Switchback Ale - Switchback Brewing Company

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Switchback AleSwitchback Ale

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BA SCORE
80
good

128 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 128
Hads: 682
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 12.46%
Wants: 13
Gots: 119 | 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: 128 | Hads: 682
Photo of kingcrowing
3.96/5  rDev +12.2%
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! (394 characters)

Photo of shanem
3.63/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy unfiltered golden color with inch of light head

S: Slightly sweet with a bit of yeast and slight bit of hops, nothing overpowering

T: Has some hops and sweetness with a slight fruity/citrusy note. Crisp though

M: average, looks heavier than it ends up being

D: a very drinkable pale ale. This is one I commonly reach for when in the rare mood to not go for the darkest beer available (397 characters)

Photo of Brad007
3.47/5  rDev -1.7%
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. (350 characters)

Photo of rregan
2.12/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A- Super light yellowish color, fairly transparent. Not a good head but could have been because of the servor.

S- I think a trained nose would pick out the malt and hops, but frankly it was nonexistent.

T- Solid ale I guess, but nothing special. Rather bland. Below average quality.

M- Pretty crisp and bubbly. Goes down easy.

D- This beer bored me to death. Probably won't have another one. I'd rather have a Bud. (418 characters)

Photo of indiapaleale
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice dark golden/amber color with about an inch of foam. Nice looking pour.

Smell is malty sweet, wee bit of hops and some familiar butteriness.

Tastes very solid for a pale ale. Its very balanced between malt and hops with a slight bit of a citrus finish. I definitely taste some butteriness (ringwood?) but not a whole lot and it seems to give this one more character.

Its a bit creamy and very drinkable. Great pale ale on draft up here in Vermont. (463 characters)

Photo of aerozeppl
3.36/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Super cloudy. Almost like a wheat beer.

S: Very cidery. Balanced out a bit by the malt.

T: Very mild. Bitter. Tons of malt to balance it out but still has that cidery taste.

M: Almost a creamy mouthfeel. The best part of this beer.

D:Super easy drinking. Good everyday I don't want to think about it beer. (320 characters)

Photo of mshallah
3.35/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When this brew arrived at the table the first thing I noticed was that it is an unfiltered beer. Usually a good thing right? This is probably the cloudiest beer I've had served on-tap. The smell is very subdued. The taste is similar to some pale ales with a malt-hop combination in balance producing an easy to drink but unremarkable brew. One flavor standout was a sour note. I'm not talking Belgian sour, just a slight but noticeable sourness to go along with the mild sweetness and mild hop presence. It went well with food because it did not overshadow and seems a beer one could drink all night because there is nothing offensive about it. I would not seek this out,but I also would not turn it down if offered. (716 characters)

Photo of thekevlarkid
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one can be found all over Burlington, is it worth the hype? Off the tap at Drink this beer was a cloudy, honey/amber color. White head, moderate retention and lacing. The aroma was subtle, pale malt and some caramelized malt with faint floral hops. The flavors seemed a little washed out, but nice. Floral hops up front followed by the sweet malt and pale malt backbone and some light citrus hops towards the end. Balanced but uninspired. Finishes crisp and a little sour. Medium body, medium carbonation and a smooth mouthfeel. Very sessionable and one that has a lot of potential to be mass marketed. (607 characters)

Photo of deanhead
3.54/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I enoyed this beer on tap from JD McCliments in Putney Village. It's a terrific little place .

We sat at the bar and ordered wings and beer.
The beer arrived in a pint glass, and exceptionally cloudy. This beer is clearly unfiltered. I'm an avid homebrewer and my unfiltered beer has more clarity then this stuff. While it certainly was a tasty beer, it was also without a doubt occluded.

It had a mild head which reduced to a lace of bubbles on the glass.

It is a slightly sweet well balanced ale with no real hop standout, aside from slight citrusy hop notes.

Light to medium body drinkable beverage. It certainly struck a cord with this unfiltered delight. Just wish I was more prepared.

How about cold conditioning this beer guys? (742 characters)

Photo of Sammy
2.75/5  rDev -22.1%
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. (252 characters)

Photo of tgbljb
3.95/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served as a orange-apricot colored beer with moderate off-white head.
Smell is predominately malt and caramel with only a promise of hop noted.
Taste is also stong on malt and caramel and the hop is left way in the background.
Finish could use a bit more hop presence to do a better balance for the malt
A refreshing beer, but maybe a bit lacking. (347 characters)

Photo of drseamus
2.61/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I had this beer at Mahar's where the bartender described it as a decent session beer. I found it to be an acceptable session beer; lacking in taste somewhat and aroma completely though. It pours a cloudy amber color with a white head. It had almost no aroma at all though, which was a bit disappointing. The flavor had very light malt aroma with no hop aroma with a bit of lemon in the background. It also had a flavor I couldn't exactly place, but might have been some smokiness. It had a light body and fairly low drinkability. (529 characters)

Photo of Bounty628
4.3/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I just got back from visiting Switchback Brewery. Although a somewhat new brewery trying to enter a heavily saturated microbrewery market in Vermont, the Switchback Pale Ale was a solid performer.

