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The parts bar for brewing at Switchback Brewing Co.
FAQs
Q: Does the brewery offer tours?

Yes, Switchback offers FREE tours every Saturday at 12:00pm and 2:00pm. The brewery is a manufacturing space and is not safe for visitors at other times. Tours are given by a brewer and last around 30 minutes. Tastings of our current offerings are available at the end of the tour for $1.50 per sample. Tour size is limited to 30 people and reservations are required. Please call the Tap Room to reserve your spot.

Q: When is the Tap Room open?

While tours of the brewery are only available on Saturdays, our Tap Room is open for flights, pints, merchandise sales, and the Vermont Brewery Challenge passport stamps at the following times (http://brewersvt.com/passport) :

Monday:  11:00AM – 8:00PM
Tuesday:  11:00AM – 8:00PM
Wednesday: 11:00AM – 8:00PM
Thursday: 11:00AM – 8:00PM
Friday: 11:00AM – 9:00PM
Saturday: 11:00AM – 9:00PM
Sunday: 11:00AM – 7:00PM

Q: Where is the Tap Room Located?

The Tap Room is located at the brewery at 160 Flynn Avenue in Burlington, Vermont. Pull through the gates, turn left and follow the building to the end. Follow sidewalk around to the front door.

Q: If I can’t visit the retail store can I have merchandise items shipped out to me?

Yes. We do have an E-Store and you should totally check it out! If you are having problems with the E-store, call (802) 864-9075.

Q: In what states can I find Switchback?

Switchback Ale is currently available in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine as well as parts of Upstate New York and Massachusetts. Rotating Specials are available in Vermont, New Hampshire, and parts of upstate New York.  Check out our Beer Finder to find Switchback brews in a bar or store near you.

Q: Do you sell bottles at the brewery?

Totally! We have 22oz and 12oz bottles available for sale in the Tap Room. Switchback Ale is always available while different Rotating Specials and Limited Release offerings come and go.  Check out our What's on Tap section to see what is pouring and what is available in bottles currently!

Q: Do you sell kegs at the brewery?

We do not sell kegs out of the brewery. Kegs can be found by calling your local liquor store. Call ahead for availability.

Q: Does Switchback Ale come in bottles?

Yes! As of October 2012, Switchback became available in 22oz bottles and in November 2015 we released 12oz bottles of our Switchback Ale and Rotating Specials.

Q: When does the bottling line run?

We bottle most Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 8:00 AM to around 3:00 PM.  Production schedules are always changing so if you would like to see the bottling line in action, please call ahead to make sure it is running.

Q: How many different types of beer do you brew?

We are always brewing a few different beers at one time. Switchback Ale is brewed all year long while we have seven rotating specials which are brewed once a year; Slow-Fermented Brown Ale, Dooley’s Belated Porter, Roasted Red Ale, Citra Pils Lager Bier, Extra Pale Ale, Märzen Fest Bier and SwitchBOCK. With the grand opening of our Tap Room in June of 2014, we now have an outlet to showcase our limited releases which are small batch brews typically only available in the Tap Room for a short period of time, (although we have released a few here and there along the way!). There is no set release schedule for these elusive brews so be sure to check our website and social media for updates.

Q: Are the rotating specials bottled?

Yes. Please check our website and social media to see which rotating special is currently being bottled.

Q: Can you ship me bottles?

We cannot ship you any beer out of the brewery. There are strict laws involving the shipping of alcohol within and out of state.

Q: Can I get Switchback in growlers?

No.  Please read the full explanation below from Brewery Owner and Brewmaster Bill Cherry:

“We want to set the record straight on why Switchback does not package beer in growlers. It’s not that we don’t like you, we do. It’s actually the opposite. We want you, our loyal fans and customers, to have the best tasting Switchback possible, every time you drink it.

Switchback is a company that was founded on quality. We have many different checks to ensure the quality of our beer is maintained through each process here at the brewery. If the beer does not pass all of our checks, it doesn’t leave the brewery.

