It seems like beer is evolving at a breakneck speed. Not that many years ago, there were few choices that were not your standard, run of the mill, mass produced American Lagers or expensive imports. Then several craft brewers hit the shelves of mainstream stores. Suddenly you can go into virtually any wine and beer store and find dozens of styles and labels that might not have been available just a few years ago.
One of my favorite craft brewers is from Delaware. (Yes, you read that correctly). Dog Fish Head Brewery produces outstanding craft ales that are available all over the East Coast and in many other parts of the country. If you happen to find yourself in Rehoboth Beach, DE,Gaithersburg, MD, or Fairfax or Falls Church, VA you can eat in one of their restaurants and sample all kinds of interesting and tasty beers and yummy food.
In addition to their regular lineup and seasonal beers, Dogfish Head also makes several unique “rarities.” These beers are made for special events, as collaborations with other craft breweries, or from ancient recipes discovered by the brewery. One of their latest rarities was made to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Miles’ Davis groundbreaking jazz album Bitches Brew (and was featured on the first episode of Discovery Channels show Brew Masters). Made from a combination of 3/4th imperial stout and 1/4th honey beer (with a little gesho root), Bitches’ Brew is bottled in 750ml champagne style bottles.
For my tasting, I bought a bottle at Magruder’s and placed in the refrigerator overnight. While the brewery recommends not serving it cold, I prefer my beer chilly, so I started by trying it that way. The brewery also recommended it served in a sniffer or wine glass. No sniffer glasses in my house, so wine glass it is!
An almost black color in the glass, it has hints of honey and expected stout aroma on the nose. Unlike some dark beers, this one is not that heavy. Hints of honey come through on initial taste followed by traditional stout flavors of smoked caramel, coffee and spice. As the beer warmed up, the flavors were more prevalent and blended together better.
Overall, this is an enjoyable beer and I learned that if the brew master suggests to not serve it straight out of the refrigerator, don’t! Also, packaging the beer in 750ml champagne style bottles is aesthetically pleasing, but difficult for recapping if you are not going to consume the entire bottle at once. I used a vacuum wine stopper to “recap” the beer, and it was not quite as good 2 nights later. $9.99 retail (Rating ****).