Ever watched Raiders of the Lost Ark and wished that Indiana Jones had been searching for something other than the Holy Grail? You know, like the Holy Grail filled with Beer.

Well worry no more beerologists, as this month's Smithsonian magazine online brings us just such a man: "Dr. Pat,” as he’s known at Dogfish Head, is the world’s foremost expert on ancient fermented beverages, and he cracks long-forgotten recipes with chemistry, scouring ancient kegs and bottles for residue samples to scrutinize in the lab.

Among his notable beerology accomplishments:

  • Identifying the world’s oldest known barley beer (from Iran’s Zagros Mountains, dating to 3400 B.C.)
  • Discovering the oldest grape wine (also from the Zagros, circa 5400 B.C.)
  • Cataloguing the earliest known booze of any kind, a Neolithic grog from China’s Yellow River Valley brewed (9,000 years ago)
  • Inspired Craft beer from Dogfish Head!

That last accomplish is perhaps the most relevant to us beeraphiles- something a little more, er, tasteable. One of his beers is named Midas Touch. And yes it is a beer based on decrepit ingredients recovered from King Midas’ 700 B.C. tomb (and in case you're wondering, it has received more medals than any other Dogfish creation).

“It’s called experimental archaeology,” Dr. Patrick McGovern explains.

To the full article on Dr. Pat's beer adventures, go to

And let us know what you thought of the article in the comments below!

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