A Check-up on Switchback Brewing

At a recent check-up at Copley Hospital, a certain nurse technician (“hi” if you’re out there) stated emphatically that her favorite beer is Switchback Ale from Switchback Brewing Company in Burlington, Vermont. Frankly, I was surprised that she didn’t go with the more famous Heady Topper or Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine, but then, after pondering it for some time, I realized that Switchback has always been a reliable choice when stopping at a Vermont convenience/general/country store. The beer is ubiquitous and good.

I also realized that in all my traipsing around Burlington and environs, I had yet to come upon this brewery. So the quest was set, and the quest was recently met when I stopped into their expanded Tap Room down by the lake on Flynn Avenue. It was around Noon on a Saturday so I was not surprised to see just a few cars in the parking lot … but then I noticed the small bus … in fact, a large group with City Brew Tours had descended on the brewery and filled the Tap Room with a lively mix of beer bros and sis. There were also a few hipsters to make the Cicerone more at home.

The tour seemed to be avoiding the bar, so that’s where I sidled up to and ordered a tasting flight of four beers:

October 13, 2018 - Samples at Switchback Brewing Company in Burlington, Vermont

Switchback Ale (5.0% ABV) This is the classic ale and you can’t go wrong. Nice amber pour and good taste.
Appearance: 4.6 | Aroma: 4.3 | Feel: 4.4 | Taste: 4.5 | Overall: 4.4

Octothorp #6 IPA (5.9% ABV) A hazy pour with hops aromas cascading out. Excellent taste as well.
Appearance: 4.7 | Aroma: 4.6 | Feel: 4.5 | Taste: 4.6 | Overall: 4.6

Smoke 40 IPA (5.9% ABV) Part of the Flynn on Fire series … thought I smelled/tasted bacon, but I’m sure it just the smokey flavor … I’ll just pretend its bacon though! This beer is worth a try … the flavor is different, but not overpowering.
Appearance: 4.6 | Aroma: 4.5 | Feel: 4.4 | Taste: 4.5 | Overall: 4.5

Smoked Saison (7.8% ABV) Part of the Flynn on Fire, this beer had an uninteresting appearance and the aromas and flavors weren’t as good as the Smoke 40. Good ABV though.
Appearance: 4.4 | Aroma: 4.6 | Feel: 4.4| Taste: 4.5 | Overall: 4.4

The Cicerone says: You need to check out one of the beers from the Flynn on Fire series … definitely a different take on an IPA! Also, for extra credit, check out City Brew Tours … it looks like a fun day out.


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