Master of Marzen 2020 – Semifinal 1: 4 By 4 Brewing vs. Eight Bridges Brewing

Round 5, Bout 1 (Semifinal 1) of Master of Marzen 2020 sees 4 By 4 Brewing (MO) take on Eight Bridges Brewing (CA).

We’ve whittled the entrants down from 44 to just 4. Two great beers will enter, only one will book a place in the final. Let’s get cracking.

Packaging Design

It’s interesting that neither of these breweries went for the traditional motif, and both ended up with such similar color palettes.

In the case of 4 By 4’s O’Zapft Is! the symmetrical fall iconography is appropriately fall-colored.

For Eight Bridges’ Brewno Marzen, the stylized Bruno Marzen lookalike (decked out in Eight Bridges merch) stands in front of the German national colors.

Two clever and unique cans, but the point can only be awarded to one. In this case, that point goes to Eight Bridges for quite possibly the best seasonal pun and related label design of the tournament. Running total: 4 By 4 0-1 Eight Bridges.

Aroma

O’Zapft Is! gives off a deep and powerful aroma. It’s warm and sweet, to compliment its base of toasted malt notes. A textbook Marzen aroma.

Brewno Marzen is a lighter aroma overall. It is hop-forward and not quite as malty. While it’s a pleasant smelling brew, it doesn’t execute the transitional Marzen as well as its competitor.

With that in mind, this point goes to 4 By 4. Running total: 4 By 4 1-1 Eight Bridges.

Flavor

We’re at the pointy end of the tournament, so it stands to reason these will be two tasty brews. Let’s check them out.

O’Zapft Is! offers a tremendous flavor that compliments its aroma. It has a deep and malty aroma, which matches with a powerfully sweet overtone. Aftertaste wise, it’s mild and slightly sweet. A highly enjoyable experience.

Brewno Marzen is also incredibly flavorful. It offers a deep and malty flavor that significantly outperforms its aroma. It’s also complimented by a sweetness but has a deeper, hoppier backend than its competitor. Its aftertaste is hoppy with a very slight sweetness. A tremendous brew.

I’m giving this point to Eight Bridges as I find the flavor profile to be slightly more complex. Running total: 4 By 4 1-2 Eight Bridges.

Body

As you can see below, Brewno Marzen retained a little more head (in the form of a foam ring) and laced a little more thoroughly than O’Zapft Is! With that in mind it takes a slight lead into the mouthfeel consideration.

4 By 4 Brewing’s O’Zapft Is! on the left and Eight Bridges’ Brewno Marzen on the right.

O’Zapft Is! is mid-bodied and smooth. It has a wonderful, yet gentle flavor and a mild carbonation that combine for a very drinkable brew. The backend and aftertaste have a subtle dryness. An excellent experience.

Brewno Marzen is a little lighter-bodied and slightly more carbonated. It’s still quite a smooth brew, but has an added pep that its mellow competitor doesn’t quite match. The touch of bitterness on the backend is very refreshing.

With such great competitors, this one really comes down to a point of preference. After several more mouthfuls and much deliberation, I’m giving the slight edge to Eight Bridges. The smoothness to carbonation ratio sets it just ahead. Running total: 4 By 4 1-3 Eight Bridges.

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?

4 By 4 came out in force here and took the People’s Choice quite handily. Running total: 4 By 4 2-3 Eight Bridges.

Results

Well, a tight battle sees Eight Bridges book the first spot in the Master of Marzen 2020 Final. 4 By 4 will progress to the 3rd Place 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!

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