Tasting: November 3, 2014
Style: Imperial IPA
Beer #: 639
What’s interesting about Rico Sauvin from Against the Grain Brewing?
I’m a sucker for a great label and a great name but I know that packaging and marketing can only get you so far. The product matters. In the case of Against the Grain, they are considered an “up and coming” regional brewer and they first grabbed my attention when their Bo & Luke Russian Imperial Stout created some strong demand and high praise in the trade market. Like Boss Hogg, I can’t get my hands on Bo & Luke, so to sample something from this brewery; I have to go with what’s at hand.
Where did I get this bottle of Rico Sauvin?: Bought this bomber-sized bottle a couple of days ago for a whopping $16.99 at a bottle shop in Rockland County, NY.
Vitals: 8.2% ABV, 68 IBU. No bottling or freshness date indicated. But since it just arrived in store – I’ll assume freshness shouldn’t be an issue.
Made with – you guessed it – New Zealand hops called Nelson Sauvin. These hops named for the sauvignon grapes are supposed to impart a similar wine grape, kiwi fruit character.
Availability: seekabrew.com must be lacking an update as Against the Grain beer appears to be only available in six states. Obviously, add New York to the list. Not available in New Jersey as of yet. While the main brewpub is located in Kentucky, Against the Grain has contracted with Pub Dog Brewing in Westminster, Maryland.
Name: Rico Sauvin – A witty name parody combining the slick character of 1990’s rap hit, “Rico Sauve” and the New Zealand hop used to create Rico Sauvin, Nelson Sauvin.
Label: Rico Sauvin’s label is certainly eclectic – or (ahem) “against the grain”. Comic strip characters adorn a number of beer labels by this Kentucky/Maryland brewer and they are the creation of illustrator Robby Davis. Many of Davis’ labels include snakes, people missing skin (exposing bones), pickled noses and humorous tattoos worth reading. I had to laugh at the label note, “He has one goal – to be inside you”. Very well done.
Other Acclaim: The Beer Advocate community gave Rico Sauvin 91 points.
Pours cloudy. Not as sweet or fruity as I’d like. The Nelson Sauvin hops deliver the advertised wine grapes and kiwi fruit flavors. Bitterness is crisp. It’s a nice Double IPA but there’s more bang for the buck elsewhere on shelves. I’ll put Rico Sauvin at 88 points.
For more on Illustrator Robby Davis,
Visit Illustrator Robby Davis’ Facebook page