Scott, the bar manager at Malthouse, dropped some Big News during our shift — something that had been brewing for a while, but which I felt was sufficiently ’embargoed’ that I didn’t mention it directly in the Diary lest I get my act together uncharacteristically quickly and jump the gun by posting it on here. The short version is that, after ten years — an honest-to-goodness decade — he had resigned. He’s off to run the Hop Garden, a new neighbourhood bar opening soon in Mount Victoria, owned by James Henderson of Bar Edward fame. For us, it’s a helluva loss, but their new place is a tremendously exciting prospect, so it’s full of that bittersweet “hate to see you go, but dead keen to see what you do next” vibe.
In the spirit of first things first, though; Big News deserves Big Beer, so I fetched this one out of my personal stash. I’d been looking forward to it for ages, and couldn’t think of a better opportunity or anyone more worthy of sharing it.
This is Dogfish Head in Resurrection Mode, taking a crack at re-creating an old recipe — the oldest known, in fact. The idea was to take the remains of vessels found in the 2,700-year-old tomb of King Midas, run them through all sorts of chemical analyses, and get a reasonable approximation of what the drink they once held was like. So in with the now-standard barley went honey, white muscat grapes, and saffron.
It is suitably wine-ish, and honey-ish, but also still definitely a lovely and peculiar ale. I just loved it, for both its intrinsic and circumstantial properties. I wanted to drink whole pints of it, standing around in the sun somewhere — and still wanted to, even knowing that this is 9% and would swiftly knock me on my arse. It’s light and lush and it feels like what I — a Beer Nerd, after all — wish wine tasted like while at the same time being totally recognisable as ‘just’ a staggeringly interesting golden ale.
Verbatim: Dogfish Head ‘Midas Touch’ 27/12/10 ÷2 with Scotty on the occasion of some Big News. 330ml $? from NWT (in my notes, but the internet died) [actually $10] I like it a lot, that’s the main thing. Beautiful golden peachy colour. Scotty through the saffron would be mostly giving colour, then we (proudly) realised we’re both sufficiently middle-class that we don’t know what it tastes like. The grapes come through a lot, making it very winey, but soft at the finish, not acid / sharp. The flavour makes you expect a whallop finish, but it’s just this lovely gentle wash instead. Wonderfully rides that line of Different Enough But Not Too Different.