I’ve been to Burlington, Vermont quite a bit, and I’d heard about Switchback Brewing, but had never gone to the brewery. Most of the hype seems to be centered around the Alchemist and Hill Farmstead (deservedly so). But it seemed to be quite a bit deal that Switchback recently began bottling their flagship beer, Switchback Ale. I was fortunate enough to have a bottle find its way to me over the Thanksgiving holiday, so here we go!
It pours a cloudy amber color with a very foamy head which settles down into nice sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. There are very clearly bits of yeast floating in it (Switchback states quite clearly on the label, “After aging, we simply move this beer to the keg or bottle, leaving it unfiltered for the freshest, fullest most natural flavor possible. the remaining yeast will slowly settle to the bottom of the bottle. We ENCOURAGE you to MIX THE YEAST back into the beer to experience it as ORIGINALLY bottled.” Alrighty then. As you get to the bottom of the bottle, there’s obviously considerably more yeast. Given what they recommend, I’d suggest ensuring proper mixing by sharing with a friend (not the first time we’ve recommended this!). Pour one glass half full, then the other. Then complete the pours for both glasses ensuring you get a balanced amount of sediment in each.
Smell is nice, but not overpowering: grass, hops, caramel. Medium body and carbonation with a malt-forward flavor profile featuring caramel, grass and herbal hops. Maybe a hint of brown sugar. Very easy-drinking with a pretty clean finish.
Vitals: Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a pint glass at about 42F. 5.0% ABV
Taste: B A very nice pale ale I’d be happy to have again, but I think it may have been a bit overhyped if I’m honest. I’m hoping someone else on the CBS crew will have a chance to give this a try and see if I’m missing something.
Drinkability A+ Relatively low ABV and a very smooth-drinking ale.
Packaging: B Nothing crazy here, but the label was informative.