QTN™: Dogfish Head Midas Touch

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted beer tasting notes; a reflection, I think, on the limited availability of off-the-wall beers in this little corner of the Boston suburbs, if not on my actual consumption. So it’s with pleasure that I renew the series with notes on the Dogfish Head Midas Touch Golden Elixir.

The backstory of this beer is almost reward enough: analyzing the residues found in drinking vessels in a Minoan grave site, archaeologists found they comprised a mix of grape wine, barley beer and honey mead. Dogfish Head took the finding and ran with it, creating a barley-based beer in which the yeast was fed with honey and Muscat grapes, with a little saffron added for color and bitterness. But the taste of the beer is almost as complex as its origin. Starting with a nose a bit like a Duvel (or other golden Belgian ale), the taste is sweet without a hint of the complex esters (banana or bread flavors) normally found in more complex ales. But a second after the first swallow, you get the part that balances the sweetness: the 9% ABV that provides the counterpoint to the up-front sweetness. There is a little bit of dry-cracker taste, as with more expensive wines made with méthode champenoise, providing the other counterpoint to the honey flavor.

This is one sophisticated beer. And as the alcohol content suggests, it should be drunk accordingly: in small quantities, preferably with friends about with whom you can share your reactions.