Master of Marzen 2020 – Round 1, Bout 4: Ranger Creek vs. Birds Fly South

Round 1, Bout 4 of the Master of Marzen 2020 sees Ranger Creek Brewing (TX) vs. Birds Fly South Ale Project (SC).

This one should be a ripper. Ranger Creek, based in San Antonio, are one of my local breweries. Birds Fly South’s (BFS) entry in this year’s tournament is my introduction to their brews! Let’s get it going.

Check out the 2020 Master of Marzen Round 1 draw.

Packaging Design

Two really well designed cans in this matchup.

Ranger Creek has a clean and minimal design. I like the use of blue and white, with a pop of orange to contrast.

BFS’s Flocktoberfest is one of the most ornate cans I’ve ever seen. They really leaned into the Oktoberfest check at the bottom of the can, and the us of the crest enclosed by two two birds is aesthetically interesting.

Probably not a surprise that BFS takes this point. It’s truly wonderful. Running total: Ranger Creek 0-1 BFS.

Aroma

Ranger creek offers a subtle, yet malty aroma. While it’s fairly mild in terms of strength, it offers a reasonable warmth and a typical Oktoberfest aroma.

Birds Fly South’s Flocktoberfest offers a deep and malty aroma. It’s packed with the toasted malts I love about the style, and teases what should be an amazing brew.

I think BFS takes this point too. The deeper and more powerful aroma is textbook Oktoberfest. Running total: Ranger Creek 0-2 BFS.

Flavor

Ranger Creek’s brew is crisp and malty, with a nice hoppy and earthy bite. It‘s a fairly light brew, but offers a developed and nuanced Oktoberfest flavor. It opens reasonably flavorful, but accelerates into the backend, where the bite holds up in the aftertaste. The balance here is truly awesome.

Flocktoberfest is a smooth, toasted malty, and slightly sweet brew. It’s a well balanced brew that tastes quite a bit lighter than you might think looking at its color. It’s a fairly mild and smooth flavor, which is consistent from start to finish.

This is a tough criterion to judge. The Ranger Creek offers a deeper and more complex brew than its appearance telegraphs. Conversely, Flocktoberfest offers a lighter and better balanced brew than its color telegraphs. I am going to give a slight edge to Ranger Creek for the comparative complexity of their tasting experience. Running total: Ranger Creek 1-2 BFS.

Body

On mouthfeel, Ranger Creek offers a light and smooth brew with a nicely balanced effervescence. This depth is ideal for carrying tons of flavor without becoming overly heavy. The Flocktoberfest is a heavier and even smoother brew, though it seems the flavor is a bit more tempered comparatively.

Ranger Creek on the left and Birds Fly South in the right.

Neither beer retained a head or laced. While both built decent heads, they both receded quickly.

With that in mind, this point comes down to purely subjective preference regarding mouthfeel.

I think Ranger Creek takes this one too. It’s a bit lighter, but has a deeper, more powerful flavor overall. Running total: Ranger Creek 2-2 BFS.

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?

As you can see, BFS took the people’s choice handily. Running total: Ranger Creek 2-3 BFS.

Results

Well, another bout went down to the wire, but BFS sneaks through to round 2 where they will meet Eight Bridges.

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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