Brew Review

Beer Review – Dogfish Head Midas Touch

The other day, G-LO came by for a little beer tasting and I rolled out the Dogfish Head Midas Touch. I had picked up a couple of bottles as part of a mixed six from the craft wall at Victor’s Liquors. We have tried a number of the Dogfish head offerings (60 & 90 Minute IPAs, Bitches Brew, My Antonia, Raison D’Etre, etc.), and some of their collaborations (with Sierra Nevada – Life & Limb at Jose Pistola’s and with Stone and Victory – Saison du BUFF), so we were fairly familiar with their line-up. I was intrigued by the Midas Touch as this was one of the beer meets forensic chemistry
experiments from a unique collaboration between Dogfish Head and molecular archaeologist Dr. Pat McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania.

As a part of the Ancient Ales series, Dr. McGovern has combed the globe, and after analyzing the remnants found in bottles, jars, and vats, has enlisted the aid of the folks at Dogfish Head to replicate, or at least approximate, the compositions that that have been found. To date, Dogfish Head has released the Midas Touch (based on residue found on drinking vessels from the tomb of King Midas),  Chateau Jiahu (based on residue from pottery found in the Neolithic village of Jiahu, China), Theobroma (based on residue found on pottery discovered in Honduras), and Ta Henket (based on ancient ingredients and techniques described in Egyptian hieroglyphics). Each of these beers has a unique list of ingredients and aside from the Midas Touch has seen a limited release.

Annato Pods Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

A while ago, the Wookie had obtained a bottle of the Theobroma. This is a chocolate beer that uses Aztec cocoa powder, honey, and annatto (a derivative of the achiote trees of tropical regions of the Americas, used to produce a yellow to orange food coloring and also as a flavoring that is described as “slightly sweet and peppery” (Thank you Wikipedia!). Suffice it to say that the Booze Dancers were unimpressed with the Aztec ale.

Now on to the Dogfish Head site:

“This recipe is the actual oldest-known fermented beverage in the world! It is an ancient Turkish recipe using the original ingredients from the 2700 year old drinking vessels discovered in the tomb of King Midas. Somewhere between wine & mead; this smooth, sweet, yet dry ale will please the Chardonnay of beer drinker alike.

In the Nathaniel Hawthorne version of the Midas myth, Midas's daughter turns to a statue when he touches her. Illustration by Walter Crane for the 1893 edition. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

I found the Midas Touch to have the following characteristics.

  • Appearance: Golden and a little Cloudy with no foam, no fizz and little lacing.
  • Aroma: Malty and fruity.
  • Taste: Not as sweet as the malty aroma would suggest and a little flat with a slightly sharp finish.
  • ABV: 9%

Neither G- LO nor I were particularly impressed with the end result of Dr. McGovern’s efforts. This was a beer that, while much better than the Theobroma, was only good and not great. Of course with an ABV of 9%, this easy drinking beer would knock you for a loop.

7 replies »

  1. Gonna have to agree with you. The Midas Touch was quite a peculiar beer. It reminded me more of Chardonnay wine than beer. Maybe that was ok in the age of King Midas, but in the modern age, when I want wine, I reach for wine, and when I want beer, I expect beer. A noble experiment nonetheless! You have to admire Dogfish Head’s fearless experimentation.

    Nice review Limpd!


  2. That is a pretty cool sounding experiment by Dogfish Head. I suppose tastes and methods have changed quite a bit since the ancient days. If only we could go back in time and hand them a double IPA.


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