Iowa Eats Destination: Luna Valley Farm; Decorah, IA

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Sitting on a beautiful farmstead somewhere on the outskirts of Decorah, Iowa is one of the best hidden food destinations Iowa has to offer. Luna Valley Farm and their brick oven pizza coupled with the setting that they offer make this an Iowa eats destination for sure.

Most of my blog visitors have more than likely been to Decorah as it has two of Iowa’s most popular breweries in Toppling Goliath and Pulpit Rock. Both places are well worth the drive there as well and I’m also a big fan of Mabe’s pizza…BUT…..if you are there on a Friday night, no dinner plans, get google maps up and get to Luna Valley. Not only can you eat there, drink some great local brews, but you can also go glamping in one of their cabin/tents! Also, they are only open from 4-8 and ONLY on Fridays! Get there early, grab a seat in the barn, and enjoy.

Seeing how many people made it there on this particular Friday night makes me want to rethink calling it a “hidden” food destination. It’s a popular spot, very popular. Once the dough is out, that’s all she wrote. Luckily, we got there in time and got our orders in. The first thing I noticed when ordering was the excellent beer selection! Pulpit Rock, TG, PIVO and a few others on tap. I ordered a Saftig, and that beer and that setting is about as good as it gets!

 

The pizza was wonderful. Chewy crust, fresh toppings, and a great sauce. We went with the Iowaiian – bacon, pineapple, and jalapeno and the margherita and friends got the Pepperoncini pizza. All 3 were fantastic! Even with how busy they were the staff was extremely friendly, helpful and added to what was a memorable evening! Check it out the next time you hit Decorah on Friday night, you won’t be disappointed in this Iowa Eats Destination!

Toppling Goliath Signs with Johnson Brothers

Statewide distribution throughout Iowa will start happening as Toppling Goliath Brewery out of Decorah, IA has signed a distribution deal with Johnson Brothers. Including statewide distro for Iowa TG will begin entering the Minnesota market as well. toppling goliath

Johnson Brothers continues to make a splash by getting TG to sign. They’ve gotten Surly, and Great Divide, and many more beers into the Iowa market with more rumored to be on the way.

So, if you area in Iowa hasn’t been able to get TG, that shouldn’t be a problem any more. King Sue and Naughty 90 up for grabs today, hope you get a chance to land a few bottles!

Toppling Goliath Kentucky Brunch Release Review

tgToppling Goliath is making me want to pack up and move to Decorah, IA! After another great event and fun-filled weekend in Decorah, it’s pretty safe to say that Toppling Goliath (www.tgbrews.com) is becoming a midwest power in craft beer. Along with being able to hit up the brewery a couple of times, my wife and I got to spend an evening in Decorah checking out local businesses and eating some really good food.

We rolled into Decorah around 5 p.m. and I was just itching for a TG brew, so we headed right to the brewery with the intention of only having 1 beer and then grabbing a bite to eat. Well, after a pseudoSue for me and a rover truck for my wife, I went back to the bar and was going to buy some bombers of Sue, when all of a sudden I saw!…… a beautiful tap handle that can make your mouth water and your legs quiver….that’s right, Mornin’ Delight was just getting tapped! Now, the intent was to have one a go, but when you see something this rare and delicious being tapped in front of you, you must stay and enjoy….. so we did. The deliciousness of this beer has not been overstated at all; breakfast in a bottle folks, all the elements.

la ranaWhen we finally left the taproom we checked into our hotel, Hotel Winneshiek. (www.hotelwinn.com) My wife had read something about the best cook in Decorah being at a restaurant called La Rana. We had a really great meal there and they also had Toppling Goliath on tap. Highly recommend checking this place out on your next visit to Decorah as the burger was phenomenal!

In the morning, we had breakfast at T-Bocks which really impressed me because of them using local eggs, cheese, and meat. Really enjoyable breakfast, and we actually went back for lunch. My one complaint, if I have any, is that they don’t make their own ranch dressing, it’s hidden valley, but oh well.

We were also able to check out the co-op downtown which was really impressive! Great food options and also not a bad beer selection either.

Anyway, we got to the brewery for the Kentucky Brunch release at 7:45 and the people! OH THE PEOPLE! I couldn’t believe the amount for an 8:00 a.m opening! It just goes to show when you have a class act for a business the people are going to flock to you. I got sticker #12o something, and was hoping to get a taste of the Kentucky Brunch, but they were calling out by numbers and only got to the 90s before the keg went dry. Damn! Lesson learned though, get their earlier! As we waited we enjoyed some great brews, talked with some great people, and just enjoyed the day. As we got in line to get our beer it was great to see Clark from Toppling Goliath personally greeting everyone as they left. People from St. Louis, Minneapolis, Indiana, etc. had made the trek for this beer and I am very grateful I was able to get my hands on one!

If you are a craft beer lover, you have to take some time this summer and get to Decorah, the craft beer capital of Iowa!

