Round 1, Bout 6 of the bracket sees High Ground (WV) vs. Roundhouse Brewery (MN).
This one garnered a ton of traction on Instagram due to the amazing can design that High Ground came up with. This is my first time trying beer from either brewery, so let’s make it happen.
It’s always amazing to see the creative ways breweries brand their Oktoberfest beers. Typically a tragic for tradition, this one was a bit different for me. I really appreciate High Ground’s Halloween motif on their Famous Monster can. While Roundhouse incorporated the traditional checkerboard, I have to give this point to High Ground. Running total: High Ground 1-0 Roundhouse.
Starting with High Ground’s Famous Monster. It gives off a surprisingly strong aroma, full of malt and a hint of hops to round it out.
Roundhouse’s Der Zug, on the other hand, offers a powerful aroma as telegraphed by the hue of the beer. Deep and robust, it’s packed with toasted malt and a hint of warmth.
High Ground outperformed expectations based on its hue, but Roundhouse is almost a textbook example of the style. Running total: High Ground 1-1 Roundhouse.
The big question, how do they taste?
Kicking off with Famous Monster again, it opens with a mild malt flavor that rapidly increases throughout the mouthful. A hoppy twist and just enough sweetness round out a truly flavorful experience. A mild hoppiness persists in the aftertaste. This one is clean, refreshing, and quiet deeply flavored for its appearance.
Der Zug is an absolute powerhouse of a brew. Your tastebuds are welcomed by a deep toasted malt flavor that persists through the back end and into the aftertaste. It’s pretty much the prototype Marzen flavor!
While I very much enjoy Famous Monster, Der Zug is everything I expect in a Marzen. Deep and flavorful, without being too heavy. It’s a truly remarkable seasonal brew. Running total High Ground 1-2 Roundhouse.
These two beers differ significantly where body is concerned.
Regarding mouth feel, Famous Monster is thin and crisp. It offers more flavor than one might expect given its appearance, but it’s definitely more on the clean and crushable side.
Der Zug, in contrast, offers the rich and smooth mouthfeel that I love about this style. It does a great job leveraging its flavor without becoming a bloating mess.
Regarding head retention, Der Zug built a much more substantial head at the outset and still retains a solid 1/4inch halfway through the pint. Famous Monster’s head receded fairly quickly, and no sign is left.
As pictured above, you can see that both beers laced. Famous Monster put in a valiant effort, but Der Zug’s thicker body translated to an excellently laced glass.
This is another criterion where High Ground puts up a solid brew, but Roundhouse shines through. Running total: High Ground 1-3 Roundhouse.
As in last year’s tournament, my Instagram followers have the opportunity to shape the decisions of each bout. In the 24hours directly preceding each bout, a poll is placed on my Instagram story. Whoever has the most votes when the poll closes, takes this fifth criteria. So how did it shape up?
The amazing can art of High Ground’s Famous Monster seems to have sealed the deal here. My post announcing the poll drew tons of praise for the amazing art on display.
Running total: High Ground 2-3 Roundhouse.
Although crafting a great beer, High Ground was unable to beat Roundhouse. They had some amazing can art and a solid brew that you should definitely drink, but Roundhouse executed the style flawlessly and snuck through 3-2. They progress to Round 2 where they meet Rahr and Sons.
Be sure to check back regularly and to follow me on Instagram for your latest updates and opportunity to vote on each bout throughout the tournament. Until next time, cheers y’all!