Switchback Ale - Switchback Brewing Company

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Switchback AleSwitchback Ale

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129 Reviews
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Reviews: 129
Hads: 697
Avg: 3.51
pDev: 13.68%
Wants: 14
Gots: 126 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 129 | Hads: 697
Photo of fitzy84
3.38/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Had this at the Valley Brew Fest. Served in a sampler size glassware provided by the festival. The beer had a cloudy amber appearance with a white-color head and good lacing. The beer had a grassy hops aroma mixed with some malts and a bready smell. Taste was pretty good and followed the smell with an earthy malt taste. Not a bad mouthfeel; very drinkable. Overall, not too bad.

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Photo of 57md
3.64/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours amber in color with a half finger of head that dissolves rather quickly. Mildly malty nose and flavor.

This is a fine and sessionable beer but it certainly gets lost amid the outstanding beers in the State of Vermont.

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L: opaque pale amber ale with a fluffy head a few fingers high that left a bit of lace behind

S: mild malt and hop aromas suggesting a little bread and fruit with earthy accents

T: again, mild flavors bringing malts and hops into balance - slightly bready and biscuity, some hop accents of citrus and pine, but very muted and subtle, vague sweetness reminiscent of soft fruits

M: medium weight, fuzzy, smooth, soft, moderate carbonation; easy to drink, nice aftertaste

O: decent enough to warrant a try, but nothing I'd seek out.

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Photo of dredmahawkus
3.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Its kinda boring but smooth and very drinkable. One of them beers you wouldnt mind drinking all day...very balanced....slight dank. Just not a flavor explosion!

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Photo of jlindros
3.54/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tap at Texas bbq

Nice creamy head, 1 finger head, fades slowly, nice lacing, murky toasted orange brown color.

Nose malty aroma, mild sweet malty reddish amber malt, hint of grassy hops, little candy caramel malt.

Taste is a malty flavor, mild toasted reddish malt, caramel, little candy malt. Grassy hop, turns mild herbal earthy, little pine note. Fair bitterness, a weird earthy skunky weird bitterness almost icky oil. Weird yeasty thing too, not really skunky but something unhappy. That lingers in the finish the weird skunky bitterness.

Mouth is med bod, nice carb.

Overall eh.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.54/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber to amber-red color.
Creates a frothy light density head that was short lived.
This pour seemed quite effervescent.
A small malt nose bearing hints of yeast.

At the first sip-- I declare this beer to be an excellent warm weather beer.
Perhaps it should be served slightly chilled. It is not a beer to call attention to itself, I did not find myself basking in its flavor cornucopia. None of it's attributes bring attention to themselves. This is a fairly light bodied ale-- perfect for quenching a summer-time thirst rather than a serious tasting session.

The mouthfeel is cordial-- that is as it's flavor I found little to remember.

Overall I call this a very enjoyable American Pale Ale. The other thing I like about it is that the alcohol content is not particularly high so I enjoyed a bomber bottle w/o being welded to my seat as the bottom of the bottle was up.

It has

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Photo of Chris33
4.36/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Got a bomber from my parents (I live in Ohio now but from Vermont). No date on the bottle but drinking 3/16/15 and was given the bottle around 1/5/15 and has been in the fridge since.
Usually one of my favorite beers to pick up (or get) when I'm back at home. Lots of particulates, which i expected because of the long refrigeration. Still has that very smooth APA taste thats a more hoppy but smooth ale flavor. Can't go wrong with this beer at any point and time. I will always pick up a few bottles whenever I'm back at home. It's as much of a Vermont staple as Long Trail Ale for me. Great overall.

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Photo of hurricanes56dan
2.62/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Its hit or miss with this beer. I get it pretty often, and ill have one and it will be good, then ill be at another bar another night and it will be terrible.

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Photo of Gavage
3.87/5  rDev +10.3%

Pours an amber color with a 1" head that lasts a long time. Some lace develops on the glass. Caramel, fruits, and some yeast are detectable by the nose. The flavor profile follows the aroma, as caramel, dark fruit sweetness, a mild bitterness, and yeast are detectable. This is a nice malt forward beer. Light crispness from start to finish.

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Photo of Brenden
3.05/5  rDev -13.1%
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.

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Photo of Alissa2579
4/5  rDev +14%

Had this in tap at Generations in Lake Placid, NY. It's a nice light beer that is not too hoppy and subtle hints of fruit. The perfect beer after a day of hiking. Would definitely have again10/5/14

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Photo of TWStandley
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

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Photo of scootny
3.84/5  rDev +9.4%

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!

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

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Photo of smcolw
3.55/5  rDev +1.1%

Rich short lived head. No spots for lace. Dark amber with a bit cloudiness.

The smell is relatively neutral and mild.

A malty beer, almost like the base of a pumpkin beer. Low hop. Short aftertaste. Rich body. Good carbonation.

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Photo of illpass78
4.14/5  rDev +17.9%

Pint on tap at Flatbread in Portland, Maine.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy amber with some orange character. Small white head. Decent amount of lacing.

