Now look. I love West Coast brewing. Green Flash IPA is my jam, Stone Smoked Porter makes me want to listen to jazz music, and when we got Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale at work, I literally drank it for breakfast. But Sunday, my girlfriend and I made a shopping trip in preparation for a day of football and a little beer sampling. We picked up a bunch of new beers and decided after a few snacks (and suitable palate-cleansing . . . calm down) to try a couple. What we were in for was quite the roller coaster.
Oh but there was more to the day. We soothed our screaming tongues with some honey wheat pretzels, chilled out, swished with some water, and moved to the next beer. The wonderful Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher mentioned this beer: Dogfish Head's Midas Touch. The backstory goes thusly: a bunch of people dig up the tomb of Midas and discover party favors from his funeral. One is a drinking goblet. They do analysis on the residue and discover saffron, honey, and grapes as part of an ancient fermented-drink recipe. To commemorate this, they have a party, commission Dogfish to make the beer for the party, and Sam Calagione whips up a beer with those ingredients in it. Does it taste like what Midas drank? Maybe not. Midas probably had virgins standing in his beer to steal their youth. But is this beer the BOMB? Yes. Yes it is.
One thing I hope to get at with this blog is the memories or feelings beer can bring up. This is a perfect beer for that kind of analysis. The pour is beautiful and it produces a nice head for packing 9% alcohol. The beer is medium golden. It is immediately tasty and warm on the tongue. The mouthfeel is light and reasonably carbonated, yet substantial. If that sounds difficult to comprehend, that's a testament to the complexity and balance of this beer. The grapes and honey are strongly present, but there are tones resembling sherry, melon, and even something in the neighborhood of cotton candy. The color and visuals compliment the sweetness perfectly. To compare it to a white wine is perfectly acceptable. But the main thing we got was memory. This beer took us back to family times. My girlfriend AND her sister both swore it reminded them of their Bubby, and we all agreed that it would be the perfect accompaniment for a Passover dinner. A piece of matzoh with some butter and swiss cheese from my childhood would be a devilishly simple and wonderfully appropriate pairing. I will say I picked up a bit of sharpness and tang, but I am senstive to that and my girlfriend who loves tangy foods didn't get it nearly as much as I did, so factor this into the tasting.
If you are somewhere without Dogfish Head, your life is poorer for it. It is just this kind of beer, simple ingredients taking you to a family dinner, inspiring not only great sensations but plans for future togetherness, that reminds me of everything great to taste in the world.