Coming Full Circle
A Review of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Posted on 8/13/2013 by Chops
                   
Exquisite
Does anyone remember that short lived television show Brew Masters? It aired on the Discovery Channel a few years ago and featured Sam Calagione, President and Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. The concept of the show was simple and engrossing: follow Sam around the world as he develops concept brews for Dogfish Head. The show was prematurely cancelled for undisclosed reasons despite solid ratings, which of course infuriated fans. Anthony Bourdain famously threw his hat into the speculation ring and claimed that it was due to Big Beer threatening to pull advertising dollars from the network. And since Big Beer is very well known for their questionable business practices, I don't think it would surprise anyone if that was indeed the case.

But I digress. The first episode of Brew Masters featured Sam and his merry band of brewers developing what was to become the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew Imperial Stout. Dogfish Head describes this beer as so:

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the original release of Bitches Brew, Miles Davis' 1970 paradigm-shifting landmark fusion breakthrough, we've created our own Bitches Brew - a bold, dark beer that's a fusion of three threads imperial stout and one thread honey beer with gesho root, a gustatory analog to Miles' masterpiece.

Who can resist such a cool concept? I still remember watching the Brew Masters episode and thinking to myself that Sam Calagione had the most awesome job on the planet. Travel around the world, gather inspiration, brew off-centered ales. Dammit, why not me?! To be perfectly honest, Sam's quirky brewing show was a big influence on what would become BrewChief.com. In a sense, Bitches Brew had become a visual representation of my desire to capture beer experiences in words. Yes, it seems we have officially come full circle.

In the glass, Bitches Brew pours stark black and has no edging coloration. It comes with a coppery tan head that is both frothy and fluffy and has really nice retention. On the nose, I was greeted with thick dark chocolate and black coffee roast aromas. Neither were dominant and they balanced out nicely. I also uncovered some faint honey and earthy woody notes, which I can only assume is attributed to the gesho root. You get the impression that this beer is deceptively smooth, not unlike the music of Miles Davis.

That first sip, wow. I have to comment on the mouthfeel first, because that's what held my attention on the first several sips. It's a cool blend of creamy smooth and chalky roast. Neither were dominant and they played very well off of each other. I found it to be disorienting in a way because these are two often polar opposite sensations. Once again, I am forced to draw parallels with Miles Davis. The body is medium-to-heavy with strong presence and a noticeable nip of alcohol burn. Flavor wise, savory dark chocolates and a harsh woody roast reign supreme, almost like an odd blend of strong coffee and baker's chocolate. The honey is more muted on the tongue and appears only as a mild compliment from time to time. The beer finishes somewhat dry and leaves a long lasting bitter roast aftertaste.

Overall, Miles Davis' Bitches Brew Imperial Stout from Dogfish Head is a fantastic brew with bold flavors and rewarding complexity. It effortlessly glides between opposing traits and I can think of no better tribute for the late great musician. Any fan of big bold beers will find Bitches Brew to be a savory treat. This is the kind of beer that you have to buy at least two of. One for the initial wow factor, and the other to save for a special occasion. I bought this particular bottle back when Brew Masters was still on the air. It's a bittersweet beer for a bittersweet memory. Bring back Brew Masters!

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Miles Davis' Bitches Brew by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
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