Master of Marzen 2020 – Round 3, Bout 6: Kros Strain Brewing vs. 14th Star Brewing

Round 3, Bout 6 of Master of Marzen 2020 sees Kros Strain Brewing (NE) vs. 14th Star Brewing (VT).

Both breweries are new to me this tournament, and have been great to experience thus far. Let’s see who comes out on top!

Check out the Round 3 draw.

Packaging Design

Two very different approaches to can design here.

Kros Strain’s Krostoberfest offers a design of their logo, in diagonal check and the traditional Oktoberfest colors. An amazing mix of tradition and modern, minimalist design.

14th Star features a lion over the traditional Oktoberfest flag (which in past I missed the relevance of). As reader @gagner_sa_vie pointed out, the lion is the symbol of Bavaria, but the use of the non-European style (for lack of a better term) saw that fly over my head.

With a renewed understanding and appreciation of 14th Star’s branding, I still feel compelled to give this point to Kros Strain. It’s an amazing blend of tradition and modern styles. Running total: Kros Strain 1-0 14th Star.

Aroma

Krostoberfest is truly and outlier in this tournament. As a barrel aged Marzen, it offers a whiskey heavy aroma, with a hint of toasted malts and some sweetness.

14th Star Oktoberfest offers a more traditional, and incredibly well executed aroma. It offers tons of toasted malt and a subtle sweetness.

As we get to the pointy end of the season, all beers are strong executors. With that in mind, I’m giving the advantage to 14th Star for their more traditional and top-notch aroma. Running total: Kros Strain 1-1 14th Star.

Flavor

Krostoberfest is a really interesting brew. It opens in a very typical marzen-y way. It’s malty and slightly sweet. The backend is a rush of the peaty and somewhat buttery flavors of whiskey. The aftertaste is really a mix of both. It has malts and sweetness, but it’s cut with the boozy whiskey punch.

14th Star’s Oktoberfest is a very tasty, and traditional, take on the style. It opens mildly, but sees a rush of deep toasty malts with just enough carbonation and sweetness to really accentuate the flavors.

This one is a tremendously difficult decision. Both are great beers in their own right. Because 14th Star’s Oktoberfest is a high level take on the traditional, I have to give a slight edge to the fundamentals of the style. Running total: Kros Strain 1-2 14th Star.

Body

On mouthfeel, Krostoberfest is reasonably light, but incredibly smooth. It has a low carbonation, but offers tons of flavor. It’s a really good mix of flavor and drinkability.

14th Star’s brew is also quite smooth. It’s a tad heavier than Kros Strain’s, but it’s an insanely easy to drink brew.

Kros Strain’s Krostoberfest on the left and 14th Star’s Oktoberfest on the right.

As you can see above, neither retained a head and neither really laced. With that said, it all comes down to the mouthfeel.

After a few more mouthfuls and much deliberation, I give a very thin edge to 14th Star. In not having the barrel aged notes in the mix, it’s such an easy to drink brew. Running total: Kros Strain 1-3 14th Star.

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 one was fairly one sided, with Kros Strain taking the People’s Choice quite handily. Running total: Kros Strain 2-3 14th Star.

Results

Another tight bout in this awesome tournament. 14th Star have managed to sneak through and will meet Twisted Spike in round 4.

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 Round 3 draw.

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