Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dogfish Head And The Making Of Ancient Alcohol

Dogfish Head in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is not your ordinary brew pub. Sure, there are big TVs, a sports bar menu, and a large selection of home-grown beers. Dogfish Head is also a place where ancient spirits are resurrected, in a fascinating mash-up of brewing, chemistry, and archaeology.

The process starts when an archaeologist from the University of Pennsylvania, one of the world's foremost experts on ancient fermented beverages, examines ancient drinking and storage artifacts for residue samples. These sample are then analyzed, offering up a glimpse into the ingredient profile of drinks that were consumed thousands of years ago.

There is the recipe known as Midas Touch, which was reconstructed from artifacts found in the tomb of King Midas. This wine-mead concoction, in other words, dates back to 700 B.C.

Even older than that is what Smithsonian has described as a "Neolithic grog." Dating back 9,000 years, this drink, Chateau Jiahu, is world's oldest known alcoholic beverage. Chateau Jiahu hails from China's Yellow River region, and has been described as a "citrusy sauvignon."

Both Midas Touch and Chateau Jiahu were fine by me, with Desi giving the nod to the Chinese brew masters. Regardless, this is a pretty cool project that will catch our attention whenever we find our way down to Rehoboth!

~Steve

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