Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
Ratings: 105 | Reviews: 24 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mynie:
4.5/5 rDev -1.3%
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.
06-18-2012 18:34:06 | More by mynie
More User Reviews:
3.34/5 rDev -26.8%
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.
08-10-2014 11:04:03 | More by jwjon1
4.97/5 rDev +9%
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.
08-07-2014 19:19:27 | More by jimmygord
Toppling Goliath Brewing Company in Decorah, IA
100 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.