The Stone Arch brew team pulled together once again to come up with a unique beer to sample and write this fine article. Often we go shopping at a nearby beer store to see what jumps into our cart. Other times we reach into our Tap Room cooler and write about a beer that we proudly offer to our guests. This month we chose the latter method and pulled out Dorothy’s New World Lager from Toppling Goliath located in Decorah, Iowa. This is a relatively new offering for us and we are certainly glad we are able to inventory it.
Right smack dab during another busy day in the brewery, Steve brought to the team a sample of Dorothy in tall, stemmed glassware. It may have not been a good choice considering we were bottling, filtering and brewing beer in our fast-paced brewery. Glass doesn’t pair too well with stainless steel and concrete but it sure worked well for the beer itself. You see, glassware plays a lot into the whole tasting experience and the glass in which you imbibe should not be overlooked. This particular vessel stands tall with a wider bottom portion just above the stem and it narrows as it reaches the top. The shape allows the aromatic features of the beer to “float” above the surface so when it is brought to your mouth, your nose is in the glass as well and can’t help but to be enveloped with the aromas. Feel free to practice this at home.
The appearance was inviting with golden tones of brilliancy and a soft white head that wasn’t exceptionally stable. The foam quickly disappeared, but lacing appeared on the sides of the glass as you drank it. Very enticing appearance from the get-go.
The nose was soft. What is meant by that you ask? Soft malt, soft hops, soft yeast, a gentle scent of lemon and other floral attributes. Grassy and acidic notes popped up with a clean hop note and almost a grassy scent. Overall very clean and just as enticing as the appearance.
Our absolute favorite part of writing this article is compiling the tasting notes from the brew team. The flavors we all pick out are amazingly diverse but as we read through them it all comes full circle as we go back and sample the beer. Yes, we continue to taste the brew during the writing phase too.
Here are some words directly from the tasting notes sheet we issue with the sample;
Brian writes “I did not expect so much malt flavor to shine through. The hops are even tempered all the way through. The finish is my favorite as the hops continue to sing their song”.
Andy notes “Slightly creamy mouthfeel, prickly, malty sweet, with notes of pear and biscuit”.
Steve writes “Crisp and clean from the beginning with a malt and mineral middle”.
Tom adds “Starts with a light but noticeable malt flavor that flows smoothly to a nice medium hop/bitter finish”.
Dorothy’s finish was quite a bit more streamlined. Amazingly clean, crisp, sweet and floral. Other key words that appeared were yeasty, refreshing, gentle and pleasing. All four ingredients are showcased nicely in this beer. The malt is most evident in flavor and aroma. Yeast appears in the aroma and finish. Hops float all the way through and the water is a bit minerally and can be detected in the flavor. The interesting thing to note from Dorothy is that she is only 11 IBU’s (International Bitterness Units).
That is quite low on the overall scale, but well in the perimeters of a California Common which this beer is classified. She weighs in with 5.5% alcohol by volume. Dorothy was named after the founder of Toppling Goliaths’ grandmother and is “Classic beauty” as their website claims. We are willing to back that claim as well!
Let’s move on to Toppling Goliath. Many have not heard of these folks from Decorah, Iowa YET. But soon they will. The fine folks of Toppling Goliath are rapidly growing. From their modest start in 2009, brewing three times a day on their under-sized nano-brewery kicking out 15 gallons per batch to their 10 barrel (310 gallon) system that was relocated from Washington State to their current four vessel, 30 barrel (930 gallon) system with a new state-of-the-art filling line. It won’t be long for Toppling Goliath to appear throughout our great state. Currently they are self-distributed to select locations throughout Iowa, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota and Illinois.
FINAL WORD: A super clean, refreshing brew and well worth the extra effort in finding them. Cheers!