Switchback Ale | Switchback Brewing Company

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146 Reviews
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Switchback AleSwitchback Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Switchback Brewing Company
Vermont, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
146
Ratings:
785
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
31.07%
 
 
Wants:
19
Gots:
193
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
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Reviews: 146 | Ratings: 785
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 Drunkelstiltskin
4.52/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Almost two different beers whether had from a bottle or on-tap. This is one of the most unique beers you will ever try! It delivers a good amount of hops, while yet not being bitter in the slightest. It is dark-brown reddish in color, cloudy, and doesn't leave much of a lacing. This is my go-to dinner beer as it's balanced acidity, drink-ability and flavor pairs nicely with almost everything. I'm calling that this beer will gain a staggering, nationwide following in the next couple years, when just a few years ago this beer was only available in Chittenden County, VT. MUST TRY ON-TAP, you will fall in love.

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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 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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Photo of EoCahill
4.32/5  rDev +22%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Subjectively, this is my favorite beer. I get a little warm and fuzzy when I think about winter in Burlington, sidling up to the nearest hole-in-the-wall and ordering a frosted pint of this stuff. Heaven.

Objectively, there's nothing obviously outstanding about it. It's got a pretty typical light American ale color to it, maybe some amber highlights; light and palatable foam when it's poured properly; a pleasant aroma that hints at some sweet fruity tones to it, nothing overpowering though. There is just something about that flavor. I'm getting subjective again, but -- It's my beer soulmate.

I suspect they're using some kind of crazy Kolsch yeast, maybe brewing with ale yeast at lager yeast temperatures or something. I'd love to figure out what that trick is so I can brew little batches of it in my kitchen year round. Can anybody help on this? Yeast type and fermentation temperature?

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Photo of Bounty628
4.3/5  rDev +21.5%
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.

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Photo of flyfisha2181
4.26/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After a cold day on the slopes, nothing goes down better than a Switchback. It has amazing complexity for a light simple beer!!! A small brewery that has created a large taste. Switchback drinks light while maintaining a full body. The amber hue and fantastic aroma combine to make this one of my favorite beers. A close second for me La Fin du Monde!!!

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.22/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I had this one last night at the Weathervane in downtown Brattleboro,VT./again many times after that in various bottles.

AP: A cloudy (unfiltered) but pretty deep amber color with a rather dense, slow moving off white crown.

Nose: herbal zest, big spicey hop scent with good depth. without the big nose tingling effect of cascade hops.Underneath is a wheat, sour and sweet smelling malt.

Taste: Such a unique flavor, the malt and yeast are a mega unique combo. Dry, earthy, yeasts notes of a lager with a crisp bite of a heady ale. Love the no style needed approach, because this original transcends style.
Unbelievably easy to drink, good complexity and always fresh and clean feel.
This is a remarkable brew. Original for sure.

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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 notown
4.18/5  rDev +18.1%
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.

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Photo of SunDevilBeer
4.15/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this several times on a recent trip to Sugarbush, as it's available on tap nearly everywhere.

Looks like a cloudy Sam Adams, but that's where the similarities end. A caramel-ish sweet citrus taste up front which gets washed away by the hops at the end with a slight tingle. Each sip leaves you wanting more - quickly. And you can do it too, because the alcohol is left in check. This beer is definitely a drinker, not a sipper, and not one you want to sit and dissect flavors....just drink.

This is a terrific beer to session apres-ski. If I lived in Vermont this would be my go-to beer.

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Photo of illpass78
4.14/5  rDev +16.9%

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 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 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 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 smakawhat
4.12/5  rDev +16.4%
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.

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Photo of berliner07
4.12/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a go-to when I want a nice, tasty pale ale that is not going to overwhelm. Without filtration, the beer has a lot of fresh qualities to it. The hops are not too much, but they are present on every sip. I would like a bit more bubbles in this. Its borderline flat sometimes. But otherwise a great, great beer.

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Photo of Kiviranna1
4.1/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very good unfiltered ale. Well balanced flavors and VERY smooth to drink. Good standby anywhere you find it. I'm always looking for it on tap in Vermont (they don't bottle, so you won't find it in-store). I'm never disappointed. Also... don't ignore the porter. Awesome brew.

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Photo of spydo99
4.1/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My current beer of choice when taking a pilgrimage to VT. Unfortunate that production does not allow for bottling or distribution outside VT.

Appreance and Taste is typical of unfiltered ale. Smooth. Consistent.

Worth the trip to brewery for company history and fresh sample.

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Photo of bishopdc0
4.05/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a big glass (special night at the GLB)

The color is amber not transparent with a nice thick head to start. As I drink lacing forms

The aroma is sweet subtle hops of citrus and a sweet malt very nice

The taste is brilliant start with a soft carbonation a sweet malt comes and reveals a citrus hops mixed with a slight earthiness

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Photo of Cavanaghty
4.03/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from tap

Appearance: Dark Brown color with a small amount of head. Decent carbonation. Slightly off white head.

Smell: Toasted malts and hoppy. Some sweetness.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Medium bodied not a smooth as I had hoped for. Toasted malts and yeast could be tasted with a subtle sweetness. Bitter after taste.

Overall: Good beer. I think I will revisit this beer the next time I'm back in the Burlington area.

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Photo of shortkut
4.01/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

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Photo of Alissa2579
4/5  rDev +13%

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 Tsmalley
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very cloudy w/ golden color.
Has a very floral smell and the taste is one of it's own. Hoppy yet smooth, exceptionally drinkable, I used to drink at least one a day and on a cold winter you could keep the tap pourin'.
Lived in Vermont for 4 years and while vt has many beers that are better , this one will always find it's place.
Mentally, It feels like an English pub beer (in england) for Vermonters (aka the right beer to drink with little or no thought to it)

If your in the area, Throw back a switchback.

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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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Switchback Ale from Switchback Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 146 ratings.
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