Switchback Brewing Company, Burlington Vermont

IMG_0749While visiting our friends, John and Lindsay, we stopped at Switchback Brewing Company, located in Burlington Vermont. IMG_0750 We had a tour, with Dan, one of the Brewers. There are four brewers, and two test brewers. He gave us the safety spiel: “don’t open things- you’ll get blown through cement!” Dan continued with telling us a bit of the history of Switchback Brewing Company. IMG_0752The owner of Switchback learned how to professionally make beer, even has a Masters degree to prove it! Switchback Brewing Company was founded in 2002, by a brewer and an electrical engineer. That summer, they worked out the kinks in their newly purchased setup, and had their first batch of sell-able beer that September. Ake’s Place, in Burlington, was given the honor of pouring Switchback’s first pint on October 22, 2002.

  • the beer is left unfiltered, and is carbonated naturally
  • their business/marketing plan was to introduce draught beer first, so all could be done onsite, by the brewer until sales justified expanding and hiring help
  • They moved from only 15.5 gallon kegs, to 5.2 gallon kegs and in October of 2012, ten years after the first pint was poured, announced they would begin to bottle.
  • They do not want to do growlers or cans, and believe kegs are the the best way to hold the container to a particular amount of oxygen.

At the beginning, the brewer was brewing one day, cleaning the next. Now, they do more than one cycle a day. The tour was very scientific, while still being great for the average beer drinker. You could tell that Dan knows what he is talking about, and enjoys all aspects of it. Switchback has two brewing areas, on for their original Switchback Ale, and the other for their specialty beers. IMG_0773  IMG_0766  IMG_0765  IMG_0764  IMG_0758  IMG_0753The larger one is more automated than the smaller, specialty one.  Their larger automated equipment is a mismatch of 1960’s German equipment mixed with modern equipment. For filtering, they use a machine instead of diatomaceous earth for a more consistent filter. IMG_0769You will never get a beer from Switchback that is more than 2 months old. They bottle only on Wednesdays, so the beer almost runs out at most stores before they receive a new order in.IMG_0770  IMG_0771 IMG_0781The Beer: Switchback Ale: original recipe from 2002. Naturally carbonated, unfiltered. Available year round. 1:1:1 hops:yeast:malt Very balanced, complex, while still being drinkable. We all enjoyed. 5%, 23 IBU Dooley’s Belated Porter:  First created in December of 2009. Drinks lighter than you’d expect. Caramel, chocolate flavor. John isn’t a big fan of porters typically, but actually enjoyed theirs. 5.7%, 43 IBU IMG_0780  IMG_0777

Want to try some for yourself or, better yet- visit? Bottles are available in parts of upstate New York, all of Vermont and New Hampshire. They are looking to expand to Western Massachusetts.

Tours&Tastings: Every Saturday at 1 & 2pm.IMG_0768  IMG_0760

Zero Gravity Craft Brewery at American Flatbread Burlington Hearth, Burlington Vermont

IMG_0799  IMG_0800We visited Zero Gravity Craft Brewery at American Flatbread Burlington Hearth, located in Burlington Vermont before we headed home from our visit to John & Lindsay’s.
American Flatbread is a delicious pizza restaurant, which houses Zero Gravity Brewery.IMG_0808IMG_0806 IMG_0807 menuIMG_0814pizza oven

There was not a sampler tray, so we ordered 10 oz beers. We picked the more interesting sounding, less traditional flavors or styles of beer. The waitress was good and told us the hops from the stout would kill the flavor of the gruit, so we had the gruit first.

IMG_0811Winter Gruit Ale 5.8%

No back end taste, all up front. It was smooth and flavorful with low carbonation, drinkable. Megan is a fan of gruits in general because you get good flavor but not that heavy hop flavor.

 

IMG_0812Bermuda Triangle Sour Stout 5.7%

Sounded like an interesting beer, and it was. It was light and smooth, not too hoppy for a stout. It smelled like a stout and was a dark color like a stout, but fairly smooth. Sour aftertaste. Megan thought it tasted like sour chocolate.

 

Conehead IPA 5.7%

Megan thought it was a typical IPA, she is not really a big fan of IPA’s. Mark liked it, extra hoppy. You definitely get the wheat flavor which gives the IPA a different twist.

 

IMG_0819Medicine Wheel Flatbread that we added pepperoni to. The pizza was really good.

The service was good overall.  Not the experience we usually have eating out in Vermont. The waitress we had was good. They have a lot of wait staff for the amount of tables, although it was not a real big place.

Some history:

American Flatbread Burlington Hearth opened in 2004, and they started brewing their own beer that same year. They built their own dome oven to wood fire the pizza. They started out with a 10 barrel system. Beer and bread making go together, and have, for more than 5000 years. They have an ‘unwavering commitment’ to staying true to the classic styles of a beer, which includes using the best ingredients possible. This doesn’t mean they can’t experiment, though. In 2012 they started selling beer offsite. Now they are looking to build a new brewery offsite to keep up with demand. Want to visit? Open every day 11:30 to close.

 

after we left, we found these fun jellyfish sculptures in the park:IMG_0823  IMG_0825