Master of Marzen 2020 – Round 1, Bout 8: AleSmith vs. Kros Strain

Round 1, Bout 8 sees AleSmith’s Aleschmidt Oktoberfest (CA) take on Kros Strain’s Krostoberfest (NE).

This is my first time checking out either brewery, but posts about this bout drew lots of supportive comments for both of these breweries. I’m really excited to see how it goes, so let’s get things underway.

Check out the Master of Marzen 2020 Round 1 draw.

Packaging Design

AleSmith’s packaging is quite unique in that each half of the can looks completely different. The predominantly white can offers a clean, aesthetically pleasing design with nice use of gold. The blue and gold side of the can really grabs attention, and while a bit busier, is still a nice sight.

Kros Stain’s choice of packaging is an interesting take on the typical branding you can expect from a marzen brew. I like the melding of the diagonal blue and white check with the included KS logo throughout. It’s a clever way to play on the consumers’ expectations and still stand out in the theme.

I am going to give the slight edge to AleSmith on this one. I really like the minimalist white side of their can, and think having the versatility of two different appearances on the same can is a nice touch. Running total: AleSmith 1-0 Kros Strain


AleSmith’s Oktoberfest smells tremendous. A rich malty tone with a touch of warmth permeates through the aroma. It offers a much stronger smell than one might expect of a lighter hued Marzen.

Krostoberfest also offers quite a strong aroma. Barrel aged properties dominate the aroma, with a touch of malt but not quite as much as AleSmith’s offering.

On the balance of AleSmith offering a clearer malt profile, I am going to givem them another slight edge here. Running total AleSmith 2-0 Kros Strain.


Let’s get down to business.

AleSmith’s brew is mid-bodied and packed with flavor. Nice and smooth, it offers deep malt throughout the mouthful and well into the aftertaste. The flavors persist and build, creating and increasingly enjoyable brew throughout the glass. Masterfully done.

Krostoberfest’s brew is an exciting experience. As this is a barrel-aged brew, there’s a deep wood and peat flavor in its foundation. On the back end, a touch of malt breaks out, rounding out the experience. The whiskey-esque flavors persist, which is a truly great touch.

This is a tough call to make. AleSmith does the fundamentals impeccably, where as Kros Strain took a risk and it paid off. In saying that, I am giving the point to Kros Strain. In keeping a traditional foundation and adding complexity through barrel aging, they’ve crafted a tremendous flavor. Running total: AleSmith 2-1 Kros Strain.


Despite very different tactics in brewing their marzens, AleSmith and Kros Strain have developed beers with similar properties when it comes to body.

Mouthfeel wise, AleSmith is on the lighter side of mid-bodied. It’s not quite light, and it’s very smooth. Kros Strain’s Krostoberfest is a tad heavier, but still firmly in the mid-bodied range.

AleSmith’s Oktoberfest on the left and Kros Strain’s Krostoberfest on the right.

AleSmith’s head dissipated quickly while Kros Strain built a much larger head and maintained a little foam as late as halfway through the glass.

From a lacing standpoint, AleSmith’s offered no discernible lacing, where ass Kros Strain offered minimal.

Where these beers are very similar, I feel Kros Strain takes this one. Slighty more depth in the mouth-feel, a slightly stronger head and a tad more lacing sees them sneak away with this point. Running total: AleSmith 2-2 Kros Strain.

People’s Choice

As in last year’s tournament, my Instagram followers have the opportunity to shape the decisions of each bout. In the 24 hours 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 polling for this one saw Kros Strain take the point handily. Running total: AleSmith 2-3 Ktos Strain.


It was a strong showing from both of these breweries and I thoroughly enjoyed each of the brews. Not a lot separated them, but Kros Strain takes a 3-2 win and progress to Round 2 where they will meet Lupulin Brewing.

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!

Check out the 2020 Master of Marzen Round 1 draw.


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