Midas Touch: Love, Love, Love It

I'm taking time out of my busy schedule of not drinking to drink a Midas Touch (part of my food blog gift) and try to describe its greatness. I first heard about this Dogfish Head beer from an article in the Nov. 24, 2008 issue of The New Yorker. In "A Better Brew," Burkhard Bilger describes how Sam Calagione, the Dogfish Head guy, is part of "the rise of extreme beer." He comes up with all kinds of crazy brews and techniques, and one of the results is Midas Touch. It's kind of a creative anachronism beer. Apparently an archaeologist guy that Calagione knows analyzed the residue from a drinking vessel found in a tomb. It was dated 730 B.C. He "pieced together the liquid's main ingredients: honey, barley, and grapes, and a yellow substance that was probably saffron. It was beer, but like none we've ever tasted." (p. 98) This is what inspired Midas Touch. The label says it's a "Handcrafted Ancient Ale with barley, honey, white muscat grapes & saffron."

To me, Midas Touch beer tastes a lot like perfume. I've said that about beer before, but this is the first time I've meant it in a good way. Specifically, it reminds me of Caesar's Woman, the signature scent from Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. I hope that doesn't make it sound tawdry, because I think Caesar's Woman smells like a large wonderful bowl of warm, perfect grapes, sitting in the low sunshine of a Mediterranean evening in an air redolent of spices and strange flowers. It's pretty nice, and a nice taste to find in a beer. I don't really understand how the flavor of grapes gets retained , because usually when something is fermented it loses its original flavor. Hard cider doesn't taste like apple juice. Wine doesn't taste like grape juice. How can this taste so prettily of grapes? Perhaps they're added later in the brewing process and so not completely fermented. Or maybe white muscat grapes are just magical.

Because this is 9% alcohol, I decided to treat it like champagne and pour it into a tall flute. It makes a nice picture, but just put it in a proper pint glass because it is a BEER, not a chi-chi spritzer. It turns my tummy to gold.

Side note: the article mentioned above got me really into all kinds of Dogfish Head brews. Recommended.


lisaiscooking said...

We like tasting and comparing unique beers at home, and this one sounds very interesting. Thanks for the info!

alice said...

i'm sending dan on an after-work errand to see if our local shop has it! thanks for the rec.