopheads. However, I have heard fanatical things about this beer and it just left me wanting a bit more in the taste department.

Photo of Cavanaghty
4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from tap

Appearance: Dark Brown color with a small amount of head. Decent carbonation. Slightly off white head.

Smell: Toasted malts and hoppy. Some sweetness.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Medium bodied not a smooth as I had hoped for. Toasted malts and yeast could be tasted with a subtle sweetness. Bitter after taste.

Overall: Good beer. I think I will revisit this beer the next time I'm back in the Burlington area.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.96/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is quite a tasty beer, it's got a cloudy medium pale amber color with a nice little head, and some of the best lacing I've seen in any beer! This went the whole way down the pint!
The smell was rather dull, although I was at a restaurant my nose may have been overwhelmed.

Overall it tasted really great, some nice hoppy notes but overall quite smooth, great to be paired with pub food!

Photo of Nfiorini513
3.31/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Switchback is the beer I compare to other beers. Like its not a bad beer, it's like switchback drinkable but there are other beers I like more.

Photo of far333
3.26/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy honey apricot color with a foamy oatmeal colored head that hangs around for a good long while. Aroma is very faint, but I pick up some sweet hops. Flavor is sweet, biscuity malt, with some hops thrown in, but nothing too strong or over the top. Mouthfeel is full and creamy, filling the mouth. Faint citrus aftertaste. Decent beer, but seems afraid to make its presence known.

Photo of poop_brew
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Had it on tap at a local bar. Served in a 16oz. pint glass.

S - Not a lot going on. A bit of hop, and malt with a citrus. Mostly malt.

T - A light hop with a malty finish. Orange citrus to finish it off.

M - A great mouthfeel. The beer is easily consumed and finishes so smooth.

O - Since I live in the town it all started I think I am over the whole Switchback craze, but if it's on special or a good price it's always worth it. Monday's at Drink they have $2 switchback drafts. Stellar deal.

Photo of Brenden
3.05/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I wouldn't call this a reddish-amber, per se, though it does achieve amber. It's clear with a bit of brightness to it. The head is a sudsy white one that falls somewhat quickly but leaves bubbly foam on top that translates in the lacing.
This is one of few beers that I can say is just kind of beer. I figured what friends who weren't into beer were saying when they made that claim, and now I understand it. There's moderate aroma and flavor, a bit of leaf with some toast, a bit of fruit underlying.
It is smooth in its light body with a soft, fluffy feel. Crispness is even, not too hard or too soft. What it gives up in body it makes up for in its smoothness and a bit of depth.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Switchback Pale Ale

On tap in every bar/ restaurant in Burlington, VT.

Appearance- Light amber golden brown with a small soapy head.
Smell- Sweet malt, doughy bread, and earthy hops.
Taste- Swet candy malt up front with a nice earthy hop flavor coming through.
Mouthfeel- Nice flavorful body with a light dry bitterness in the end.

Overall- A nice goto beer at a restaurant that carries only BMC.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one last night at the Weathervane in downtown Brattleboro,VT.

AP: A semi-cloudy (unfiltered) deep amber color with a minimal head that dissipated quickly to a scattered cap.

Nose: big fruity hop scent of strawberries without the big nose tingling effect of cascade hops.Underneath is a wheatie and sweet smelling malt.

Taste: This is a very sweet-fruity dominated flavor, with berries as the main taste. Absolutely no-bitterness here, and a wheatie, sweet malt effect balances it out pretty well.

MF: This one feels thin with a light body and goes down easily.

DA: This one has a nice fruity flavor, not bad for the style.

Photo of jmz62565
3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at RI Ra's in Burlington Vt. Pours a cloudy orange honey with a smallish head. The smell has malt sweetness and some hop aromas. The taste has a hoppy citrus flavor thats very refreshing along with abit of sweet malt. The m/f is medium with a balance between malt and hops thats not quite right. This is a decent beer that I will try again next time I'm on Lake Champlain.

Photo of BillyB
3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer on tap in Burlington, Vermont so it doesn't get any fresher.

Appearance is is a bright golden color with a one finger white head.

Aroma is of light floral and slightly piney hops. Slightly biscuity malt notes.

Tastes pretty damn good! Nice malty, biscuity, cookie-like, bitter hop balance.

Mouthfeel was incredibly smooth and drinkable with a nice hoppy bitter finish.

I could sit by the fire at a ski lodge with a fake cast on my leg and drink these all night while my friends ski.

Photo of Sammy
2.75/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On at 3 needs. Seems to be called Switchback ale, and not this name here. White head and lace and pale colour. Light mouthfeel.Some citrus. Drinkable but minimal for the style.Well malted. Sour finish. Why others want to put this on, I do not know why.

Photo of Ezone024
3.84/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured on tap a pale golden color with 1 inch head that held an aroma of sweet grass and pale hops.

