Switchback Ale - Switchback Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Switchback AleSwitchback Ale

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BA SCORE
81
good

672 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 672
Reviews: 140
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: 672 | Reviews: 140
Photo of GilboBaggins
2.5/5  rDev -30%

Meh...good initial taste, but the after taste is not appealing and lingers.

Photo of illpass78
4.14/5  rDev +16%

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.

Photo of Flounder57
3.6/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

Photo of scotorum
3.75/5  rDev +5%

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.

Photo of argock
3.1/5  rDev -13.2%

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.

Photo of GJ40
3.22/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

Photo of david_robert
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Photo of Tmyhre802
3.54/5  rDev -0.8%
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!

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.56/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.75/5  rDev +5%
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.

Photo of mpedara429
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of koutkid41
3.1/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Golden amber color with a decent white foam head. There is some lacing.

S: Not really smelling much in the way of hops, very bready and malting on the nose. Reminds me of a German Lager in aroma.

T: Tastes alot of bread and caramel malts again reminds me alot of a German lager. Slight citra taste. Although the taste is not very prominent.

M: Leaves a nice clean slightly bitter taste on the palate. Good carbonation

D: Easy to drink, lighter on the flavor and aroma then I'm used to in a Pale Ale.

Photo of shortkut
4.01/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I purchased a bottle when visiting Vermont a month ago and left it in my refrigerator. I poured it into a pilsner, and when really cold, I would not rate it above a 3/5. I left it on the table for a little while as I made dinner and when I drank it later it was a little cooler than room temperature. The increase in temperature led to a dramatic improvement to the taste and jumped it up to a solid 4/5.

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 Hendry
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Rich amber color, no head in the 16 oz plastic cup served at a Johnny Winter concert.

Aroma is mostly malty and brown sugar sweet, hops barely present.

Taste is the best part of this local ale, it has a sweetness to it with an almost English Bitter finish, semi creamy.

Mouthfeel is medium,carbonation was relatively low but not bad.

Lots of to do about this ale when it was first available in stores, but this is a relatively pedestrian offering that has some good qualities that are likable.Worth trying at least once.

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 RADRACING
3.51/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Serving type. i have had on tap many many times but for this review it came from a bottle

Appearance. bit cloudy but expected as it says it will be on the bottle. nice golden to amber color

Smell. Not a lot of hop profile but very nice balance of malt and hop.

Taste. very balanced. nice malt taste and good hop to round it out. fantastically refreshing brew for after a ski or boarding day. Goes great with all types of BBQ

Mouth feel higher end of light body lower end of medium. very very smooth and drinkable.

Overall. this is a quality brew. when we go out for eats in Vermont and they have it, i get it. as a professional chef ill have to say this is my favorite beer to pair with all foods! looking foreword to the brown ale and porter

Photo of beergoot
3.42/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Review taken from notes dated October 17th, 2013 while vacationing in New England...

Appearance: cloudy orange; thin white head.

Smell: warm bread; light fruit character.

Taste: light, grainy malt flavors; mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: crisp & dry; tingling carbonation.

Decent ale. Served too cold to fully appreciate flavor possibilities.

Photo of cavedave
2.79/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours an almost clear light amber with an inch of off white foam for a moment finally a ring and island. Decent legs of lace cling.

Not much going on in the aroma. I catch a hint of some grainy sweet and a bit of herbal and grassy hop in this light strength aroma, not much else. Hope this gets better.

Tastes more like an English Pale, some herbally hop and hints of tart yeast, lackluster sweet, and really not a whole lot to say about this, good or bad.

Low carb., and light viscosity, not a great flavor profile, and not a clean linger nor is it refreshing.

Don't really recommend this beer. It's not that it's terrible, just that it is far surpassed by at least 300 easier to get,less expensive, and better pale ales.

Photo of horshack7
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It pours a hazy amber with copper hues. On top is a head about one finger thick that is an off white and a little rocky.

Aroma: Caramel malts with some light molasses notes and brown bread. Citrus is faint but there are notes of raisins with twinge of pear towards the back.

Taste: Bready in the front and very crisp. Citrus is up there to with notes of grapefruit and pear. Wisps of lemon with a splash of honey and a nice dry finish.

Notes: A very solid beer that has a good twist on that being unfiltered a good pick up. Cheers.

Photo of lancecenter
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy orange/golden color, two fingers of head that quickly dissipate. Good lacing.

S - Biscuity malts, oily hops, and fruit at the end.

T/M - Surprisingly malty for the low alcohol content. The hops seem to be missing on the tongue.

O - Much better than expected. I wouldn't mind visiting the brewery next time I had to VT.

Photo of MrIncognito
3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A - poured from a bomber, was a dark amber/brown body with a 2-finger khaki head that faded after a couple minutes and left decent lacing. TONS and tons of sediment floating in this beer. I don't think I've ever seen so much before in a beer

S - Biscuit malt-forward all the way with a touch of light piney hops but very subdued. Mild bready sweetness.

T&M - Light body with minimal carbonation so goes down pretty easy. Taste follows the smell: malt forward giving it a bread crust flavor with very minimal hop bitterness. Moderately sweet with no trace of alcohol. Not a whole lot going on

O - very drinkable and sessionable but left much to be desired. Definitely not a bad beer but I really wanted more flavor out of this bottle-conditioned, unfiltered beer. Still can't get over all the sediment!

Photo of neophilus
3.62/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Copper colored brew, opaque, light white head. Earthy hop aroma with some malt scent.

More earthy hops in the flavor, but dominated by dry biscuity malt. Some yeast esters with a hint of chalk. A bit subdued for a pale ale, hop bitterness is adequate but the malt dominates the flavor. More on the English side of the pale ale spectrum. Kind of middle-of-the-road but still a solid brew, flavor is not flat and has good character. Would be a good recommendation for someone who doesn't like IPA's or citrus/pine hops.

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 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.

Switchback Ale from Switchback Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 672 ratings.