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Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Toppling Goliath Brewing CompanyToppling Goliath Brewing Company
BEER AVG
4.26/5
Based on:
42 Beers
15,229 Hads
Place Score: 95
Reviews: 45
Visits: 239
Avg: 4.31
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 | map
www.tgbrews.com

Notes:
Place added by: emerge077 on 07-15-2010

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Reviews: 45 | Visits: 239
Reviews by mdwalsh:
Photo of mdwalsh
4.18/5  rDev -3%
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.

 1,820 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of craigbelly
5/5  rDev +16%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Degeneffe
2.76/5  rDev -36%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 2 | selection: 2

After all the hype my wife decided to surprise me with a weekend away to try some of the best beer in the world. It was about 3 hours from where we live. The brewery is pretty small but has some cool whiskey barrels and decor inside. The service wasnt outstanding. You have to order at the bar and the servers dont seem to care much. I was extremely taken back to find only 7 beers on tap! With all the hype and really high ratings you would think they would have beer to sell for all the people traveling. Turns out they are outsourcing production now to somewhere in Florida. I tried all 7 beers (none of which rank as the world famous) and they were good. Each had a unique flaror and the consistency was creamy. I did enjoy the beer, just dont think it lives up to the ratings. Maybe it used to, but I certainly wouldnt make the drive again.

 858 characters

Photo of Angerhaus
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Photo of Kurmaraja
4/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Selection skews very heavily to the hoppy territory; when I was there they had 6 or so APAs / IPAs / Hoppy Wheat / English IPAs on ... and I think one lager (Dorothy's) and one oatmeal stout (Rover). This is something of a minor quibble since I'll happily drink 4 or 5 pints of Toppling Goliath hops but it does need to be noted that diversity isn't a strong suit.

Service can get overwhelmed due to the small bar and the steady demand for bombers / growler fills.

Ambiance is minimal; no real personality or flair, just your standard small brewery feel. They seem to welcome bottle sharing at a small scale which is nice as a compensation for the relative lack of diversity in the taps.

 691 characters

Photo of Cheesy_McDuck
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Toppling Goliath, what a cool brewery, world class which I don't say lightly. Arable soil, Dan Gable, Toppling Goliath, and a few other things. The service is ok, but not great, but the beer is outstanding. I went canoeing with friends nearby into a river spread be delicious spring water, I wonder how big of a factor the water is in the quality of the beer there.

 368 characters

Photo of medbadger
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I love this beer. I want to make friends with the people that work there so we can play cards on the weekend and drink this beer. My wife and I have date nights and every time I get to pick the place I head down the road to TG brews.

To be honest the place is just alright. Nothing special about it, kinda looks like it is in a old pizza hut building. There is always a few people sitting at the bar having some beer. But what is lacks in sexiness it more than makes up for in quality and service. Great people and great beer, that's what a brewery should be about.

 568 characters

Photo of Devman171
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of kylehay2004
4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Jamison85
5/5  rDev +16%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of nuebs
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Photo of 556brent
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Toppling Goliath made my list of places to go in Decorah IA. So many great beers to choose from.
If you can make it there, enjoy!

130 characters

Photo of Strike00
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Great atmosphere and great beer. Really busy and the tap room was on the smaller side, but the service was still pretty good. Can't wait to get up there again.

 161 characters

Photo of bfrank8
4.51/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

Photo of cbcrunch
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of halo3one
4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Hawkeye44544
4.94/5  rDev +14.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Top notch BA program and hops.

30 characters

Photo of amano_h
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Toppling Goliath is an enigma of its own.

With a name like "Toppling Goliath," you would automatically assume that they are like pubescent young men dressed presumably in pre-1 AD Jewish attire, equipped with a slingshot mighty enough to take down the biggest and the most infamous villains of biblical scale -- yet they are far from what their name wants to suggest. You cannot profess yourself to be a beer geek without having tried PseudoSue, the legendary Citra Pale Ale. You also cannot profess yourself to be a regular on the RateBeer forums without having ISO'd KingSue, PseudoSue's more limited yet superior cousin, or one of their many other outstanding hoppy offerings like Sosus (Mosaic), GoldenNugget (Golden Promise Malt + Nugget Hops), Zeelander (Nelson Sauvin), LightSpeed, so on and so forth. You also absolutely cannot profess yourself to be a regular trader on BeerAdvocate without having once offered almost half your beer stash for a single bottle of Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout, or its non-Barrel Aged cousin, Mornin' Delight.

