160 Flynn Ave, Burlington, VT 05406
Brewery, Tours, Tasting Room, Retail Sales
Switchback produces excellent, top quality beer and is one of the leaders in establishing Vermont at the forefront of the craft beer trade. Quality and contribution to the craft and participation in the local agricultural and brewing scene place Switchback among the top breweries in the northeast region.
When flatlanders descend upon small Vermont general stores on a weekend quest only to find the shelves devoid of the current trendiest suds, they generally say something like: “Well, at least they have Switchback.” And that speaks volumes.
The brewery’s flagship product is Switchback Ale, immediately identifiable by the stylized “S” on the blue label, priced at about half whatever popular internet celebrity beer prompts people to wait on line in a cramped convenience store.
And the truth is the quality control is better than most, ingredients are locally sourced whenever possible, and the copper kettle brewhouse is second to none. Problem is nobody really knows what Switchback Ale is, exactly. It’s kind of a pale ale, but not quite, certainly not like an IPA but it has that east coast balance thing going on…so what is it?
Switchback vaguely claims it to be a “reddish-amber ale.” It’s unfiltered, bottle conditioned, and excellent. Fact is brewery founder Bill Cherry formulated a target beer flavor in his mind, and figured out a way to make it, but apparently never saw a need to really define it.
The brew crew also figured out a way to enter new markets, going in with smaller kegs for an easier sell. Demand grew, and the brewery grew with it. So today the beer is widely available throughout New England, and arguably one of the best of the ubiquitous bombers.
So maybe we don’t know exactly what it is, but we know it’s excellent, and we don’t have to pay through the nose like those people waiting on line.
Switchback Ale — ABV 5.0/ IBU 28. Another great offering is the seasonal Märzenfest — ABV 5.2 / IBU 23.