I like when a beer has an interesting story behind it, and this one has one of the best. Back in March of 2000, Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head brewery, was at a special dinner for the now deceased beer writer, Michael Jackson.
Wait one second… let me back up a bit. In 1957, during an archaeological dig in Gordium, Turkey, the tomb of King Midas was discovered. Clay vessels were discovered in the tomb that dated back to the 8th century BC. It would be another 40 years (because many of the artifacts sat in storage for years) before the content of these clay vessels would be studied.
In 1997, a molecular archeologist, Dr. Patrick McGovern took a phone call from a former student. The student informed him that there was a chemical residue on the clay jars in the tomb of Midas. Dr. McGovern quickly did chemical analysis, finding that the vessels from Midas’ tomb were used to house a drink that combined grape wine, barley beer, and honey mead. As he could not determine the spicing agent used in the drink, an assumption was made that saffron was used due to it’s regional availability.
Now, back to the dinner for Michael Jackaon in March of 2000. At the dinner, Dr. McGovern and Calagione met, and discussed recreating the brew. Less than one year later, the new beverage with an old recipe, “Midas Touch” was served at a dinner recreating the funeral feast of King Midas. Thus concluding the very interesting story of this brew. If you’d like to read more in detail, check out the article here, or if you want the long detailed version, read the Smithsonian article here.
Now, on to the beer! This one pours a beautiful translucent golden color, with a finger or slightly less, off white head.
I get biscuit aroma, with a huge muscat grape scent, a hint of saffron, and honey.
The taste is really different, but welcome. I immediately taste the Muscat Grapes and a light taste of honey. The alcohol is very well hidden for a 9%, but as it warms it becomes more harsh. This one definitely falls in the middle of a wine and a beer, characteristics of both, but it’s not quite either.
Mouthfeel is dry and crisp. A honey sweetness really coats the palate, and the light carbonation tingles the tongue.