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:
792
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
31.07%
 
 
Wants:
19
Gots:
199
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
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Reviews: 146 | Ratings: 792
Photo of Gavage
3.87/5  rDev +9.3%

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.

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Photo of Brenden
3.05/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

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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 TWStandley
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Enjoyed on tap at the Lucky Dog Tavern in Plymouth, NH.

Appeared amber in color with barely any head retention.

Smelled of light malt sweetness and a slight pine scent on the end.

Taste was pretty well balanced but also pretty boring. Nothing wowed me about this one.

Mouthfeel was fine.

Overall an ok beer but nothing really great about it.

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Photo of scootny
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%

A 3.75 The bottle is a 22oz with instructions to introduce the yeast that settles on the bottom. As a result my glass is filed with an opaque and light orange brown fluid. Good head, light brown eggshell with healthy lacing.
S 3.75 Lots of bread and biscuit. Some light fruitiness with some caramel sweetness.
T 4.0 I really like this one. Deep bready malt front with a biscuity finish. Clean dry hop finish has earth and a light astringency. Great balance.
M 3.75 Smooth and crisp carbonation. Perfect weight. Quenching and refreshing.
O 3.75 A perfectly balanced and highly drinkable brew. Thanks to my good beer buddy Chris Brady for the opportunity to sample a superb session ale. More please!

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

A- light amber/brown color that pours a 2 finger head but runs off quickly. A poor lacing made around the glass. mildly opaque with bits of yeast floating.

S- hints of caramel but mainly and earthy bready aroma. maybe some hints of dark candied fruit.

F- Flavor mimics the nose with the caramel malts being dominant. I also detect molasses as the possible dark candied fruit that comes through. bready and earthy tones as well.

M- carbonated and chewy and medium bodied

O- not a bad ale.....the caramel actually makes the beer in my opinion.

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Photo of smcolw
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%

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.

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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 Flounder57
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

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Photo of scotorum
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%

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.

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Photo of argock
3.1/5  rDev -12.4%

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.

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Photo of GJ40
3.22/5  rDev -9%
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.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

The first time I had this it was terrible. Recently had in new 12oz format. Tastes fresher for sure. I liken it to an american style english mild. Not too much flavor. Easy drinking, smooth ale.

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Photo of david_robert
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

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Photo of Tmyhre802
3.54/5  rDev 0%
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!

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.56/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of mpedara429
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of koutkid41
3.1/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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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 dar482
3.87/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

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Photo of Hendry
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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Photo of ThisLadyLovesBeer
3.13/5  rDev -11.6%
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."

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Photo of RADRACING
3.51/5  rDev -0.8%
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

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Photo of beergoot
3.42/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Switchback Ale from Switchback Brewing Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 792 ratings.
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