When re-packaging beer from a keg to a growler, we feel that the quality of the beer is jeopardized. In our opinion, there is no good way to fill a growler. Some methods are better than others, but allowing beer to come in contact with oxygen inherently changes what the beer tastes like. We don’t want to put the Switchback name on a growler of beer that might not taste the way we intended it to.

In addition to the quality issues that come with growlers, there are a couple other reasons we have decided to bypass the growler route.

We don’t have enough beer! We have struggled to meet demand for Switchback in kegs since 2005, and are expanding our facility as quickly as possible to increase our brewing capacity. As an independently owned company, we use SBA loans to fund our expansions. While the process takes longer, we are able to maintain local control of our company and our beer.  This allows us to grow in a manner whereby quality remains our primary focus. Thank you all for your support and we hope you can appreciate our goal to bring you the highest quality product every step of the way.”

Q: What size kegs does Switchback come in?

Switchback is available in 15.5 gallon kegs (1/2 barrel) and 5.2 gallon kegs (1/6 barrel). Prices may vary by location.

Q: I had a Switchback that was cloudier than normal. Was there something wrong with my beer?

No! There is nothing wrong with a cloudier than normal Switchback (affectionately called the “Switchback Milkshake”). The small amount of yeast still in the beer will settle to the bottom of the keg over time. If left undisturbed, there will be little change in appearance (perhaps slightly clearer), but if the keg is jostled hard enough some yeast can rouse up and since the end of the tapping spear is at the bottom of the keg the yeast will be drawn up making a cloudier than normal pour. This is just the result of the beer being left in its natural state.

Q: I had a Switchback that looked clearer than it normally does. Was there something wrong with my beer?

No! When the yeast and proteins left in the beer settle to the bottom of the keg, the beer becomes naturally clearer. If the keg is left undisturbed, the beer will pour clearer. If you prefer your Switchback cloudier, we recommend shaking the keg vigorously before tapping. The yeast and protein, which have settled to the bottom of the keg, will be redistributed and the beer will look exactly as it did when packaged at the brewery.

Q: Is any special handling recommended for unfiltered kegs or bottles?

Yes, we recommend that before tapping a keg of Switchback you shake the keg vigorously. The yeast and protein, which have settled to the bottom of the keg, will be redistributed and the beer will look exactly as it did when packaged at the brewery.  To get the same effect on our bottles turn the bottle upside down before opening and give it a swirl. We call this the “Switchback Swirl!”

Q: Do the bottles need to be kept refrigerated?

As a rule, all beer should be stored chilled for best flavor. It slows the staling process, which means the beer will taste fresher longer. This staling process is a slow one fortunately, so there is no problem allowing the bottles to be room temperature. They shouldn’t be left warm for weeks and weeks, though, or you will detect a lack of freshness in the flavor. Flavor is the only thing affected. There is no worry regarding any kind of spoilage.

Q: What does “unfiltered” mean?

In short, it simply means “not filtered”. Beer is naturally full of proteins and some remaining yeast cells that are floating around and make it hazy (cloudy). It is by far most common to filter these particles out of the beer making it sparkle and look lovely and inviting. The process strips these components from the beer resulting in a crisp and clean flavored beer, though less complex. By leaving the beer unfiltered in its natural state, all the complexity of the fermentation and aging remain. A good analogy is the difference between apple cider and apple juice. The cider is left unfiltered and the juice is just filtered cider.

Q: What is naturally carbonated? Are all beers naturally carbonated?

Natural carbonation is a process whereby the yeast itself creates the carbonation in the beer. During beer fermentation, the yeast converts sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2). Most of the carbon dioxide vents out of the fermenter. Switchback has specially designed fermenters that allow for the capture of the last 24 hours of CO2 produced by the yeast.

Beer can also be carbonated artificially by injecting the beer with compressed CO2. This is the most common method of carbonation. There are various ways to naturally carbonate, including bottle conditioning. The Switchback process is unusual because we produce 100% naturally carbonated beer in our fermenters, which can be packaged in either kegs or bottles.

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