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Dooley’s Belated Porter: The Naming of a Beer

Dooley’s Belated Porter: The Naming of a Beer

It’s no secret that there is a lot of work that goes into naming a beer. Brewers are known to draw on styles, hop varietals, geographic references, and beyond to develop a unique name for their brews. The beer world in 2015 has drawn attention to the hardship of naming brews… but the beer naming world of 2009 was not all that different.

The Quick, 500 Words or Less Summary of Switchback

Founded in 2002, Switchback Brewing has always stayed true to a slow and methodical approach. Instead of sticking to the trends in the market, Bill Cherry, president and brewmaster, developed the recipe for Switchback’s flagship Ale over the course of several years and long before the brewery officially started. Wanting to maximize complexity and flavor, Bill elected to ignore traditional style guidelines and brew based on a flavor concept he wanted to attain. By 2003, Bill was working round the clock to keep up with brewing the flagship Ale and decided it was time to bring on some helping hands.

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Chris Dooley was Switchback’s first employee ever hired, which meant that he had the honor of selecting the next beer style to be made by Switchback. He thought that a Porter would be a great addition to the company, but due to intense demand for Switchback Ale, it took over FIVE years for the motley duo to have a chance to put down the Crystal and Cara malts to pick up a sack of flaked barley.

First, it was the attention to building the brand. Then it was focusing on spreading the word. Once the word was out, it was all hands on deck to produce the Ale. Eventually, Bill and Dooley (very rarely referred to by his first name) were working around the clock on the 15 barrel brewhouse to meet demand of the Ale, and talking through the purchase of a 66 barrel copper brewhouse from Brauerei Schmucker in Beerfelden, Germany which would more than quadruple their brewing abilities per batch. By the time the copper brewhouse installation was finished in 2010, not only had our capacity grown, but so too had the Switchback line up of beers and brewers. With the addition of new (wo)man power, Switchback had reached the point of feeling confident in keeping up with the demand for Switchback Ale while revisiting an idea from an old friend… pilot batches of Switchback’s Porter were under way! While Dooley had been around for the developmental batches, by the time we had perfected the recipe and were ready to widely release our Porter, Dooley had moved on from his position at the brewery.

Wanting to pay homage to Dooley and his brew idea, we decided that the first batch sold in December of 2009 should be called "Dooley’s Belated Porter." Be assured that the term “Belated” does not refer to the demise of Dooley, but rather to the delay of his namesake Porter. Although, our taproom team at the brewery does always get quite a kick out of the long faces and gasped breaths of our beer fans who come in to enjoy a pint of it and ask the infamous question: “Where does the name come from?".

Maegan Gorton, Brewery Outreach at Switchback Brewing
Follow them on Twitter @switchbackbeer

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