Make some waves this July 4th
CUTLINE: Head brewer Mike Saboe (l) and manager and assistant brewer Bob Slack of Toppling Goliath in Decorah pose next to the Kentucky Bourbon barrels. The barrels are being used to age some of the microbrewery’s rarer beers and are being housed in Toppling Goliath’s new, larger brewery in Decorah. (Photo by Amber Hovey)
Brunch, Toppling style
By: Amber Hovey
It started out to be a beautiful, sunny day, perfect for Toppling Goliath's release of its newest beer, Kentucky Brunch.
Behind the day's events were owner Clark Lewey, manager and assistant brewer Bob Slack, and head brewer Mike Saboe, the latter two being West Union natives.
By the time Saboe and Slack rolled in at 9 a.m., there were a couple hundred people at the event, said Slack.
People came from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and even California, all for a single bottle of Kentucky Brunch, possibly two, if lucky.
One couple from Des Moines came up to the Decorah microbrewery to purchase their two bottles, which would be consumed in celebration of their wedding day last week.
From 8 a.m until noon, people came, received a sticker with a number, and waited until noon to get their hands on what seemed like precious gold.
At noon, numbers were called and people lined up on the outside patio. Each person paid the $12 a bottle and was handed the beer by Saboe, who relinquished one bottle at a time while thanking everyone. Approximately 300 bottles of KB were sold that Saturday.
For KB to happen, Saboe and Slack made their way to Kentucky, where they purchased Kentucky Bourbon barrels. The beer was then aged in the barrels for 16 months.
However, for the West Union natives, it's not all about drinking beer.
It is definitely a passion kind of thing, said Slack.
There are many long and laborious days, added Saboe.
A brew day for a beer like KB starts at 5 a.m. and ends at 2 a.m., then starts all over again that day, which is why KB is one of Toppling Goliath's rarest beers. It is only made once a year.
One success does not mean the two boys are stopping anytime soon.
You never want to rest on your laurels, said Mike.We throw different things at the wall and see what sticks. We are constantly trying to make differenet beers, just to see what's out there. You never know where inspiration will come from.
We try to make stuff that we want to drink ourselves,added Slack.
For that reason, there are always new beers in the works, but nothing that will be released anytime soon, according Saboe.
There is no end is sight as far as that goes, he said.
The problem right now is keeping up with demand with our core brands, Slack noted.
To help with the beer brewing, TG is putting in a new brewhouse that will be connected to the current one.
Once we get the new brewhouse, we will be able to produce three times more, said Slack.
First, we were just making beer around here that we want to drink, and now we get emails daily asking us to ship our beer, continued Slack.
Whether it is the long hours or the raving beer fanatics or the release of a new beer, for Saboe and Slack beer their passion.
We are just beer geeks hanging out, Slack concluded.