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Beers Inspired by Legend — Tasting at Inari Wines

November 21, 2011

Friday 4:00pm until 6:45 pm (or until it's gone) — $5 per person — (276) 821-WINE (9463)
39 Piedmont Avenue • Bristol, Virginia. Read below for information!


Dogfish Head "Midas Touch'
THE STORY: Midas’ story is truly a bizarre one. It begins with a drunken Satyr who becomes confused and wanders away from home. He is found by some of Midas’ peasant subjects, who bring the Satyr to their king. Midas, recognizing him as the tutor of Dionysus, receives him hospitably and entertains him for ten days. On the eleventh day, the Satyr returns home, grateful for his friendly treatment. He grants Midas a wish, which became perhaps the worst wish in history – to turn anything into gold at a touch. This delights Midas at first. But several hours pass, and Midas, realizing he cannot live without ordinary touch, begs Dionysus to release him from his condition. Dionysus hears his prayers and takes away his touch. Although the ending of the story is disappointing, and Midas appears to have learned his lesson, the story’s persistence in western storytelling suggests that men are still captivated by the thought of turning that which is not gold into gold.
THE BEER: Midas Touch was the first beer in Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ales collection. It is made with ingredients that are claimed to have been found in Midas’ tomb. It is brewed from barley, with honey, white Muscat grapes, and saffron. Dogfish Head describes it as an intersection of beer and mead, comparing it to Sauternes, an aromatic dessert wine from Bordeaux. The flavor profile includes honey, saffron, papaya, melon, and rich biscuity notes.

Unibroue "Maudite'
THE STORY: La Chasse-galerie (“The wild ride”) is a French-Canadian tale of several drink-sodden loggers who make a pact with the devil to transport them by flying canoe several hundred miles away to their homes in Montreal, where their families are celebrating New Year’s Eve. The conditions of the pact are that the canoe cannot touch a church steeple during the flight, and the loggers cannot say the name of God, or else they forfeit their souls. They arrive in time for the festivities, which include dancing and drinking. On the return flight, the canoe grazes a church steeple on the way out of Montreal. The navigator, who has drunk more freely than his companions, becomes disoriented and begins cursing, using God’s name in vain. The others, terrified that they will lose their souls, bind and gag the navigator. In spite of their ineptitude, the loggers make it back to their workplace safely, without forfeiting their souls to the devil.
THE BEER: Maudite (“Damned”) is “a powerful premium ale… [with a] warm mellowing effect.” The style is Belgian Strong Dark Ale, and this one is brewed with unspecified spices to impart plum, raisin, and black pepper notes. Like most of Unibroue’s products, this beer is bottle conditioned, or bottled with added yeast for preservation. Like Champagne, the beer undergoes secondary fermentation in its own bottle. This creates a very delicate effervescence and gives the beer unique aromatic qualities.

The St. George Brewing Company "Winter Scotch Ale'
THE STORY: Saint George, believed to be a Roman soldier from Syria, is most famous for the story of his battle with a dragon. According to tradition, the plague-bearing dragon had taken up residence in a pond in the middle of the town of Silene. In order to appease his wrath, the villagers were required to bring him two sheep a day. When they ran out of sheep, the villagers had to bring some of their children, chosen by lottery. St. George challenged the dragon, impaled him with his lance, and subdued him by pulling the garter of the village princess over the dragon’s neck. For his courage, St. George was made a saint in the Roman and Orthodox Churches.
THE BEER: Scotch ales are strong ales that are brewed for a long time to caramelize the malt. This results in a malty, sweet, rich ale that is typically fairly high in alcohol content. Many Scotch ales show a low-key bitterness reminiscent of black tea. Traditionally, Scotch ales are consumed in winter. The St. George Brewing Company is located in Hampton, Virginia.

Laughing Dog "Dogfather' Imperial Stout
THE STORY: Murder and money. That pretty much summarizes the existence of Don Vito Corleone, the head of “the family” in Michael Puzo’s The Godfather. Based on the real-life Pope Alexander VI, the worst of the notoriously corrupt Renaissance Popes, Vito is a man who is used to getting what he wants, whether by bribery or bullets. Although Vito is essentially a man of crime, his loyalty to the family is absolute, and he abides by a peculiar code of honor. The Corleone family appears to grow weak throughout the story, but it is revealed after Vito’s death that he and his youngest son Michael had allowed rival Dons to chip away at their interests in order to lull them to inaction… at which point Michael has them all slaughtered.
THE BEER: The Dogfather is an Imperial Stout. In beer terms, “imperial” indicates an amplified version of whatever style is being described. So, an Imperial Stout is basically a super-Stout, loaded with malty bitterness. The Imperial Stout style came about in the 19th century when British brewers were commissioned to supply the court of Catherine the Great with beer to tame the bitter Russian winter. Typical aromas and flavors include dark chocolate, espresso, smoke, and dried fruits such as dates and figs. This is a massive beer, and black as Don Vito’s soul.

Dogfish Head "Robert Johnson's Hellhound'
THE STORY: A crossroads in the Mississippi delta at midnight. Admittedly, it is not the most glamorous setting for a story involving the devil, a guitar, and an exchange of souls. Robert Johnson was a real-life blues musician from Hazlehurst, Mississippi, and his skills on the guitar were rumored to have been obtained supernaturally. As the story goes, Johnson was ‘instructed’ to take his guitar to a crossroads near Dockery Plantation and wait until midnight. There, he was met by a large black man who tuned his guitar, played a few tunes, and handed it over to Johnson, who found himself suddenly able to create dazzling blues melodies. Precisely who this man was, and what was required in exchange for the skills, remains unknown, but some folk speculate that the devil earned himself a new soul that night.
THE BEER: The Hellhound is described as “ale brewed with lemons,” a rather innocent description for 100 IBU’s at 10% ABV. Hellhound is hopped with centennial hops to absurd levels of citrusy hop bitterness. If that wasn’t enough, the ale is brewed with actual citrus fruit to amplify the bright citrusy qualities of the hops (also, this pays tribute to Johnson’s mentor Blind Lemon Jefferson). This American Imperial IPA is not for the faint of heart. It is designed to push the boundaries of the style. Nevertheless, it has received positive reviews, and it remains in high demand. It was brewed only once, to commemorate the 100th birthday of Robert Johnson in 2011.