Bitches Brew – The Dog(fish Head) Days of Summer

There are some things that simply transcend a small blog like this.  The subject’s depth and grandeur in our world can not be summed up in the mere 500-600 words that I would write.  Nor would those words do any justice or provide sufficient scope to the subject they intend to convey.

Such is Miles Davis.  To say Miles Davis was a jazz musician would be like saying that Jack McAuliffe was just a brewer.  It so understates what he brought to his craft and the art as a whole, and also his influence in not only the world of jazz, but other genres of music as well.  So instead of writing a few inadequate words, I suggest you  read a synopses of his amazing contributions to music on wikipedia.

That being said, I will take a few paragraphs to talk about Bitches Brew, Davis’ 1970 album that lends it’s name to DFH’s first entry in its musical beer series.  The album marked a continuation of Davis’ experimentation with electric instruments and a more rock influenced style that he had started to experiment with in his previous album, In The Silent Way.

The album (which features such notable musicians as Wayne Shorter, John McLaughlin and Chick Corea) wasn’t a critical success early on mainly because it was such a departure from what was currently going on in the jazz word.  But it later became recognized as a major influence in the jazz-rock genre as well as impacting rock and funk.  Despite the mixed response from critics the album won a Grammy in 1971 for best large jazz ensemble album.  In 2010, DFH release the self-titled beer, Bitches Brew, to honor the 40th anniversary of Davis’ influential album.  Cue up the vinyl, put  your headphones on, and let’s taste.

Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew, $xxx, 750mL Bottle

THEM: DFH describes BB as “a dark beer that’s a fusion of three threads of imperial stout and one thread of honey beer with gesho root.”  And that’s pretty correct.  BB is a blend of two beers.  One is described as a straight forward stout, on which DFH gives no info.  The second is a Tej, which is an African mead that uses gesho (Rhamnus prinioides, or Shiny-leaf Buckthorn) much in the same way that hops are used in traditional beer.  The beer clocks in at a respectable 9%ABV and 38IBUs.

ME: BB pours black with a tan head.  The dark grains immediately jump from the nose with what I’m getting as a touch of licorice.  This is every bit the imperial stout it’s reported to be.  For as heavy as it is, there’s still a surprising amount of caramel coming across in the nose.  I’m diggin’ this daddy-o!  The flavor is an amalgamation, of chocolate, molasses, malt, vanilla, a bit of that licorice, a hint of honey,  and perhaps a touch of cherry.  Man this thing is really packing it in.  It drinks like smooth jazz, mellow, yet flavorful through most of it, clean and not overly bitter on the back end.

There’s plenty here to hide the 9%ABV, so this beer doesn’t come across as boozy, although I think I’m sensing a bit peeking through.  The after taste leaves you with a nice coating around your mouth  with hints of honey and a dash of coffee.    I struggling for more things to say about it, but there really isn’t.  But that’s not a negative, this beer is compact and tight like seasoned jazz musicians.

I wish I was familiar with gesho to know exactly what it was bringing to this jam session.  I’m sure it’s in the mix somewhere, but like a newbe to Jazz music, I’m just not noticing it on my first listen.

Initially I was thinking 6-Pack on this, but I have to admit after drinking it for a while (and as it warms up) I’m going CASE.  This beer is really nice with lots of great flavors and is just balanced beautifully.  It totally reaffirms my belief that whether I like them or not, DFH is really putting a lot of love into their music series beers.

Time for another beer….

bbrew

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Author: Ed (The Dogs of Beer)

Beer Blog focused on Delaware & surrounding area. Drinker of beer. Writer of stuff. Over user of commas. Dangler of prepositions.

6 thoughts on “Bitches Brew – The Dog(fish Head) Days of Summer”

  1. I really love Bitches Brew. I always thought it was a limited edition beer when the album’s anniversary came around a few years back but I guess they’re bringing it back more often now. But anyway, I love this beer and, as always, a great review!

  2. This beer melts my brain every time I see it. It is over of the few non-began bets that I drink (honey is an animal product) but beer its the only place that I will flex on that. This beer is just so good.

    You rated it a CASE, I’d be happy rating it a BREWERY.

    1. LOL I never considered a BREWERY rating, maybe I should rethink my system. Interesting about the honey. I would of though that because it’s an insect product (made by insects doing what insects do) that there might be some leeway with honey, but I guess in the strictest sense there can’t be. Thanks for the comment.

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