Episode 10:

How King Midas Lost His Dinner

Situla   found at the Gordion tomb, circa 700 BCE.   Photo courtesy of Carole Raddato  .

Situla found at the Gordion tomb, circa 700 BCE. Photo courtesy of Carole Raddato.

No fables here! We’re travelling back 2700 years to uncover the case of King Midas’ lost funeral feast. Join us as we explore how an ancient civilization sent people off to the afterlife with a rocking good party. We’ll also learn how modern technology is revealing the diets of ancient civilizations as well as the recipe for the oldest cocktail in the world. Find out how historical tastes are making a comeback with a little help from the craft brewing industry. All this and more on this week’s episode of The Feast. 

Written & Produced by Laura Carlson

Technical Direction by Mike Portt


Rodney Young's Excavation at Gordion

See Rodney Young & his team at work at the Midas Tumulus (Midas' Tomb) during the 1950s. 


The Indiana Jones of Ancient Ale

Patrick McGovern, the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania, pioneered the new analysis of the contents of King Midas' Tomb.

Learn all about his investigations at his website via the University of Pennsylvania

"The Beer Archaeologist" (Smithsonian Magazine)

Reviving Midas' Feast in 2001

In 2001, Patrick McGovern and others at the University of Pennsylvania held a Midas-inspired feast in Philadelphia. The menu was inspired by what was found in the tomb, including some ancient beer and succulent lamb stew.

To find out more about how the museum reinvented these ancient recipes, click here. 


Dogfish Head's Midas Touch Ancient Ale, inspired by Midas' Tomb! 

Dogfish Head's Midas Touch Ancient Ale, inspired by Midas' Tomb! 

You Can Try Midas' Ancient Beer!

Thanks to DogFish Head Brewery & a little help from Patrick McGovern, you can swig ale just like the ancient Phrygians. The recipe for their "Midas Touch" ale was based on what was found in the ancient tomb, a heady combination of beer, wine, and mead. It remains one of the brewery's most popular products & is available all over the US.  

Read more about their Ancient Ale series & find a Midas Touch near you!

Patrick E. McGovern, Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages (2009)