If in the Burlington area, I would recommend calling the brewery and scheduling a tour/tasting. Four of us guys went on a Saturday at 1pm and were greeted by 2 of Switchback's employees. The brewery was an impressive picture of where this brewery will likely be in 5 more years. Although the beer is served only in kegs right now, rest assured this brewery will enter the bottle market with great success.

The beer was a rather medium tasting Pale Ale with a taste that was more enjoyable than several other pale ales. The color has a copper/amber color that poured nicely into the glass.

All in all, the brewery experience made my three friends and I yearn for more Switchback while we hung out in downtown Burlington for the night. Every bar in town featured the brew, and the locals seemed to enjoy it as much as we did. (1,029 characters)

Photo of BillyB
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
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. (511 characters)

Photo of jdg204
3.7/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this bad boy in it's hometown of Burlington, VT, where this was on-tap in just about every bar.

Appearance - Nice golden color with a decent white head, nothing spectacular here.

Smell - Nice mix of light hops and dry malt odor.

Taste - Probably the best part of the brew, had a classic nice balance with light hops and sweetness/citrus and a nice bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - The pleasantly bitter finish provides a very nice aftertaste and the texture is quite smooth and consistent.

Drinkability - This was a decent session brew and you have to try one if your in the Burlington bar scene. Was very glad I tried one and I'm sure you will be too. (665 characters)

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
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. (408 characters)

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.65/5  rDev +3.4%
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. (648 characters)

Photo of lehows
3.65/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at The Perfect Wife in Manchester. Poured a hazy orange color with a small head, nice retention. Light aromas of citrus orange and some faint hoppiness. This taste isnt really what you'd expect from pale ale, and it is somewhat bland, but still interesting. Tastes sort like a citrusy wheat ale with a bit of hops. Very carbonated. A lot of people were drinking this and it is very drinkable and sessionable. Try it if youre up in VT. (450 characters)

Photo of notown
4.18/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had at the Outback Steakhouse in Burlington. I look forward to my summer trip to Burlington because it is the only time of the year I have this beer.

From tap, the beer is a nice golden color with a slight cloudiness. Medium bodied, moderate maltieness with a nice hop charactor.

Pairs well with a seasoned steak. (320 characters)

Photo of jmz62565
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
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. (388 characters)

Photo of scottum
3.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One liter hand bottled fliptop, $1.50 deposit
Pours a coudy light brown amber color with a full white head. Tastes crisp and a little chew for balance. The hops are nice and mellow with a good finish. Unfiltered helps! This new batch of bottles seems promising. There are so many bad Switchback taps around Burlington, it's nice to finally know the beer you're getting. A worthy pale. (385 characters)

Photo of NEhophead
2.93/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A creamy off-white head that fades to nothing after a few moments. A few traces of condensed lacing but not great strength. Slightly thin and watered-down oak in color.

Slightly sweet caramel aroma with hints of lemon and floral hops. For a Pale, the hop character is rather understated in terms of aroma.

Slightly malty flavors; an astringent caramel and toffee sweetness. Touches of floral hops with notes of lemon that fail to balance the maltiness. Rather watery, which provides little to no bitterness. An aftertaste of biscuit and faint citric notes.

A touch lighter than medium bodied; bland and unobtrusive on the palate. Lacking substance.

This one is on tap virtually everywhere around Burlington. I had this at a small bar overlooking Lake Champlain; my other options were bud, coors, etc. This one isn't bad tasting, but it's almost as bland as drinking one of these other macros. (905 characters)

Photo of weeare138
3.95/5  rDev +11.9%
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. (582 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
3/5  rDev -15%
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. (510 characters)

Photo of connecticutpoet
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a deep yellow ale, that was surprisingly clear for an unfiltered brew. The head was somewhat low.

The aroma was of pine and citrus, more like lemon or a touch of grapefruit.

Initially the taste was slightly bitter, with a hop tang. This smoothed into a slightly smoky, yeasty, wheat-like flavor.

A pretty good drinking beer, went well with the barbecue ribs I was eating that night. (394 characters)

Switchback Ale from Switchback Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.