Iowans consider Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. one of their crown jewels, and for good reason. The world-renowned brewery has a list of awards and accolades seemingly as long as the Mississippi River that borders their Northeast corner of the state.
Time after time, Toppling Goliath has pumped out award-winning IPAs (Pseudo Sue, King Sue, Pompeii). However, even with all their success and clear mastery of the style, they have also proven they're willing to collaborate. That's exactly what they did here.
Ferrari Backpack is a collaboration between Decorah-based Toppling Goliath and Des Moines-based Lua Brewing (Slimothy James, Remember). The 7.8% Double IPA is a hop cocktail that uses a number of variants, including Riwaka, Strata, Citra, Sabro, and Amarillo hops.
Appearance and Aroma
Ferrari Backpack pours with a dark, matte golden color. It looks dense and hazy in the glass and has a pretty sizable head that sticks around for a while.
I loved the aroma of this beer and it is very clear Toppling Goliath and Lua put a lot of focus on the nose. Riwaka and Sabro hops (both used primarily for aroma) are front and center.
For those not familiar, Riwaka hops are aromatic hops that hail from New Zealand, and these breweries used them to their full potential here.
A deep inhale of this beer gives your nose a blast of grapefruit. There are some general citrus and tropical notes as well, but everything takes a back seat to the grapefruit.
Flavor and Mouthfeel
On the pallet, Ferrari Backpack is all citrus. Although not as powerful as in the aroma, grapefruit is very much present in the taste. However, there are various citrus and floral notes that all kind of blend together. Ferrari Backpack is citrusy, but not at all juicy. On the contrary, it's actually quite dry on the pallet.
It's also not an overpowering taste, but subtle, smooth, and almost muted. It was actually quite nice to have all that flavor but still know I was drinking a beer and not a citrus juice-pouch.
In the mouth, this beer is refreshingly crisp and spicy, even leaving a pleasant tingle behind for a few seconds. On the finish, I got the slightest hint of cannabis which is probably the result of the Strata hops.
I was left with a dry and bitter aftertaste that reminded me a bit of orange and grapefruit zest.
Ferrari Backpack is simply another slam-dunk from one of the country's best breweries. This Double IPA is a beautifully aromatic, citrusy blast that found the right balance between flavor and feel by using a medley of hops.
We know Toppling Goliath and Lua Brewing can each stand on their own and deliver world-class brews. However, as a team, they might just be unstoppable.
Go ahead and add Ferrari Backpack to the long list of beers that are putting Iowa on the map when it comes to the ever-crowded craft beer scene.