Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Toppling Goliath Brewing CompanyToppling Goliath Brewing Company
Based on:
38 Beers
11,895 Ratings
Place Score: 100
Ratings: 197
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 4.54
pDev: n/a
Taps: 8
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar ]

310 College Dr
Decorah, Iowa, 52101-1336
United States
phone: (563) 387-6700

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @tgbrews

Place added by: emerge077 on 07-15-2010

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Ratings: 197 | Reviews: 41
Reviews by mdwalsh:
Photo of mdwalsh
4.18/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Toppling Goliath Brewing Company - 12-17-10

I stopped in here on a personal beer tour on a Thursday just after they opened around noon. I was the only customer in the place, but the staff of five was having their meeting in the same room, so it wasn't awkwardly quiet which was nice. The tap room looks brand spanking new with a nice wooden bar that would seat maybe 12 people, and then chairs around the rest of the room. There are 6 taps (I think) at the bar and another three behind. A chalk board tells what's currently on tap and the prices while a white board just outside of the brewery (more on this in a moment) lists all the beers they make total, which I really liked because it enticed me to check back to see when some of those beers might come on. There is also a cooler with a pretty solid grouping of guest beers, some of which also make an appearance on tap.

Behind the bar and through a door is the kitchen and brewery, though they have recently purchased a new brewery facility off the property where they have a larger brewing system. I believe the plan in to brew mostly at the larger facility and brew some of the specialty/smaller batches at the tap room.

The service was good, even though they were in the middle of the staff meeting I never waited for a beer for too long. The owner was present, so after the meeting I was able to talk to him at length about the beer, their plans to expand distribution in Iowa and Minnesota and plan to bottle their beer. This guy has an aggressive plan to expand.

I ate, but it was just French fries because most of what was on the menu of appetizers was not available, the delivery truck was late. But the bartender didn't charge me full price for the fries at least.

This is definitely a place I plan to go back to and would highly recommend to others.

More User Reviews:
Photo of TGGbeertrader
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I haven't had a beer from Toppling Goliath that I did not like. The tap room and the staff are great !

Photo of Golden303
5/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

World class beer in world class mid west setting. Just wish they had more selection. Any version of Sue will change your life.

Photo of cismay
4.86/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Great beer in an unexpected location!

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.86/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Special events are EPIC!!! Everyday beer selection has really improved in the last few months as well. Most of the standard TG hops beers are on tap most of the time. Bombers usually available for purchase as well.

Photo of ILMbrew
4.78/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

If you find yourself in Iowa this is a must-do, no matter how far. It's situated in a small former pizza joint in the middle of small town Decorah but man is this a hidden gem. 10 beers on tap when we visited; yes pseudo Sue. We did two flights and a couple pints to cover everything and grabbed a few bottles on the way out; yes pseudo sue. It was a Monday afternoon so the place was pretty dead but mean was this some awesome beer. Seriously everything on tap is world class. You can't get the full experience without going. Pseudo Sue is great but so is everything else. You've got to check it out if you're anywhere in range.

Photo of chrisjws
4.53/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Nothing impressive about the location (middle of nowhere), the taproom (dinky as hell) or even the overall appearance of their offerings. Don't go there expecting to get a bunch of the top 250 checked off your list. Most of the ones they have on there are super limited.

With that said, appearances aren't everything. They just about always have Pseudo Sue on tap and it's a winner. It's cloudy as hell and served up in a frosted glass. It doesn't look special until you start drinking.

The beers here are all good. You don't get your name all over the 250 by making a handful of great beers. You get on there a lot by making tons of great beers and a few are good enough to enter into the upper echelon.

This was a long drive and I was skeptical. In the end it was worth it and there's no question. These guys are awesome people. They make amazing beer. Don't judge by appearances because you'll miss out. Hit this place if you can.

Photo of BillRoth
4.4/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in on a Wednesday afternoon on my way to La Crosse. Very nice place. Lots of wood and natural light. Kind of part tasting room and part small bar. Lots of room and places to sit and chill besides sitting at the bar. Some table games and good music piped in. Place was pretty quiet, but still had a number of people and small groups stopping in for a few brews.
As hoped had my first PS on draft, and it was awesome. Had about 6 other TG beers on tap, and 2 guest taps. Todd the manager even pulled out a bomber of Pompeii that a few of us shared. Grabbed a few bottle of PS and Golden Nugget on the way out.
Great little place to stop and as expected the beer was just amazing.

Photo of mothman
4.53/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

I like the brewery. It is pretty chill. Good service. Good beers. They provide free pretzels which in nice. Decent prices all around. I'll be back for more.

