Master of Marzen 2020 – Round 1, Bout 1: Schell’s Brewery vs. Oak Highlands Brewery

Round 1, Bout 1 of the 2020 Master of Marzen sees Schell’s Brewery (MN) vs. Oak Highland’s Brewery [OHB] (TX).

Well, it’s a bit out of order, but let’s check out Round 1, Bout 1. This is the first time I am checking out a Schell’s beer, where as OHB are return entrants from last year and a regularly available brand in my neck of the woods.

Check out the 2020 Master of Marzen Round 1 draw.

Packaging Design

Both of these beers have clean, aesthetically pleasing packaging.

Schell’s can features a fall-colored illustration of their brewing facility and an Oktoberfest blue font. It’s an unusual, yet striking design in this style of brew.

OHB leans into the traditional Oktoberfest diagonal check and contrasts with a clean informational panel at the bottom. Inclusion of the breast cancer ribbon is a great touch for an Oktoberfest beer.

I am giving this one to OHB for tying traditional Oktoberfest designs with modern, minimal design elements. Running total: Schell’s 0-1 OHB

Aroma

Schell’s Oktoberfest offers a bright and warm aroma. It’s malty and has a touch of hops, suggesting a deep and flavorful brew. It is the lighter colored of the two brews, but it’s not slacking on aroma.

OHB’s aroma is packed with toasted malts and is reasonably sweet. It’s not quite as deep as Schell’s version, but it smells amazing nonetheless.

The different depths of aroma see Schell’s edge out OHB here. Running total: Schell’s 1-1 OHB.

Flavor

Schell’s Oktoberfest is a complex brew. Opening fairly mild on the front end, a nice push of toasted malts and a slight earthy hop round out the backend. A mild bitterness retains in the aftertaste, creating an amazing experience from start to finish.

OHB’s Oktoberfest is a more consistently flavored brew. It opens with a rush of hops and a slight bitterness that maintains throughout the backend and persists in the aftertaste. A great malt flavor, with a reasonable bitterness, builds from mouthful to mouthful. A very enjoyable brew.

Both brews offer desired stylistic complexity, but I think OHB’s consistent experience from front-end to aftertaste sets it slightly ahead. Running total: Schell’s 1-2 OHB.

Body

Schell’s mouthfeel is smooth and reasonably light, without skimping on flavor. It’s a crushable, easy drinker that’s very enjoyable.

OHB, conversely is a considerably heavier brew. The depth of flavor is a great experience, but definitely lends itself to a slower savoring to prevent potential bloat. In saying that, it’s an enjoyably smooth brew and the flavor is worth the wait.

Schell’s in the left and Oak Highlands on the right.

Regarding head retention, as you can see above, neither really held any foam. There’s no clear distinction here.

On lacing, as you can see above, Schell’s built a little more. It’s not a complete wash, but they definitely separate themselves from OHB on that front.

The teal separation is in the mouthfeel. I think Schell’s did a slightly better job balancing their weight without compromising flavor. Both taste amazing, but the Schell’s is a little easier to drink overall. Add to that a very slight edge in lacing and this one must be awarded to Schell’s. Running total: Schell’s 2-2 OHB.

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?

This was a close one, but Schell’s sneaks ahead on the people’s choice. Running total: Schell’s 3-2 OHB.

Results

Another tight bout that went to the wire. Two great beers entered, but only Schell’s will live to see the next round where they meet 4×4 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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