Our Warehouse Manager, Jackson, brought some essential Toppling Goliath ales back with him from Iowa, so we decided to taste them all. Back to back. And let me tell you – Toppling Goliath’s hop game is serious. We were all passing the bottles/cans around to figure out which hops we were tasting with each glass. To make the deal even sweeter, Tim with Customer Service let us taste some of the “That Voodoo That You Do,” he’d been brewing to kick off the tasting. Needless to say – this tasting was awesome.
As is the story with all the greats – Toppling Goliath started with months and months of home brewing experiments in a garage. After Clark and Barb Lewey’s garage was compromised by some serious home brewing, they decided to move their brews to a small nano-brewery in Decorah, Iowa. When brewing 3 times a day on a ½-barrel nano-system for 2 years became too much, they located a 10-barrel system to switch to in order to keep brewery operations moving at a more comfortable pace.
Since way back when in May 2009, Toppling Goliath has grown a whole lot. They now distribute throughout Northeast and Central Iowa, and Southwest Wisconsin. They are best known for their “pleasantly quenching California Common lager, refreshingly clean hop forward ales, bold double IPA’s, barrel and wood aged beers and attention-getting imperial stouts” – we’ll agree there. These ales were deliciously hop forward.
Appearance root beer color, clear, diminishing head
Aroma caramel, biscuit malts; herbal, earthy hops; clean yeast
Flavor sweet biscuit, nutty malt; herbal hops; clean yeast
Mouthfeel medium body, moderate carbonation, long finish
Overall Tasting Notes “Nice caramel notes with a warm finish,” “good beer – a little too malty, needs more hops,” “caramelly, tasty,” “caramel taste, clean and crisp – finishes molasses,” “smooth, malty, good color,” “not as bitter as expected,” “very good balance of sweet and smooth,” “I really liked it,” and “very balanced and mild.”
Appearance pale gold color, clear, diminishing head, fizzy
Aroma biscuit sweet malts; citrus, floral hops; clean yeast;
Flavor sweet, biscuit, grainy malt; citrus, floral, piney, resinous hops; clean yeast
Mouthfeel light body, moderate carbonation, long finish, biting
Overall Tasting Notes “Resinous and citrus – more like an IPA than a pale ale,” “good beer has a much better aroma than taste,” “great citrus flavor,” “citra hops come through strong – clean and bright,”
“taste is better than the aroma,” “too bitter,” “tastes better than it smells,” and “bitter but not overwhelming.”
Appearance Pale gold color, hazy, diminishing fizzy lacing head
Aroma sweet biscuit malts; piney, citrus, leafy, grassy hops; clean yeast
Flavor biscuit, sweet, grainy malt; piney, leafy, citrus, bitter, resinous hops; clean yeast
Mouthfeel long finish; light body; moderate carbonation, biting
Overall Tasting Notes “Very piney and leafy – it’s like drinking a very tasty pine tree,” “good beer!!!!,” “piney, tasty,” “dank! Lasting piney taste,” “bitter, complex,” “great balance,” “lasting flavor makes this a one beer trick – meaning that you typically can only have one of these and move on to the next one,” and “okay as far as IPAs go,”
Appearance gold color; hazy; lasting head
Aroma biscuit, sweet malts; citrus floral hops; clean yeast
Flavor sweet, biscuit, grainy malts; citrus hops; clean yeast
Mouthfeel moderate carbonation, medium body
Overall Tasting Notes “Very fruity like tropical fruits – I really like this one,” “mmmmmm IPA,” “Mosaic hops…yay,” “very good finish, not an overwhelming bite,” “good overall flavor with good head retention and lasting flavor,” and “my favorite of the selections – different hop flavors with each smack of the lips. Very easy drinking.”