They’re At it Again! Toppling Goliath prepping to bottle Kentucky Brunch!

brunchCraft beer fanatics rejoice as Toppling Goliath brewery out of Decorah, IA is set to start bottling Kentucky Brunch, a stout aged in whiskey barrels with coffee added. TG has been bottling for maybe a month now and the buzz they continue to create with each release has been tremendous. Kentucky Brunch follows Dorothy’s Lager, PseudoSue, Assassin 2013, and Mornin’ Delight releases. Dorothy’s and PseudoSue were released throughout the state and sold out in record time, Assassin and Delight had special releases at the brewery which had a fantastic turnout. If TG is doing a special release along the lines of Mornin’ Delight and Assassin, and you are questioning driving all the way to Decorah for a beer, my advice (I hit up the Delight and Assassin release) is to get there early, have a couple beers, get your bottles, fill a growler, buy a shirt, shoot the shit with fellow beer lovers and have a fantastic time! Don’t hesitate, get in your car and go! Here’s the quick release from the brewery:

Gearing up for another hand bottling!

 

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They're At it Again! Toppling Goliath prepping to bottle Kentucky Brunch!

brunchCraft beer fanatics rejoice as Toppling Goliath brewery out of Decorah, IA is set to start bottling Kentucky Brunch, a stout aged in whiskey barrels with coffee added. TG has been bottling for maybe a month now and the buzz they continue to create with each release has been tremendous. Kentucky Brunch follows Dorothy’s Lager, PseudoSue, Assassin 2013, and Mornin’ Delight releases. Dorothy’s and PseudoSue were released throughout the state and sold out in record time, Assassin and Delight had special releases at the brewery which had a fantastic turnout. If TG is doing a special release along the lines of Mornin’ Delight and Assassin, and you are questioning driving all the way to Decorah for a beer, my advice (I hit up the Delight and Assassin release) is to get there early, have a couple beers, get your bottles, fill a growler, buy a shirt, shoot the shit with fellow beer lovers and have a fantastic time! Don’t hesitate, get in your car and go! Here’s the quick release from the brewery:

Gearing up for another hand bottling!

 

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Talking with Toppling Goliath Brewery; Bottles on the shelves

toppling goliathWe are getting close to the moment when we can head to our beer fridge, open the door, and stare in awe at a bottle of Pseudo Sue or maybe even Golden Nugget from Toppling Goliath. Yes, the bottles are coming! and they should be here soon. Nothing would be better than spending my time watching March Madness and downing a six (or 12) bottles of Pseudo Sue along with some grilled food or pizzas. With their bottling line operational I decided to ask them some questions, and they were polite enough to take the time to respond. Let’s get to know Toppling Goliath!

Hello Toppling Goliath!

1.The most important question: Which beers will be available in bottles and where can we pick them up at?

 – We will start out with pseudoSue and other hop partrol IPA’s and Pale ales.  We will fit Dorothy’s in at some point too.  Normal points such as Hy Vee and Dirty Johns…..Benz in CR.

 2. What is the story/background of Toppling Goliath brewery?

  -Started the brewery after messing around with home brewing and falling in love with the creation process of brewing and the detail required to produce a consistent, high quality ale that is hop forward yet balanced.

 3. Where did the name for the brewery come from?

 -We started a company called Toppling Goliath Inc in 2002 that helped start up businesses get over perceived and real obstacles such as business plans, financing, government regulation, etc.  Unable to achieve our goals with that, we kept the corporation active because we liked the name.  When we decided to start a brewery in 2009, after a 26 year career in the beverage industry, we did a dba because the named just seemed to fit in with our mission that goes against the global consolidation of beer, and focuses on the local dedication to full flavored, explosive beers that are fresher than anything produced for shelf life.  Cutting edge and ever changing, instead of pump the supply chain full, we are not worried about how much beer we ever make.  We are concerned that you find all our beer to be our best effort we can muster!

 4. You have been compared to many of the best breweries in the country and are quite often referred to as the best in the state of Iowa if not the midwest and beyond; what is your recipe for success? Do you try to use other breweries as inspiration?

   -I admire so many breweries, New Glarus is only a couple hours away and they have been pretty inspiring.  And the list of breweries I admire is basically a never ending smile in my history.  Our head brewer Mike Saboe joined me early and although like myself he has a long list of breweries he admires and draws inspiration from, we both really wanted to cut our own path with an extreme edge to existing styles and create styles of our complete own. 

 5. What led to your decision to put in a bottling line?

 -Our fans have requested to drink our beer in their homes.  We have to listen to them because they are, after all, our bosses!  Some day we will can as well.

6. Will seasonal be bottled?

   -Yes.

 7. Q: Would you classify your beers as traditional or more of a unique style?

  -A few of our beers are traditional, but more of them are our new unique style of hop forward, bold pale ales and IPAs unlike many of those similar styles in the world. 

Thanks for your time! 

                -You’re welcome, thanks for your business!

Clark Lewey

TG Chief