Toppling Goliath is a brewery based in Decorah, Iowa, and while the outfit produces plenty of different styles, the focus seems to be heavily in the land of the IPA. That’s fine by me, of course, and today we dig into four beers from the operation, all poured from 16 oz cans.
Toppling Goliath ZeeLander IPA – Made with Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand. Very light in color but rather hazy in the glass, this IPA kicks off with a ton of lemon, grapefruit, and pineapple fruit, then quickly tempers that with a sizable bitterness, which grows increasingly dank and verdant as it develops in the glass. By the finish, the fruitier elements have all but vanished, leaving behind a traditional and somewhat domineering hoppiness on the tongue. 6.3% abv. B- / $16 per 4-pack of 16 oz cans
Toppling Goliath King Sue Double IPA – A whole bunch of Citra hops give this double IPA a brazen citrus quality, touched with pineapple. It’s got ample bitterness but never feels overwhelming or brooding, balancing nicely its two halves and landing right in the middle. The pineapple, with a tinge of lime leaf, endures on the finish… but then the piney hops come roaring back into focus. This beer changes so much it’s awfully hard to pin down — which is what makes it so fun. (Kinda like the imagery on the can.) 7.8% abv. A / $18 per 4-pack of 16 oz cans
Toppling Goliath Pseudo Sue Pale Ale – This is essentially the session version of King Sue, still Citra-focused but a bit less intense throughout. The lower alcohol level is noticeable, and it brings everything down to an even keel, less citrus, less hops, less everything — though the bitterness tends to win out here, giving the finish a slightly dull, forest floor character that lacks the brightness of King Sue — but which ekes out some notes of citrus — lemon over orange — and just a hint of the tropics. It’s fine, but once you’ve gone King, it’s a little tough to go Pseudo. 5.8% abv. B+ / $14 per 4-pack of 16 oz cans
Toppling Goliath Dragon Fandango – The color of Hawaiian Punch, this kettle sour blended with (not brewed with) dragon fruit, mango and passion fruit puree pushes the boundaries of expectations and, frankly, acceptability. It looks like Hawaiian Punch and tastes a lot like it, too, with a POG character that feels like one should be sipping this beer alongside a big Spam masubi. It’s a party in a can, and on a hot day it can be hard to put down, its tart fruitiness giving the finish a massive longevity and a bracing cleanliness. The finish finally sees the malt show up, but this is hardly of any real consequence in a beer that’s all about the juice. It’s deeply intriguing, but I can’t imagine myself ever drinking more than one at a time. 4.2% abv. B / $12 per 4-pack of 16 oz cans