Dogfish Head “Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew”
In honor of the 40th anniversary of the original release of Bitches Brew, this limited double stout was brewed to commemorate the album as part of Dogfish Head’s so-called Legacy series. An addition of honey and an Ethiopian root called gesho are added, which are both traditionally used in brewing African honey wine (mead). It features a defined, somewhat unusual aroma of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, raw coffee bean, roasted barley grain that comes off sort of like coffee, a hint of alcohol, leather, and a fruity grape juice accent. The whole package is delivered rather quickly, meaning there is a sudden rise and fall in both flavor and feel. She begins with a medium bodied chocolate base, layering on cocoa as a sudden onset of pine flavored hops lift up the palate. Next up, sweet honey rounds things out nicely and works to offset the moderate hop bitterness for near perfect balance while adding a pleasant honey flavor. A light dash of solvent alcohol then makes its appearance with a semi-spicy, chalky, slight aspirin twang which isn’t too pronounced or distracting, but is worth noting because of its unusual additions to flavor. In closing, it finishes with a pronounced licorice flavor, woody gesho, herb-spiced hops, and dry roasted coffee to close out. The body runs medium-high with soft carbonation for a smooth and milky feel, then hops spike for a rough edged transition. A beer such as this carries with it high expectations, and while it is obviously well crafted I’m still left just a little bit underwhelmed in the mouth feel. It’s probably best enjoyed while actually listening to the Bitches Brew album, and seems to mirror the sound with its bold but smooth flavor. I recommend this one for its great uniqueness, solid balance, and a deep, distinctive range of flavor.