Master of Marzen 2020 – Quarterfinal 4: Paulaner Munchen vs. Double Nickel Brewing

Round 4, Bout 4 (Quarterfinal 4) of Master of Marzen 2020 sees Paulaner Munchen (Germany) take on Double Nickel Brewing (NJ).

Paulaner is one of the biggest names in Oktoberfest brews, but Double Nickel has been a very impressive first-time entrant in this tournament. This one will be epic.

Check out the Round 4 draw.

Packaging Design

Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Marzen label features their traditional seal on a faintly-checked label and features some seasonal iconography in the background. It definitely plays into their world-recognized branding, but doesn’t adjust a whole lot for the season.

Double Nickel’s Zeitgeist has been one of my favorite labels this tournament. The connection of the traditional blue-on-white check and the more modern, semi-absurdist design makes for an amazing can.

This one goes to Double Nickel for an original spin on the traditional motif. Running total: Paulaner 0-1 Double Nickel.

Aroma

Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Marzen is one of the world’s leaders in this category, and it’s not hard to see why. Deep and malty, with a slight bready sweetness and a touch of warmth, it executes the style near flawlessly.

Double Nickel’s Zeitgeist is also a pleasantly smelling brew. It’s sweeter and hoppier, but doesn’t offer near as much maltiness. The hops create a slightly floral twist on the aroma.

This point is going to Paulaner for its flawless execution. Running total: Paulaner 1-1 Double Nickel.

Flavor

The most important (yet equally weighted) criterion, how do the beers taste?

Starting with Paulaner, it opens with a crisp and clean toasted malt profile. The back end matures with a slight sweetness which, combined with a light carbonation, make for an amazing mix of flavors. Unsurprisingly, it’s incredibly well done.

Zeitgeist is also a very tasty brew. It opens with a might maltiness, which errs on the breadier side instead of toasted. It’s well supported with a firm but gentle sweetness making for a tremendous experience overall. An outstanding aftertaste retains, mixing the best of the malts, a mild sweetness, and a firm but balanced hoppy bitterness.

This is as hard a decision as any this tournament. Paulaner kills it on the traditional front, but Double Nickel respectfully twists the foundation with some modern flair.

In what may be a contentious decision, I have to give this one to Double Nickel. Both are excellent on the front and back end, but I think Zeitgeist manages to inch ahead in its aftertaste. Running total: Paulaner 1-2 Double Nickel.

Body

As you can see below, both beers did reasonably well with head retention. They both have a slight ring of foam after 10-15mins post pour.

You can also see that Zeitgeist laces a tad better, but not tremendously.

With that said, let’s assume Double Nickel has the thinnest of leads going into the mouthfeel consideration.

Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Marzen on the left and Double Nickel’s Zeitgeist on the right.

Paulaner is crisp and clean. It’s light-boded and somewhat punchy. With mild carbonation, it’s an easy drinker with a bit of pep. It’s different from a lot of the experiences this tournament, but generally enjoyable.

Zeitgeist is smooth and easy drinking. It has a low carbonation and high-drinkability, but doesn’t skimp on flavor.

This is a tough decision to make too. I am giving a slight edge to Paulaner. Running total: Paulaner 2-2 Double Nickel.

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?

Double Nickel’s fans came out in force and helped the NJ-based brewery sneak ahead here. Running total: Paulaner 2-3 Double Nickel.

Results

A huge bout sees Double Nickel take on the giant of Paulaner and squeak through to the semifinals. They will meet Oklahoma’s Twisted Spike for a spot in the final.

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 4 draw.

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