There was a time—okay, last year—when some people were proclaiming that Decorah, Iowa’s own Toppling Goliath made the best pale ale in America.
Take a breath and think about that for a moment. Well, how do things stack up now that we are in the twilight months of the Obama presidency and staring being ruled by an orange, short fingered vulgar New Yorker:
Before I get to the beer I want to get a few things out of the way. The beer from Toppling Goliath that you are drinking may or may not come from Decorah, Iowa. If it is a packaged product it is likely that it came from Lakeland, Florida. Why Florida? Toppling Goliath has an agreement in place with BrewHub to brew and package its beer. BrewHub’s business model is built around contract brewing for craft brewers. Does this make a difference? Maybe.
Also, Toppling Goliath has gone through some churn with regard to its employees and beer drinkers in Iowa have been left wondering if the magic has left the building. I will say that there is definitely not the same buzz around the brewery that there was just a few short years ago.
What about the liquid? PsuedoSue is still really good. You get that punch of citrusy hops that lingers in the back of your throat for just the right amount of time. You don’t get assaulted with alcohol and the body of the beer had just enough backbone to stand up to the bitterness. At 50 IBU against 5.8% ABV you are looking at a beer that is very well balanced in terms of the numbers and that shows in the beer’s drinkability.
However, it’s kind of unremarkable in a world filled with so many pale ales. I would argue with the author of the article linked above and say that PseudoSue is not the best pale ale in America. I would argue that it is probably not the best pale ale in Iowa as my money is on Big Grove Brewery’s Arms Race. Heck, it might not even be the best pale ale in Winneshiek County since Pulpit Rock Brewing opened its doors.
That is not to say it is not still a really good beer. Too often we have gotten caught up in this race to make everything about being the best or jumping at the opportunity to drink beers just because they have won medals at the Great American Beer Fest. Instead, we need to step back and appreciate a beer in a vacuum sometimes because a lot of breweries are making a lot of good liquid. More than enough for all of us to have a drink without resorting to drinking a can of Budweiser labeled “America” as if AB InBev had some trademark on essential Americana.
In the past, I had given PseduoSue a rating of four mugs but time has not been too kind to my impression. I am knocking off a mug because something is not the same as it was before. If you get a chance buy a package of cans and enjoy a pint of PseudoSue:
See what others are saying about Toppling Goliath Brewing Company PseudoSue @ Beeradvocate.