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Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Toppling Goliath Brewing CompanyToppling Goliath Brewing Company
Based on:
42 Beers
13,974 Hads
Place Score: 95
Reviews: 40
Visits: 226
Avg: 4.33
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

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 40 | Visits: 226
Reviews by mynie:
Photo of mynie
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Decorah is weirdly set up. I turned off of 52 into what looked like the beginning of a populated area but 30 seconds after passing some gas stations I was driving through a sea of trees. This part of Iowa bears a superficial resemblance to the Northwest--a resemblance that actual northwesterners would dismiss out of hand, but that the occasional visitor may understand. There's these big hills covered in trees, see, and then beneath those hills there lies pockets of buildings. It's beautiful, makes you feel warmly isolated, apart but secure.

Most of the buildings in town appear to be over 100 years old, but I'll guess that TG's was built sometime in the 60s or 70s, and has probably been a long line of restaurants. It sits atop a small hill, underneath trees and overlooking a street.

The bartender was wonderful and the crowd was affable. Trying to describe why I liked it so much is proving difficult, because the visit just felt so damn personal. The bartender actually seemed to enjoy talking to me. The locals said things I was interested in hearing, and they seemed to appreciate my company. There was absolutely no pretense, no artifice. Just a bunch of people sitting together on a patch of cement beneath a pocket of green, talking and drinking good beer.

The beers were fantastic, probably the best in Iowa. There was no food, nor any fancy-ass decorations or anything like that. Just peace and beer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of cbcrunch
4.33/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of halo3one
4.19/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Hawkeye44544
4.94/5  rDev +14.1%
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 +4.6%
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.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.14/5  rDev -4.4%
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 -2.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Photo of jordanimal
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of jrod79
4.06/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Photo of BeerCrazyCrow
5/5  rDev +15.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Austin32
4.14/5  rDev -4.4%
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!

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Photo of pharmdoc300
4.85/5  rDev +12%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

Photo of Ajlvt
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Photo of BrigsNasty
5/5  rDev +15.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.61/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Josh012012
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of slp3873
4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of mattjcrawford
4.46/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75

Photo of DSWeller
5/5  rDev +15.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Excellent establishment that offers multiple world class beers in a small Iowan town. Staff is always friendly and the beer is even better. This is a must stop for any beer connoisseur that is in the relative area. Only challenging part is getting there in time for any moderate to rare beer release.

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Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

Photo of Kubrickx
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of kingpin1010
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Photo of Sprague67
4.87/5  rDev +12.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Thompsce
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25

Love the cozy tasting room!

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Photo of Benjhilmer
4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

What a strange place this is. I drove right past it on my first approach. It's very unassuming; you'd never know they make some of the world's best beer here. When I arrived, they were showing the Indiana High School Softball Tournament on TV; they don't even televise that in Indiana! Bizarre. I visited later in the day, so not everything was available. Still, I got to enjoy some great beer on tap. Their brews are worth the stop no matter what.

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Toppling Goliath Brewing Company in Decorah, IA
95 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.