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Switchback Ale | Switchback Brewing Company

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Switchback AleSwitchback Ale

Brewed by:
Switchback Brewing Company
Vermont, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by kaszeta on 08-06-2003

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Reviews: 147 | Ratings: 797
Photo of stephens101
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

One of the last beers from a recent New England haul. Had many really good brews, and some not so good ones, so here's hoping for the best.

Light, hazy amber in color with a finger of tan froth. Caramel and persimmon in the aroma. More fruit and caramel on the tongue before a faint hop presence is noticed. Light to medium in body.

Not a huge let down here, but nothing special either.

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Photo of daudelin2000
3.79/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I've never been a huge Switchback fan as I believe there are SO many better Vermont beers. However, I can appreciate what it has done for the craft beer movement in Vermont. If you were already a craft beer fan before you tried Switchback, you probably weren't blown away by it. If you were not a fan of craft beer, Switchback is the kind of beer that could be a gateway beer into the craft beer world. In any case, here's my official review.

It pours a copper color with a decent off white head. Smell is mostly bready malts with some caramel mixed in. No hop aroma detectable. Taste is caramel sweetness with a slight earthy flavor. Almost no real hop flavor or bitterness detected. Pretty easy drinking, but mostly because it lacks any big flavors. As I've said, it pales in comparison to many other Vermont brews, but I would still select this over the Buds/Coors/Miller's of the world any day of the week.

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Photo of MamaHoney
4.6/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a true american amber ale. There is nothing too fancy. It has a nice crisp pour with a darker tone and heavier aroma, but a lighter and almost fruity taste. Unfiltered and smooth - it's no wonder this is a staple for so many locals.

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Photo of Mongrel
3.52/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a bit of an odd one, especially considering how fondly VT locals seem to feel about this beer. It sorta defies categorization. A hazy, unfiltered, only mildly hopped amber ale. It's a bit nutty and biscuity, but also possesses some witbier qualities. Almost like a Fat Tire that's been mellowed by some wheat. Pretty drinkable, but not remarkable.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Switchback Brewing Co. "Switchback Ale"
12 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, "Bottled On: 02.25.16" on 06.10.16
$2.00 @ 802 BWS, Burlington, VT

Switchback Ale pours a hazy copper body with golden highlights beneath a creamy head of white that holds well and leaves spots and streaks of lace about the glass as it goes.

The aroma expresses caramel malts as well as just a tinge of chocolate or cocoa, yeast, and just a hint of herbal/leafy hops.

The flavor opens up a bit, adding some non-specific fruitiness into the mix (some apple, very soft berry, ... ?), and perhaps a bit of a floral character to its hops. It's nicely balanced with a leaning towards sweetness although it does dry readily in the finish, leaving a minor bit of bitterness and some floral and then herbal hops lingering.

One of the best things about it, however, is it's natural conditioning which leaves it very fine-bubbled and smooth across the palate. It feels like a "real ale" because it is a real ale! And the combination of sweetish caramelish malt, floral and leafy hops, yeast, and subtle fruit is also quite English in nature. Utterly quaffable!

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Photo of stakem
2.74/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A bomber poured into a pint glass. The brew appears a clear copper color with off-white cap. It smells of minerals/carbonics light fruity alcohol and buttery diacetyl with a faint backing of caramel malt. The taste is sweet with minimal caramel malt, fruity alcohol, mineral character and some buttery diacetyl. A slight bitter aftertaste and tea-like astringency is left lingering.

This is medium in body with modest carbonation. Lets be honest - this really is not good. When my buddy told me he was bringing me some beer back from his VT trip, I was excited to try something new. Now that I had it, I hope I never have to drink it again.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Undated bottle into pint glass. Red-amber with an off-white head. Initial impression is roasted malt, bready/biscuity, with a slighly bitter finish. Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation. Quite refreshing and drinkable. Good beer.

