Posts in Year Round
WHAT MAKES OUR CANNING LINE SO SPECIAL?

It seems like just yesterday you could only find our beer on draught. For those who don’t know, we waited 10 years to start bottling and 15 years to start canning all thanks to our Brewery Founder, Bill Cherry’s borderline obsession with quality and consistency. He refused to jump into that world until there was production equipment available that could stand up to our exacting standards. Cut to 2018 where we finally installed our newest pride and joy, a canning line from our friends at KHS.

It’s been a year since we added cans to the Switchback family and, truthfully, we’ve never looked back. Switchback Ale tastes just as great in cans as it does in bottles or on draught – its original form, thanks to our canning line. So what makes our line so special? There are many features of our line that contribute to low oxygen levels in the cans, which in turn, preserves the quality of our beer. First, each can is conveyed into the filler and sealed to one of twenty-one fill heads where it goes through a multi-step carbon dioxide (CO2) flushing process to purge it of oxygen (beer’s worst enemy). Then it’s pressurized with CO2 and filled with beer. An electromagnetic inductive flow meter ensures that exactly 16 oz. of ice cold, tasty beer makes it into each can. Next the can is released from its filling head and sent down the line where a “bubble breaker” shoots more CO2 over the beer to prevent oxygen ingress. Lastly, the can enters the seamer where the tops (or ends in industry lingo) are sealed to the cans. And just to make sure we keep all of those pesky oxygen molecules out, we do one more burst of CO2 under the end right before it is placed on the can.

We’re so excited that cans have become a staple in the Switchback lineup. We hope you’ve been enjoying both their quality and versatility as much as we’ve been this summer! Be sure to tag your social media photos of our Switchback cans using hashtag, #switchbackbeer, and who knows, we may just re-post it!

FLYNN ON FIRE MEETS ITS (FOOD) MATCH
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In 2017, we launched our Flynn on Fire Smoked Beer Initiative and ever since, we’ve been working hard to bring smoked beers to the forefront of American craft beer culture. So how does a small brewery in Vermont even begin to accomplish this daunting task? One way is to help craft drinkers think about beer from a different angle and to open their minds to the possibilities of how beer can and should be experienced, particularly when it comes to pairing it with food.

On May 17th, we’ll be bringing our Flynn on Fire series to Savor, a craft beer and food experience in Washington, D.C. At this unique event, The Brewers Association Executive Chef, Adam Dulye, blows guests away with his thoughtfully orchestrated craft beer and small-plate pairings. Each pairing is an experience built to illustrate just how well the two can complement each other.

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Chef Adam will be pairing our Smoke 40 IPA (smoked IPA) with a plate containing dry-aged rib eye, mushroom crust and shallots. We asked Adam a few questions to learn more about his thought process when building food & beer pairings and why he felt this was the best pairing for our beer.

CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT WHY OUR SMOKE 40 IPA PLAYS SO WELL WITH THE DRY-AGED RIB EYE, MUSHROOM CRUST AND SHALLOT?

One of the core concepts behind the Savor menu is highlighting flavors between beer and food. What can a beer do to a dish so familiar to many? How can food change your perceptions of how a beer tastes? With your Smoke 40 IPA, we took the tasting notes from the crowd sourced tasting and decided to highlight what the richness of umami found in mushrooms can do for smoke and hops. In taking that a step further, a seared rib eye seemed a great way to play off the caramelization found in both a seared steak and malt. In the end the palate should be deciding if the smoke notes came from the beer or the food.

WHAT DO YOU WANT GUESTS TO EXPERIENCE WHEN THEY HAVE ENJOY A FOOD & DRINK PAIRING?

Everything! Seems the easiest answer, right? But very seriously, everything. Through food, many will try beers they may not otherwise try and the same for new foods with a beer they know well. The key here is to have some level of comfort, whether the food creates memories, or the beer is well known to the guest. The exploration of new pairings works best when there is something familiar to anchor the palate.

WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE BE THINKING ABOUT WHEN THEY ARE ATTEMPTING TO BUILD THEIR OWN FOOD & BEER PAIRINGS?

Tough question. I think the best advice here is to not overthink it. Always start with something you like or something you want to try that’s new. Keep that a constant until you find what you like it with. The other one...pairing is uniquely personal. Don’t spend time trying to make something work you don’t like or trying to find what someone else says is there. Pay attention to your tastes, that’s how the next great beer is found, and the next great recipe written.

We’re looking forward to experiencing our Flynn on Fire Smoked Beer Series in new ways at Savor! Keep your eyes peeled on our social media where we’ll be showing our favorite highlights of the event.  

Introducing Switchback IPA
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Vermont’s favorite brewery wasn’t built overnight. Neither was our IPA.

We know what you're thinking, and no, this isn't another New England style juice bomb. Switchback IPA is all about pushing the boundaries of IPA flavor and freshness. Sliding in at 5.9% ABV and 74 IBU, our IPA is formulated specifically to maximize a fresh-hop character and flavor that lasts throughout its shelf life. Utilizing a generous blend of Centennial, Amarillo, Cascade, Chinook and Simcoe this brew is bursting with citrus and floral hop character and a light malt touch. 

We’re excited to welcome Switchback IPA alongside Switchback Ale as our only two beers available in cans. It’s also our second ever IPA, next to Connector.

“Switchback IPA and Connector are two different takes on IPA flavor,” says our Brewery Founder and Brewmaster, Bill Cherry. “Connector was not developed to deliver its popular flavor profile of citrus, tropical fruit and pine characteristics in a can. To can it now would irrevocably change the flavor fans have come to love. Switchback IPA gives IPA lovers and those new to IPAs a deliciously fresh, premium beer that travels anywhere.”

Look for Switchback IPA cans in all your favorite stores, bars and restaurants throughout Vermont. The rest of New England and New York will be seeing them come January 2019. Enjoy!

What is a Keller Bier?

We are proud to announce that in 2017, Citra-Pils Keller Bier and Switchback Ale will stand side by side as the brewery’s only full-time offerings. Born as a classic pilsner lager, we brew Citra-Pils Keller Bier in the most traditional way, using only Light Pils malt and Saaz hops in the boil. We then dry hop with more Saaz and also Citra hops to create a special “twist” on the classic pilsner style, giving it its bright lemony citrus notes.

But what is a Keller Bier exactly? Keller Biers, typically lagers, are always unfiltered and unpasteurized. In its most literal sense, Keller Bier translates to ‘Cellar Beer,’ a reference to drinking the beer straight from the brewery’s lagering tank. But in a beer world where filtered and force carbonated brews reign supreme, ‘Keller Bier’ stands for so much more. A Keller Bier is truly a Brewmaster’s beer. Fresh from the aging tank. Straight from the fermenter to the glass. Many of you may know that all of our beers, including Citra-Pils, are left unfiltered and are 100% naturally carbonated by the yeast itself, requiring absolutely no force carbonation. We simply move the finished beer from the fermenter to the bright beer tank before packaging, making Switchback Citra-Pils an authentic (or, as our German friends would say, “authentisch”) Keller Bier.

So why should I care? In today’s beer culture, IPA’s and self-proclaimed ‘hop bombs’ are a hot topic and options are plentiful.  Classically brewed lagers on the other hand, not so much, and there is good reason for this. Making a great lager is extremely difficult and demands all the skills of an experienced Brewmaster. It is an unforgiving style in which each and every defect and off-flavor has a crisp and clean stage to present itself. The advantage we have here at our brewery, is the experience, skill and equipment to do this highly respected style justice.

We hope you appreciate our dedication to providing you the most authentic and innovative taste experience possible with each glass of Switchback beer. Our first and last thought with every brew is the quality of the product going to our customers.

Look for Citra-Pils Keller Bier on draught, in 22oz and 12oz stubbies come January at all your favorite bars and restaurants.