Switchback Ale - Switchback Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Switchback AleSwitchback Ale

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BA SCORE
81
good

668 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 668
Reviews: 138
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.73%
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: 668 | Reviews: 138
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 StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i feel like this beer is everywhere in the northcountry now, despite being newer right? it pours almost clear pale ale looking darker than golden color with a better than average white head thick as cool whip. smells like a pretty standard pale ale, with some pine in the hop profile, but generic otherwise. flavor is beautifully balanced but kind of basic. lots of hop character leveled out by a surprisingly sturdy malt body. i love the quick bitter finish too. the mouthfeel is fine, nothing special, perhaps a touch overcarbonated, but nice full medium body on it. overall im afraid of its pandemic spreading, but it tastes pretty good, especially ice ice cold. somewhere between a B and a B+

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 jlindros
3.54/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at The Tavern at the Essex, Essex Junction, VT

Poured a light, slightly hazed, golden brown with a small head, that all but disappeared after a few minutes. Decent balance of malts and hops in the nose. Sweet and bready on the tongue, with citrus hops sneaking in about mid-drink. A decent brew, light-medium mouthfeel, and easily drinkable, but not too distinctive.

Photo of smcolw
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%

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.

Photo of Gavage
3.87/5  rDev +8.4%

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.

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 weeare138
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft at American Flatbread...
Appears a light gold with a 1 finger white head and scattered lacing.
Smell is of a mix of different varietels of hops and malt and an odd fruity citrus.
Taste is a bit of a weird one that challenges the pallet for respect and it seems to get it. I detect sweet malt, crisp wheat, along with a slight hop finish.
Mouthfeel is crisp, smooth, and medium carbonation that zips to the back of the tongue from the citrusy sweet start on the front of the tongue.
Drinkability is alright. Nice and refreshing with different styles being represented.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.13/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at sweet water in Burlington VT. Pours an almost clear reddish amber color with a stingy white head that almost made it to the table with the glass. Smells of caramel and brown sugar with a hint of earthy hops and butterscotch. Taste follows the smell fairly well caramel and butterscotch with earthy herbal hop flavor. Medium body with a spirited level of carbonation and a slick earthy mouthfeel. Meh. This tastes like an earthy long trail ale to me. I could drink these, but I wouldn't choose them from the cooler.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.56/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on-tap into a pint glass, the beer was a dark, cloudy brownish-tan coloring that is hazy enough to be completely opaque. There is a slight head to the brew that is little more than a film as you drink. The beer has a well blended nose, with characteristics of malt, nut, and slight chocolate sweetness. The beer's flavors are toasty, with nut and butter sweetness throughout, and come citrus highlights. Flavors tend to be a bit of a muddled mess, but tasty. The aftertaste is semisweet, with a bit of hops bitter at the very end. The finish is a mid-linger, with a creamy smooth feel to it. Interesting brew, but a bit all over the place. I would definitely get it again, though. Good flavors.

Photo of plaid75
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at a waterfront bar, adjacent to the ferry terminal, Burlington, Vermont.

Poured a medium copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured soft malts and a light grassy hop.

The taste was balanced with round malts and caramel in the front and a utilitarian grassy hop on the back end.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness.

Overall an average ale experience. Certainly servicable but otherwise uneventful.

Photo of ppoitras
3.12/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

22oz bottle purchased as a single from somewhere in the Middlebury/Burlington area.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" light beige head over the clear golden amber brew. Head holds on well, with average lacing. It should be noted that there is a lot of sediment in the bottle, which I did not roughly pour into the glass. Aroma is earthy yet balanced.

Taste is pale malt sweetness, balanced with earthy hops bitterness. Mouthfeel is a touch rocky, with drinkability being just okay. Something just seems a bit off to me.

Photo of Brad007
3.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy blondish amber color with a one finger head.

Aroma is full of a decent amount of malt and hops. Somewhat fruity.

