Get excited, folks. Switchback is launching an initiative. A smoked beer initiative. Here at Switchback, we firmly believe that smoked beers have not yet gotten their due. Just like the greatly respected Belgian styles, goses and sours that have made their comeback before, it’s now time for the neglected smoked beers to take the stage. We know it can be intimidating, but we're here to help. We’re here as the shining beacon to lead you through this adventure. To show you that smokiness can be a balanced attribute that, when done right, can provide unique character and complexity.
And so we introduce to you, our Flynn on Fire Smoked Beer Initiative. Named to pay homage to the many historical fires that have plagued our little South End neighborhood in Burlington, VT throughout time.
Smoked beers are some of the oldest in the world, and what you’ll learn quickly is that they command respect. It takes great skill to create one that is balanced enough to invite you back for another sip let alone another glass. Typically smoked beers are overdone, and while smokiness is a great contribution to beer, we believe it shouldn’t be the definition of the flavor. Here at Switchback we’ve always been about balance, and our Flynn on Fire Series is no exception.
So where did this all come from? It all started when our Plant Engineer, Gretchen, visited Bamberg, Germany. The mecca of smoked beers and one of the last remaining place on earth where they truly experiment with this. It was here that she had an epiphany. When she left Bamberg, she couldn’t shake the feeling that the other beers she tried just seemed lacking in comparison. That the current American craft beer scene was missing out on something major. Thus our Flynn on Fire Smoked Beer Initiative was born.
At first we experimented with traditional German styles creating our Smoked Märzen and a smoked lager, our Gates of Helles. To our surprise, there was a very positive response from our Tap Room customers who, for the most part, were completely unfamiliar with smoked beers. But because we are an American craft beer brewery, our urge to experiment kept us branching out even further. We combined our skills and knowledge of full bodied, balanced ales with the subtle nuances of what we believe a smoked beer should be. The result is our Blackstrap Ale, a hugely complex beer utilizing beechwood smoked malt, brown sugar along with caramelized malts to create a truly unique experience. And the creativity doesn't stop there. The future of our Flynn on Fire Smoked Beer Series is bright as we explore barrel aging, innovative beer styles and more.
We believe that it’s now our duty to spread this realization with the rest of the world. We’ve set our pallets ablaze and there’s no turning back. Join us in this new craft beer initiative: The Flynn on Fire Smoked Beer Initiative.
Current Beers in the Series:
Smoked Märzen: 5.4% ABV | 38 IBU
A strong dose of old world smokiness adds a whole new dimension to the Märzen experience. Our Smoked Märzen carries an intense smoke flavor that elevates this style to new heights of complexity and satisfaction. Take a few sips and be transported to the cobblestone streets and biergartens of Bamberg, Germany where Rauchbiers are a way of life.
Gates of Helles: 5.1% ABV | 27 IBU
The perfect way to enter the realm of smoked beers is through the Gates of Helles. A soft touch on the smoke superbly complements this helles-style lager. The result is an amazingly satisfying and refreshing golden lager whereby the smoke brings complexity and depth to the world’s most popular style of beer. Crack open the Gates of Helles and abandon all hope of returning to conventional flavors.
Blackstrap Ale: 5.9% ABV | 30 IBU
This smoky dark ale is inspired by Switchback Founder Bill Cherry’s time in Kansas City. Blackstrap Ale harkens to KC’s iconic BBQ tradition with its combination of sweet and smoke, derived from an outrageous use of smoked, roasted, and caramelized malts with a hint of dark brown sugar. Drink up and dream of burnt ends with this explosion of bold and smoky flavors.
Barrel-Aged Blackstrap Ale: 8.3% ABV
At 8.3% ABV, this is a whiskey drinker’s beer as its delicate notes rise and fall with each sip. The big smoked malt backbone allows for caramel and fig nuances to blend with the oak and vanilla character imparted by four months aging in Stonecutter Spirits heritage cask whiskey barrels.
S.O.S (Smoked Oyster Stout): 5.1% ABV | 28 IBU
Driftwood bonfires on the beach and fresh seafood only need friends and beer to make the perfect party. New England oysters delivered fresh from the boat by Wood Mountain Fish turn this Irish-style stout into a celebration of smoke on the sea. Our Smoked Oyster Stout weighs in at a whopping 76% on the Smoke-Ometer ™, but the oysters and roasted barley tame the intensity turning this beer into a refreshing dry stout.
Smoke 40 IPA: 5.9% ABV | 72 IBU
Smoke 40 accomplishes the impossible by marrying smoke with an IPA. Using a 40% smoked malt base, we complement the malt character with an over-sized dose of Mosaic hops to bring tropical fruit into the mix. Think charcoal grilled pineapple slices as you drink this amazingly complex beer.
Bisou (Smoked Saison): 7.8% ABV | 60 IBU
Transport yourself to the French countryside with our Smoked Saison. We use oak smoked wheat malt as well as beechwood smoked barley malt to add a complex smokiness that is complemented by cracked pink peppercorns and orange zest in this loving nod to the traditional French Saison.