OUR BI-WEEKLY BEER COLUMN GIVES YOU A TASTY RECOMMENDATION
Every time I have a Dogfish Head brew, I’m reminded why I should drink more from them.
Their beers are routinely unique and interesting. Despite their adventurous styles, they always seem to produce a good solid beer. I’ve yet to try anything Dogfish Head has brewed that is less than distinct and excellent.
This week, I picked up a bottle of their Midas Touch. Though they brew it year round, I hadn’t sampled it until recently. The bottle promised a “handcrafted ancient ale with barley, honey, white muscat grapes and saffron.” That certainly sounded like an interesting combination to me.
Apparently, these ingredients were found in 2,700-year-old drinking vessels in the tomb of King Midas. A little history with my beer is always a bonus in my book.
The pour was incredibly light. The color was a very clear gold, which I couldn’t help but attribute to King Midas from Greek Mythology with his magical touch. Perhaps that is what they meant when they said it turned everything to gold. The head was decent and rather effervescent, with a steady stream of bubbles constantly rising through the brew.
The beer smelled sweet and malty. The presence of the grapes was incredibly apparent in the smell. The scent reminded me of a malty wine, if such a thing were to exist. Also apparent in the nose was an alcoholic burn. With a 9 percent ABV, this isn’t much of a surprise. Floating amongst all of that was a certain amount of spiciness. I was uncertain what to attribute it to, but it made me quite excited to try it.
The taste was rather complex. It certainly had characteristics of a mead, which must have been from the honey that was fermented in the beer. The white muscat grapes were also apparent, giving the brew some wine-like qualities as well, which were well accentuated by its dryness. There was a good amount of spice that traveled through all of this, which must have been the saffron. Although I would in no way be surprised if other spices were lingering in there, too. All of this gets burnt away in an alcoholic heat that gives way to a gentle sweet malt presence. On some swallows, I could almost swear there was the slightest hint of caramel or vanilla, though on others, I could pick out nothing of the sort. There’s a lot going on, and it’s all balanced rather well.
The brew, in contrast to its light coloration, was slightly thick. It certainly had more heft to it than it appeared to have initially. The body magically translated into a pleasant creaminess. Though the taste lingered after I swallowed, it wasn’t syrupy or cloying at all. There was ample carbonation that really kept the mouth awake and receptive during the whole pint. It gave it a good crisp champagne-like feel with each swallow.
As always with Dogfish Head, I’m a bit blown away by this one. While it might not be my normal preference, this brew is too complex and interesting to write off. Midas Touch is a really fun and interesting example of a quasi-historical style.
They certainly made some gold with this one.