Photo of ALC82
4.58/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Awesome place, generous patrons and great people behind the bar

Photo of KillerJigger
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Very small place with even smaller parking lot. The beer is out of this world but I'm wishing they will expand a bit. Bring your own food or order out and have it sent to TG not a problem so that is nice. If they had Assassin, Mornin Delight, and KBBS on tap always it would be near heaven. They do have a Furkin once a month which is an experimental IPA or what have to try. I personaly have had one that was out of this world and one that was OK. Call before you visit because they sell out quite often and its worth buying some to go so make sure they have some to sell. Cheers!

Photo of cbutova
4.38/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Visited during an 8000-mile road trip over the summer. Stopped here after a very long day of driving and camped near the river in Decorah (a great spot!).

Clean and bright taproom with cheap flights and pints of extremely high quality beer. Yea not everything will be a BA Stout or hyped hop bomb but from what I had I found all the styles to be well-brewed and flavorful (Pale Ale, Golden Lager, Irish Red, IPA, Stout) That is by far the most important part. The to go selection was good and it seemed like they did reasonably priced growler fills of most beers. I did not expect even PseudoSue bottles to be in stock so that might have changed my experience.

Small tasting room overall but the quality of the brews makes up for it. When we were there it was not busy at all (maybe 10 other people) but I could see how it could become cramped. If you are in the area (within an hour or two) it is a no-brainer to visit TG if you are a huge beer fan or are into taprooms in general. Do not expect to be leaving with limited releases (although I'm sure people get lucky once in a while).

Photo of cervezango
5/5  rDev +10.1%

my favorite brewery , most consistently complex and Delicious brews.

Photo of DrRei
4/5  rDev -11.9%

The tap room itself is nothing crazy as it's located in middle of no where northern Iowa. The staff were very nice and served with great service.

Photo of nilesschmidt
4.8/5  rDev +5.7%

Great atmosphere and very friendly staff. Not much to say about the beer that hasnt been said; its phenomenal. Just wish they had some harder to get beers occasionally on tap, but then again the size just cant support that type of rush or volume. Hope to return again.

Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Judging on the brewery experience this isn't a perfect score. While their beers are world class the venue is quite small. I heard developments are in the works to address this. Onto the beer, did a sampler as as expected they were excellent, especially the IPAs and the base stout, none of the limited releases where available as expected. Place was congested, as this place struggles to keep up with demand. Perfect beer, less than perfect venue.

Photo of PhishNoC
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Not a huge place. Several people were there enjoying the Iowa game, but we were still able to immediately sit down and have some of their great beer. When the game was over, the place cleared out pretty good. Definitely a staple for the locals in the town. Everyone was nice and the surrounding area was beautiful. The beers were great, samplers available or full pints. Select bottles available to go, growlers as well of course. Nice relaxed place and terrific beer.

Photo of stouts4me
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

If you have been here, then you already know: this place is awesome!! Agreed that the taproom is small,and that sometimes there is a lighter selection of beers, but they are having a tough time cranking these world-class beers out! We have never had a bad time at the taproom, maybe that's because we go with the intent of having a good time with whoever is working, and anyone else we can include in what we bring.

Can't wait 'til they get the releases out at the brewery, camping, beer, it will be great!

Photo of jwjon1
3.34/5  rDev -26.4%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

Disclaimer: came into town the weekend of the Great Taste of the Midwest, so my experience was abnormal. But it was nevertheless my experience.

Flew into Minneapolis on a Saturday and made the three hour jaunt south, super excited to try many of the beers listed on the website as being on tap. It's a beautiful drive down through rolling Midwest country hills and Amish farms. Much of it two lane country roads with very slow drivers.

Planned to hit the brewery to grab a pint and some bottles, check into my hotel, and then walk back to the brewery for the real fun! Didn't really have any expectations of what the brewery/tasting room would be like, but certainly felt confused pulling into the parking lot. Was I at the right place? Looked more like a local Mexican restaurant than a tap room--it was just missing a fake palm tree out front. Walking into the tap room helped ease my confusion a bit--but still felt like I should see a tub of coronas in ice on the bar. They did an okay job with the renno but the soul of the place was still lacking. Underwhelmed, to say the least. But hey, the beer is the star here, right?

At least, I assume the beer is the star. On my one experience, it was not. I excitedly grabbed a seat at the bar and glanced up at the tap list. It's a chalkboard list, and there was a lot of eraser marks on it. 40% of the taps listed on-line were removed--most of them the "fun" taps that you won't see around town. The remaining taps were beers I later found were very common around town. I'll get to that in a bit.