Taste is smooth with biscuit malt and some hops upfront. A bit sweet as well.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering hops and malt. Smooth. Goes down well.

A decent, middle of the road ale. Not much to write home about though.

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 Durge
3.21/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Found at the Flat Street Grille in Brattleboro, VT this ale shows a classic yellow-amber with a decent white cover and fair lacing. The nose picks up just minor elements of spritzy lemon wheat, not much more. The taste is full of crispy wheat and toffee, fairly sharp but highly drinkable. A bit grassy in the hop bite with a touch of a dry finish. Lively carbonation for a very sprite feel with a medium-light bodied brew. Some evergreen freshness but generally not much more to speak of. Refreshing but not highly interesting. Quite drinkable though, not a dumper but clearly nothing special.

Photo of Jwale73
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

23oz. pour in an imperial pint glass. Poured a hazy amber-orange with a quarter inch white head that quickly fades into a skim. Nose is mild - some citrus fruit esters and a light wheat character on a malty backbone. Taste is consistent with nose - fairly muted flavor profile with a light astringency coming out, but not overwhelmingly so. Mouthfeel fell between light- and medium-bodied with a pleasant, consistent background effervescence. A decent beer, but not really what I anticipated for the style. Went down fairly easy, but not what I expected for an APA.

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

A-Pours a cloudy orange color. No head with no lacing. Bubbles can be spotted through the relatively light haze.

S-Light and sweet. Not much to inspect here. Not much hop in the nose. Just a sweet, simple, and soft aroma.

T-Just like the nose. Sweet first and foremost. Honey-like malt. A bit bready. Light nuttiness. Not much hop again.

M-Light with good carbonation. Smooth but not very crisp. Sessionable feel.

O/D-Was not enamored with this beer. Too boring for me. Sweet and forgettable.

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 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 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 francisweizen
3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another $2 special around Burlington town. This one is just a simple pale ale and I really prefer to go with the shed or rock art ones instead. This is a light amberish colour with a small off-white head. Aromas are pretty straight forward malts and hops, with a bit of doughiness from the malts and a subtle spiciness from the hops. Taste follows suit with nothing strange going on. Just a good ole' pale ale here folks. Mouthfeel is medium-light and drinkability is average. Not bad, not amazing, but decent.

Photo of dar482
3.87/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer comes in an extremely hazy peachy orange color.

The aroma is of citrus, grapefruit, orange, floral, and a bit of a bready malt.

The flavor follows with bright citrus of orange and fresh grapefruit. A gentle bready malt, with a bit of a grainy flavor in it. The finish is drying, floral, and a bit of bitterness.

A good session ale without much strong bitterness and a reasonable amount of hoppiness.

The beer comes in a dark amber orange color.

The aroma has tons of caramel sweetness, light peach juice, Belgian yeast, some phenolic.

The flavor follows of that extreme sweetness, hints of candied peach, Belgian yeast and breadiness, some tinges of alcohol. The extreme amount of sweetness actually hides the alcohol and we were very surprised to find out that the beer was 12%.

However, this is quite a disappointment. Overly sweet and sticky, lacking in complexity as a complete beer. Too light on the hop flavor.

Photo of Reagan1984
3.26/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on draft at Stratton Mountain. It was listed as an unfiltered ale. Cam in a pint glass with a thin head that vanished quite quickly. No lacing remained. A hazy amber color to the beer.

Very little aroma. What was present was a light toasted malt.

Flavor was somewhat bready with some light toasted malt. There was a herbaceous quality to the flavor. Not a great deal of notable hop presence but there was some bitterness to provide balance. A slight note of yeast.

The body was light and a touch thinner than I would have preferred.

It was a decent beer, but frankly I didn't get a second on early on a Saturday evening. That says something to me. Should to you too.

Photo of BMMillsy
2.78/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

On tap at the brewery. Wasn't a fan of this one, with some unpleasant finishing flavors for me. Gonna have to step things up if they want to compete.

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Switchback Ale from Switchback Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 668 ratings.