MIDAS TOUCH was the first of Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ales to be released in 1999 in collaboration with Dr. Patrick McGovern. Inspired by ancient recipes from the world over, this series recreates them for modern consumers using largely traditional ingredients. Nearly 15 years later the series has expanded to include several more recipes, and even a collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute. A quintessentially ‘off-centered’ story from the nation’s least-Reinheitsgebot compliant brewery.
Midas Touch is derived from a 2,700 year-old recipe (extracted from a tomb in modern-day Turkey) that includes honey, grape, and barley. As the three base ingredients for mead, wine, and beer/spirits respectively, Midas Touch is a hybrid homage of sorts to the Western world’s alcohol tradition. All things considered it manages the feat rather well.
Suitable to its name, Midas has a honey gold color and hints of that same molten texture. Its aroma is sweet, slightly sulfidic with a touch of corn, honey, and a little vinous edge from the addition of Muscat grape concentrate. Bitterness is very low (12 IBUs)—hops were millennia away from standardization in brewing—so Midas Touch does lean considerably towards the sweet side despite its lager-like first impression. The body is quite light (FG 1.010) for a beer of 9% ABV, though, and its finish is crisp, snappy, and faintly phenolic (perhaps invoking sauvignon blanc). It’s a refreshing and pleasant experience overall and an attractive candidate for food pairing, suitable for a broad array of lighter dishes from seafood to salads. However, considering that Midas commands a nearly $15-a-fourpack premium it offers only modest value for the flavor and novelty alike.
Served: On tap (Beer Hoptacular, Chicago)