If the above beer geekery didn't make any sense, just know that Toppling Goliath has put the little drive-by town of Decorah, IA on the map for many many beer enthusiasts -- to the point where there is now inter-state interest on taking vacations to Iowa. Iowa, of all places.

Sorry, didn't mean to go full-on fanboy there, but my point being, that unlike what their name might suggest, TG is a pretty huge deal in the craft beer scene. Unlike their huge deal-ness, however, TG is incredibly humble about their success and it really shows.

Since its opening, Toppling Goliath has situated itself atop the same hill at the edge of College Drive. Other than the fact that they have now moved most of their production to a production brewery somewhere down the road, nothing about the brewery has evidently changed; their interior looks like a converted pizza joint or one of those "we cook everything from burgers to spaghetti stores," and still only sits a limited amount of people despite their huge success. Unlike some of the more high-profile breweries with which TG shares fame, there are no frantic employees scrambling to serve people and get them in and out as soon as possible, but just honest, welcoming, hard-working people, trying to spread the fruit of their labor; one of the employees was striking up a very heated debate about beer with one of the patrons, which ended with the patron exchanging phone numbers with the employee with promises of trading beer in the future.

Anyway the point being, Toppling Goliath COULD be that one brewery/brewpub that has grown too big for its britches and now has fans arguing over whether they're the best thing since sliced bread or whether their quality has fallen off -- but they're not. They COULD be that one brewery/brewpub that has gotten so big that they now own multiple restaurants and sell merchandise all across America -- but they're not. Instead, they're the same brewery that they were from the moment of their conception, churning out bottle after bottle of beer that's "good to the last drop," solely focused on providing nothing but the best they can offer without compromise -- and that's about all the fanboy you're going to get out of me today.

As aforementioned, TG's storefront is very limited between the serving area, the refrigerated storage area (where they sell bottles of their hoppy goodness) and the back area where they still do a portion of their brewing, so there is no kitchen; there is however, a gas station across the street, and a few restaurants that deliver to Toppling Goliath (whose menus are conveniently located by the side entrance)

Like most breweries, TG does have a rotating selection so check their website prior to visiting to steer away from too much disappointment (although I can say with about 99.99% confidence that they will always at least have PseudoSue on TAP) and you can also pick up TG paraphernalia like T-shirts, snifters, stickers, etc at the same place where you pick up your to-go bottles.

Oh and try the samplers. I definitely guarantee that they'll have more beers than you'll like.

 4,162 characters

Photo of Rifugium
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Long drive to get here from pretty much anywhere, but after all these years, I'm pretty much used to that kind of thing. The place is small, well-organized. The bar seats maybe 10 people, with several tables, and an outside area. The service was fine, and the two ladies I saw there seemed to know everything they needed to about the brewery and the beer. There is no food here, but you can ask for menus and order out from local places, one of which is within extremely easy walking distance...they will bring food to you, but it's so close I just put a coaster on my glass and picked it up myself. The crowd was small but diverse, from old people who didn't know what a growler was, to middle-aged ladies on a destination beer trip, to brosephs, and even a brewer from another brewery in MN.

The beer here is all pretty good. Nothing really wowed me. I've had a few like Assassin (and now KBBS and MD) and PseudoSue before, but it was nice to see the latter on tap, along with the likes of Dorothy, Golden Nugget, Morning Latte (a parti-gyled Mornin' Delight), and a few others. Lots of cool merch, and a few bottles for sale too: Dorothy, Rover Truck, Nugget, and something else. Sampler flights for the win!

I'm sure the largest crowds come out when the bottle releases happen, but I suppose making a trip to Decorah is worth it even if there isn't a release. I drove from Minneapolis, so it was about a 2.5 hour trek, and mostly easy-going. While in town, you might as well check out Pulpit Rock Brewing also, which is about a quarter mile down the road, so also easily within walking distance.

 1,601 characters

Photo of eifster82
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Photo of jordanimal
4.44/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of jrod79
4.06/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Photo of BeerCrazyCrow
5/5  rDev +16%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Austin32
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Small but clean hip location with a very nice patio....and the beer needs no mention...superb!

94 characters

Photo of pharmdoc300
4.85/5  rDev +12.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

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Toppling Goliath Brewing Company in Decorah, IA
95 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.