Aroma: This is a malt-forward beer with some citrus notes and slight hop bite. It has a lot of bready, biscuity presence up front. Also some hints of caramel and earth.

Taste: The taste follows the nose. Very tasty malt-forward beer with a nice citrus bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to slightly-less-than medium bodied. Decent body for a sessionable ale. Very smooth and easy on the palate.

Overall: Very nice beer from this Vermont brewery. I had this with pizza and salad and it was perfect pizza-and-salad beer. Would look for this in bottles if available. Bonus points for being unfiltered - always preferable, I feel.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.6/5  rDev +2.6%

22 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to nothing quickly. It is a pale yellow color with great clarity and vision of tiny bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Toasted, bready, cereal grains, pale malts, light citrus, and a little fruitiness.

Taste: Definitely malt forward with the hops and yeast notes in the background.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light bodied, crisp, refreshing, light to medium carbonation, and a little chewy.

Overall: Nice take on the pale ale style. More of an English take than an American. Still enjoyable though.

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Photo of scotorum
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%

Purchased in Winooski outside Burlington on my mid-April Vermont trip.

Poured from the 22 oz. bomber into a Harpoon IPA glass.

a; Slightly hazy Amber-orange with a finger thick white head which receded to thick even surface foam and spotty lacing.

s:Mild biscuit malt.

t: Light to moderate hop bite forward over a medium bscuit malt base. Pretty dry finish.
Light fruit notes later, but also some lingering bitterness.

m; Light to medium with good body and heavy carbonation tingle.

o; A pleasant, easy drinking ale which feels substantial yet is quite refreshing.

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Photo of argock
3.1/5  rDev -11.7%

Served on-tap in a plastic Shaker pint at Ken's Pizza (Burlington, VT).

A: Washed out amber-light brown with a short-lived beige 1-finger head that leaves no lacing. (3.0)

S: A bit of sweet caramel malt and herbal/earthy English style hop notes but really nothing providing much inspiration (3.25)

T: The flavor lands with about as much of a thud as the aroma -- some unassuming one-dimensionallight-to-medium caramel maltiness with some herbal-earthy-lightly haylike/tealike hopping. No off-flavors or yeast character, just not a lot of character overall. (3.0)

M: Smooth and easy to consume with low carbonation and light body. (3.25)

O: A completely forgettable beer.

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Photo of GJ40
3.22/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Sampled from a 22oz bottle.

Gold with good clarity and a very small white head. A grassy, earthy and odd hop aroma that's not all that enticing. The flavor improves a bit but still has that grassy hop aspect. Some toasted malt comes through but not enough to distract you. Good consistency and carbonation.

Drinkable but not especially enjoyable.

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Photo of david_robert
3.95/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

New to the beer world from the perspective of drinking things you dont find commonly all over. This beer is my new favorite but like i said im new. It has a fruitier taste then what i usually drink and it was really easy going down, meaning it didn feel like a super strong ipa does. i really enjoyed it.

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Photo of Tmyhre802
3.54/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big fan of switchback, real quality brew. Have had it on tap numerous times living in Vt. One thing people need to remember is that being unfiltered towards the bottom 1/4 of the keg there are things floating in your glass that are perfectly okay to drink! Outstanding that their now doing it in bottles so more people can enjoy this great beer!

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.56/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy amber, with a reddish sidelight. Topped by two fingers of dense white fuzzy foam.
Minimal lace.

Bakery aroma. Caramel. Hints of citrus dripping through.

Taste has plenty of bread and caramel. Earthy hop notes.

Light/medium mouthfeel.

Nice sturdy malty amber ale.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to angrybabboon for the bottle.

Appearance: Very slight chill haze on a solid copper leaning toward amber color. Head is clumpy and fluffy off-white. Drops to a small cap and chunky collar. Small notches of lacing. Moderate carbonation on the pour.

Smell: Slight fruity esters with a mild caramelized malt sweetness. Apple skin and toasted malt. A push of cereal grains and some minor nutty influences. Grassy hops with a solid earthy push as well. Nicely balanced and mellow. Slight bready and biscuity malt as well. All around easygoing.

Taste: Grassy hops right up front. Solidly toasted malt base with some roasted and caramelized malt sweetness. Assertive (for this beer) cereal grain backbone. Yeast adds some mild fruity esters. Apple skin, a touch of mealy pear, and a vague general fruitiness. A nice balance of slightly sweet malts and mild, and what I have to imagine are English hops. Warming tamps everything down a bit, but it works.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and slightly creamy medium-light body. Moderate carbonation. Clean and easy drinking.

Overall: Not as fancy as a switchblade, but it'll work in a pinch.

I could drink this and then some. No frills, but it's a good beer through and through.

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Photo of mpedara429
3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Slightly hazy amber color. one finger of off white head and low retention.

S: Floral notes, pine, and bready yeast.

T: Very much like the smell, not very malty.

M: Medium, slightly creamy body with medium carbonation.

O: Not too bad. Reminds me of a lighter version of Founders Centennial IPA.

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Switchback Ale from Switchback Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 129 ratings.