This past Saturday morning a few friends and myself made the trek from Cedar Rapids up north to the wonderful city of Decorah on a beer pilgrimage. I’ve talked about Toppling Goliath (www.tgbrews.com) many times on this blog with all of it being positive and this weekend they etched themselves into a beer-lovers heart forever. Saturday they released their seasonal Mornin’ Delight and Assassin beers to a lucky number of fans that made the journey to Decorah.
Upon arriving I was relieved that we were there early enough (10:30 for a noon release) that there wasn’t a line of people waiting outside trying to get in. In fact, we were able to go into the tap room, receive our numbers, and then sit down for a couple of glasses of beer. When we entered we were greeted by Clark, the owner of the brewery, who encouraged us to sample some of the beers before actually purchasing them. I’ve had the pleasure of briefly chatting with Clark on a few occasions, and each time he is always friendly and sincere, he is what makes craft beer great. Everyone from TG was exceptionally friendly and open to a fun conversation about beer.
We all went right to the bar and were able to order Mornin’ Delight on tap! A great surprise for all us! I’m going to describe this beer but I don’t think my description will do it justice. You smell maple, coffee, chocolate, and you get all of those in the flavor. The best way to put it is it tastes like a chocolate chip pancake with syrup and a cup of coffee. It is that damn good! and it made the trip to Decorah easily justified. Such a treat to have at 10:30 on a Saturday morning; the perfect breakfast. As we waited for our numbers to be called out we were able to converse with people from surrounding states, as well as watch a group of guys bringing in some hard to find bottles of beer and doing a nice little beer sampling.
We must have been enjoying our beer too much because we missed our numbers being called, but beer people, being as great as they are, let us jump to the front of the line to get our brews. The Mornin’ Delight had a limit of two 12 oz bottles at $10 a piece, only 300 were made, and if you get a chance to try this brew it comes highly recommend it. They were also releasing Assassin. Assassin is their Imperial Stout brewed with coffee in rye whiskey barrels. So, we got our beers, headed back into the taproom to get our growlers filled and a few t-shirts. Unfortunately they didn’t have my size of t-shirt but I was able to get a growler of pseduoSue filled to enjoy at home. The cool thing about waiting for the growler fill was seeing guys from Surly brewing busting their asses helping wash glasses and being very helpful without having to do so.
If anyone is wondering what a blueprint for a successful brewery looks like; get Toppling Goliaths’ blueprint. Make good beer first, be excellent hosts to your customers, and everything else just falls into place.
I really can’t describe how great this experience was and how amazing the staff is at Toppling Goliath. Beyond friendly, so helpful, and how they relate to their customers and how cordial they are make it easy to fall in love with this brewery. My buddy, the Beer Counselor, said it best…”god damn, there’s really nothing left to say.” I’m hoping this is my first of many trips to Decorah, and I’m counting down the days until Mornin’ Delight is released next year! I can see this being as big as some of the major releases around the country, think of it as Dark Lord Day for Iowa. Toppling Goliath is a major player in the craft beer scene! Life is good when you can make a beer haul like that!