I love beer. I love breweries. I love touring breweries. I love the smell, I love the science, I love the trying out the samples! If you are living or even planning on visiting Vermont a brewery stop must be put into the schedule. Vermont is so blessed to have so many breweries, it’s somewhat crazy. I’ve had the luxury to visit most of them, however we must start off with my favorite – Switchback Brewing Company.
Keep an eye out for this when you are out and about:
A few years ago my friends and I were out in downtown Burlington and we came across “Switchback” which was only on tap at the bars. We couldn’t find it in the stores, we knew it was being brewed in Burlington so I decided to do a little research. I dug around, turned out you could get a tour but you had to schedule one in advance. I got a group of about 6-7 of us together off we went.
When we arrived, we found the brewery to be in an old warehouse / packing house (I believe for McKenzie hot dogs). We were greeted by the mastermind of Switchback who gave us a tour of his facility and we learned a little more about him and the company. Most interestingly, he received his masters from UCLA in beer brewing. The man is a genius.
Switchback was founded in 2002. Their main goal was to create the highest quality beer in as few resources as possible. We visited Switchback around 2006-2007, we’ve got to think back to what Switchback was around then. Switchback was kicking off, becoming more and more popular. They couldn’t keep up with the demand and were making beer around the clock and were running out of space in the building. He told us that they did distribute bottles at one point however they were putting on the labels by hand and the job was just too much. They decided to stick to selling kegs only and promote their brand strictly thru word of mouth.
Since our tour, Switchback has grown quite a bit. They now offer tours ever Saturday and carrying multiple brews. The first brew was the Switchback Pale Ale (my favorite). This is an unfiltered ale that is so smooth and refreshing (I’m kind of hating that I decided to write about this because I’m starting to crave) with a hoppy flavor and a slightly fruity taste. Yum – delicious.
Switchback has also created a few other brews, Switchback Porter (December 2002), Roasted Red Ale (November 2007) and Brown Ale (August 2010). I’m going to be honest and say that I’ve only had the Pale Ale (when I find something I like, I stick to it!) but I would definitely love to try some of their other brews.
When you are in a college town and there is good beer, word spreads really fast. That’s the case with Switchback and now the good word has spread throughout the country. Everytime I go home, its on my list of must have’s and there is nothing like being in Burlington with a good group of friends and an ice cold Switchback. (And if the people from Switchback ever read this, can you please send me some Pale Ale?!)