Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Beer Review: Dogfish Head's Miles Davis Bitches Brew

Today's review focuses on a beer that holds great memories as well as great flavor. Without focusing too much on my personal experience, I can honestly say that every word contained here is based just as much on the quality of the drink as it is on my personal associations with this beer. It was the first beer I purchased for my partner on the eve of her 21st birthday, and it happened to be one of the finer beers either of us had tried. Every October, we make a point to get at least one bottle so that we can enjoy this well crafted beer and continue our annual tradition.

As for the beer itself, this is one dark, intense experience in which you can really get lost. This beer pours as black and thick as night with a moderately foamy, dark brown head. Initially crafted to honor the 40th anniversary of Miles Davis' landmark album, this beer tastes as bold and exciting as Miles' music must have been back in 1970 when the world wasn't quite as accustomed to such sounds. This beer is three parts imperial stout and one part honey beer with gesho root, and while the initial flavor is purely bitter and dark like the stout would have you believe, there's the subtle sweetness in the aftertaste and a smoothness of drinking that most imperial stouts don't provide. As with many imperial stouts, the aroma and flavor are heavy with cocoa and coffee flavors, but there really is so much more to this beer than that.

I also need to mention the addition of gesho here. I'm not going to lie and pretend I was familiar with it before doing my research for this review, but I'm fascinated with its inclusion in this beer. Gesho is a plant that grows in Ethiopia and is often used similarly to hops, in order to create a mead-like drink brewed with honey. This exotic and bold experiment is a perfect example of Dogfish Head's legendary commitment to providing drinkable and unique beers to the average American drinker. Much like the album Bitches Brew introduced many unsuspecting folks to wilder and more electric sounds than the average jazz album, (myself included), this beer will hopefully introduce dark beer drinkers to sweeter and smoother tastes and will hopefully introduce fans of lighter beers to the vast potential of the stout. This beer will be leaving stores soon, so rush out and grab a bottle or three. It's perfect. It's worth it. And if for some reason you aren't into jazz music or haven't heard the album this beer is named after, give it a chance and you may be surprised. Even this extreme metal geek can't help but spin this album on occasion. Sit back, pour yourself a glass, and get lost in the darkness of this beer and the beauty of this album.

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