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Photo of edward_boumil
4.14/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Solid, super easy drinking beer, especially on draft. Tons of toasty malt, even slightly crisp hint of citrus on the finish. Smooth finish, but tons of flavor and a touch of bitterness as well.
Honestly this is a simple beer, but for those who appreciate simplicity, quality ingredients and balanced flavors (me) this is a great beer.

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Photo of Butznutz
4.37/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

God this is a great beer and one of the treasures of Vermont in that it is usually on tap anywhere within the state. Super easy drinking with a nice breaded malt backbone. Pours hazy and unfiltered. Medium body, medium finish with slight toffee/nut. Surprised it is rated as low as it is. Would drink this all day

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Photo of 6470zzy
3/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours hazy and golden with a one finger head that settles down and lingers throughout the session with nice lacing.

Smell: Very mild, some dust and grain

Taste: Subtle hop bitterness with a dry crisp finish

Mouth-feel: Medium body and carbonation

Drink-ability: Definitely an easy drinking beer and not one that it going to tire out your taste buds.

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Photo of Kinger22
4.18/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Overall a solid brew. A good level of carbonation, with an enjoyable hop/malt combo of a finish. Beautiful color poured from its bottle into a beer glass.

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Photo of jared-beer
4.13/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Great beer. Very easy to drink, and for all the local "macrobrews" in Vermont this one always seems to be the cheapest on tap and easily available in most Vermont retail locations. this slightly amber ale is very rich going down and has a very pleasant malty sweet aftertaste that's very satisfying. Although it's a darker rich beer if never seems to bloat me of leave me feeling overstuffed. Overall, great brew will drink again many times.

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Photo of rorykanderson
3.34/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An unfiltered everyman beer that has a clean malt/hop taste. Best served cold after a hearty day of activity. Nothing outstanding but it'll satisfy, for sure. Real easy drinker.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.54/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: hazy; burnished gold in color; 1 finger ivory head that receded to a thin collar; very little lacing;

S: quite bready; pale malt and toffee in the background;

T: sweet malt with toffee and nut behind it; more nutty on the finish with mild bitterness;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; dry finish;

O: enjoyable; would pair well with a lot of food;

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Photo of RABouffard
4.14/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Unfiltered amber color, well-balanced with complex malts and a mild hop finish. A refreshing creamy, smooth brew, easy drinking, not extreme in any way, just a pleasant above average pale ale.

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Photo of BranfordBound
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bomber dated mid-September into a pint glass. Comes out a very cloudy amber color with a white head that leaves great lacing. Smell is very weak, some grain husk and yeast at the most. Very mild flavor, quick sweetness and breadiness, bitter hops at the end, somewhat dry mouthfeel. It's a tasty beer but it's very basic. Should be good for coverting those macro drinkers.

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Photo of Dope
3.52/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

No bottling date that I can find.

A: Pours a cloudy red. Mid-sized fizzy light tan head. Head dissipates almost immediately, leaving no lacing or head retention at all.

S: Pretty subtle aroma. Light herbal quality and some caramel malt.

T: Again, pretty mild. Mild herbal hoppiness with some grass and a touch of citrus up front. Caramel sweetness and a little graininess, especially in the finish. More herbal and stronger grassy tones, with floral hops now, in the finish.

M: Light/medium bodied. Lower carbonation makes it feel heavier than it is.

O: Not a bad amber. Nice and easy drinking with some classic hop flavors to spice it up a little bit and to keep it from being too bland.

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Photo of fitzy84
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
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 +2.8%
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 +0.3%
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 +8.8%
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%
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%
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 TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On-tap 4/19/2015 at Pour Farm, in New Bedford, MA served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains caramelized malts, fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, fruit that are quickly followed by a strong creaminess that you typically don’t find in this type of beer. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a decent beer to drink for a while.

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Photo of Chris33
4.36/5  rDev +23.2%
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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Switchback Ale from Switchback Brewing Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 797 ratings.
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