Go for the Gold

updated 06/11/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/11/2001 01:00AM

Sam Calagione is not your litebeer kinda guy. In fact the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery owner's newest tipple could be labeled heavy metal. It's a re-creation of the ale served at the funeral feast of King Midas, who supposedly turned everything he touched into gold. Calagione, 32, got the ingredients from Patrick McGovern, 56, a University of Pennsylvania Museum scientist who found traces of barley, honey and grapes in jugs in the storied king's 2,700-year-old tomb in Turkey. How to prepare the golden grog was up to Calagione. "We're known as the guys that brew with weird stuff—like oregano, raisins and vanilla," he says, "but still make it taste good."

The brewmaster spent three months in his Rehoboth Beach, Del, brewpub mixing ingredients. Initial tastings by his wife and business partner, Mariah, 30, and the regulars at his restaurant got the thumbs-up. But the final say belonged to McGovern, who served the ancient ale at a benefit dinner. "I was surprised at how good it was," he says. "I ended up drinking at least four glasses."

Now Calagione, who lives in Lewes, Del., with Mariah and their son Sammy, 1, hopes to turn the stuff into liquid gold. Midas Touch Golden Elixir just hit stores nationwide. "A whole different group of people is looking at Dogfish Head," says his wife. "They're wondering what we'll come up with next."

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