Light bodied Pale ale that was tasty from front to back, it has a slight grassy taste that is then taken over by a crisp hop finish.

Very drinkable you can guzzle down a bunch of these and now even know it, the ABV is unknown but it has to be relatively low. These seems to be most burlingtonites go to brew.

Must try when up north

Photo of scootny
3.84/5  rDev +7.6%

A 3.75 The bottle is a 22oz with instructions to introduce the yeast that settles on the bottom. As a result my glass is filed with an opaque and light orange brown fluid. Good head, light brown eggshell with healthy lacing.
S 3.75 Lots of bread and biscuit. Some light fruitiness with some caramel sweetness.
T 4.0 I really like this one. Deep bready malt front with a biscuity finish. Clean dry hop finish has earth and a light astringency. Great balance.
M 3.75 Smooth and crisp carbonation. Perfect weight. Quenching and refreshing.
O 3.75 A perfectly balanced and highly drinkable brew. Thanks to my good beer buddy Chris Brady for the opportunity to sample a superb session ale. More please!

Photo of puboflyons
3.86/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the New England Brewfest on June 30, 2012. According to the brewer the ABV on this is 5.0%. It pours a cloudy medium amber-copper with some head. The aroma is of toasty malts, yeast, and sugar. The body was medium. The taste was sweeter than expected with a slight fruity flavor, and a fine hop bitterness ending semi-dry. A nice rendition on this traditional ale.

Photo of TWStandley
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Enjoyed on tap at the Lucky Dog Tavern in Plymouth, NH.

Appeared amber in color with barely any head retention.

Smelled of light malt sweetness and a slight pine scent on the end.

Taste was pretty well balanced but also pretty boring. Nothing wowed me about this one.

Mouthfeel was fine.

Overall an ok beer but nothing really great about it.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tap: Poured a hazy amber color ale with a medium foamy head with OK retention and some lacing. Aroma of citrus based hops with some light caramelized malt. Taste is also dominated by citrus hoppy notes with light bitterness notes and some light caramelized malt notes. Body is about average with good carbonation. No major complexity with average hops profile but good drinkability factor.

Photo of Dodo2step
3.5/5  rDev -2%

A- light amber/brown color that pours a 2 finger head but runs off quickly. A poor lacing made around the glass. mildly opaque with bits of yeast floating.

S- hints of caramel but mainly and earthy bready aroma. maybe some hints of dark candied fruit.

F- Flavor mimics the nose with the caramel malts being dominant. I also detect molasses as the possible dark candied fruit that comes through. bready and earthy tones as well.

M- carbonated and chewy and medium bodied

O- not a bad ale.....the caramel actually makes the beer in my opinion.

Photo of smakawhat
4.12/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at Burlington's airport restaurant into a shaker pint. From notes. No head given.

With no head given only a small white collar presented. Body color though is a real nice dark gold color with chestnut brown hues. Slightly opaque (mentioned to me as unfiltered) with slow crawling pin head bubbles rising continuously.

Great solid nose on this of toasted grain and soft graham cracker like malts. Faint fruit ester sense of red fruit, and seems to have a good chewy angle, of soft baked bread and cookies. Really dig this.

Taste brings all the nose forward. Chewy soft milk graham cracker malts, cookie dough, brown bread. No major sense of hop angle present or noticeable. Sweet light brown sugar finish also. Very lightly carbonated, good density also.

Overall this was one easy drinking for pale ale, I could see myself finishing off lots of these easily, or perhaps trying to.

Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
2.66/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.5

Bomber to tulip.
Sampled 13APR13.

[A] Pours with a beautiful bright white foamy head, dense but fluffy, and excellent retention. Minutes later a chunky collar remains just below a thick, solid sheet of lace along the entire glass. The body is dark orange with above average haze. I don't love the color of this beer, but every other characteristic is fantastic.

[S] Subdued aroma. Minimal and nondescript hop presence. A strong metallic edge plus a hint of sulfur are noticeable. Lightly toasted bready malts provide the backdrop. The second pour - including the yeast - lends to a more enjoyable nose and introduces a well rounded fruity aroma.

[T] Light front end sweetness. And low bitterness on the back end. The flavor is a little vague from a hop and malt perspective - although it is well balanced. The yeast actually seems to be the most important part of the flavor profile, which adds the same fruit quality captured in the aroma. Mild caramel malts are deep in the background.

[M] Smooth at first with a fine tingling carbonation setting just before midpalate, and increasing in intensity all the way through the finish. The body is medium. The finish is medium-sweet.

[O] The appearance and mouthfeel of Switchback Ale are great. But the aroma and flavor are lacking. And, unfortunately those scores count a lot more. I doubt I would drink again.

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Switchback Ale from Switchback Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 670 ratings.