Passport Stop #10: Switchback

Some people might think that Switchback, like the Alchemist, only makes one kind of beer. Go into any bar or restaurant in Burlington and ask for a Switchback and you’ll always be brought the same thing; Switchback Ale, or what I like to call the Ol’ Standby. It’s my fallback, my ever-present, reliable friend. It’s what I go for when I don’t quite know what else I want, or when I just want something I already know is good. I’m even 90 percent sure it was the first beer I ever drank. But Switchback does produce a few other offerings, two of which I tried the day I visited.

Brown Ale: Roasty, toasty, and caramel-y, but the hops are still present

Dooley’s Belated Porter: Malty, but the nontraditional use of Simcoe hops adds something satisfying.

We actually had a lot of trouble finding the tasting area of the brewery. As you pull up, you can see Switchback and Mackenzie hotdog trucks lined up in the parking lot, but we walked all the way around the building before we actually located the visitor’s center. The room is sparsely decorated, mostly piled with tempting t-shirts and other merch, and a couple of kegerators stand at the far end. An assistant who was happy to tell us all about the different beers poured us our samples and we were free to wander into a short corridor to look into the brewery. Tours are offered a couple of times a day on Saturdays, but we weren’t there at the right time that day.

The next time I see a Switchback beer on tap that isn’t the classic ale, I’ll definitely treat my taste buds. But then again, it’s hard to resist an Ol’ Standby.

160 Flynn Ave
Burlington, VT


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