I grabbed a sampler tray (four samples of the six total taps) and asked what bottles were available. None. Bummed on that account as I was hoping the brew shop would keep a regular stock. They do not. After finishing the sampler, made the decision to go to the hotel and forgo returning to the tap house. That in itself sucks: TG was the reason I came to Decorah. If not for a non-cancelable hotel room, I probably would have turned around and drove back. This was my one shot to get down here, and I was underwhelmed--especially as the website tap list set unmanageable expectations.

Fortunately, a number of bars in town carry TG kegs. Ironically, I was able to try a larger variety TG beers on a mini bar/restaurant crawl than I could at the tap room--everything in the tap room was seen about town, plus a couple extras. And, FWIW, the town was quaint and charming in its own right and the locals were quite friendly.

Net, I'd not return based on my experience. It wasn't worth the drive or hotel room. I totally understand wanting to bring great beer to a great beer fest--and would do the same thing myself. But IF I already had a reputation like TG for producing world class beers, I don't think I'd make the trade off of upsetting brewery customers for what is ultimately marketing. I'd only do it if I had enough product to go around. At least, I don't think I would--hard to say not being in TG's shoes!

Last (two) comment: maybe this is normal in the Midwest, but I was surprised to see pints being served at the taproom in chilled glasses. I've not met a fridge yet--even industrial--that doesn't have some type of smell (good, or bad). Why add an uncontrollable aroma component to the beer? And why shakers? There is so much aromatic expression in these beers just waiting to be released with the use of better glassware. Glassware does make a difference. Customers may complain--especially the mug club members (who, save for shot glasses, drink from the least expressive glassware on the planet), but once they are educated, they may never go back.

Photo of jimmygord
4.97/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Amazing. I was lucky enough to have business in the area and worked a stop at TG into the itinerary. Pint of Pseudo Sue to start. Knocked my socks off. Got a flight of four brews, Dorothy, Zeelander, Golden Nugget, and Light Speed. Every one of them was superb. I especially liked the Zeelander and took a growler home with me. If they have bottles for carry out, you can't beat $6/bomber. The best bargain ever. You'd be paying $12 for anything comparable in a larger city. Decorah Iowa is part of the Driftless Region and has amazing state parks, plenty of hotels. Worth a weekend trip for sure.

Photo of jverdo1
4.76/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

Can't really say anything bad about these guys besides the fact that they need to expand the foot-print faster. Always great hosts and the IPAs are second to none - keep up the good work my friends! Just make sure to setup the brewery release for next year...

Photo of Mothergoose03
3.4/5  rDev -25.1%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.5

This was stop #40 for my wife and I on a 21-day pub-crawl from Michigan to N. CA and OR. We stopped in town for an overnight on our trip home specifically to try the beers to see what the hype was all about. This is a small place with an outdoor patio, which is where we decided to sit to drink our beer selections.

There were 12 beers on tap, so we ordered 8 that were divided between two sampler flights. The obvious beer to select was the Pseudo Sue, and we also chose a few others that have received some hype too. While all of the beers were very tasty, none lived up to the hype that caused us to have high expectations. Pseudo Sue had not been listed on the Facebook page as being on tap, so we were happy to see it was available since that one was the prime reason to detour on our trip home to come here. Maybe it was too fresh and should have been held back, but we didn’t feel that it met our expectations. (As an additional note: we had managed to get some Pseudo Sue in bottles in Des Moines in the early stage of our 21-day trip, and after we got home and opened some of that, we enjoyed Sue much more than what we had on tap. So that version of Sue did manage to live up to the hype.)

A few of the beers during our visit were given a C rating in our scoring mechanism, and a few were given a B rating to go along with a few that were in between those scores, but none of the beers was put into an exceptional category. Still, the beers were very tasty and we would make a trip back here if we are ever in the area.

Photo of TboneRN
1/5  rDev -78%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 3

Toppling Goliath is in the small town of Decorrah Iowa... Which is basically Luther College (made famous by a Dave Mathews Concert in the 90's) and thats it. The brewery is small, the atmosphere leaves something to be desired. The bartending is pretty poor to put it nicley...again this is the case of a brewery having great beer but horrible customer service...I would almost call it an awkward brewery to visit...Lets hope for them their beer quality doesnt slip

Photo of kguard
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Visited on a Monday afternoon.
Only people in taproom. Unfortunately, Pseudo Sue was gone and no bottles were available.
But Millennium Falcon was brought over from the brewery while we were there. Phenomenal beer.
Would definitely go again. Parking lot sucks to leave though.
Really close to some of Decorah's best parks.

Photo of arnold931
4/5  rDev -11.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I love their beer. Their tap room is like a Swiss cottage except it's in a small college town in NE Iowa. A nice scenic drive to get to Decorah. A few tee shirts and glassware selections available. They have some beers available that you can't find in bottles.

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Toppling Goliath Brewing Company in Decorah, IA
100 out of 100 based on 197 ratings.