Master of Marzen 2020 – Championship Final: Eight Bridges Brewing vs. Twisted Spike Brewing

The Championship Final of Master of Marzen 2020 sees Eight Bridges Brewing (CA) take on Twisted Spike Brewing (OK).

44 breweries entered the tournament and only two remain for a chance to be Master of Marzen 2020. This one will be epic, let’s get rolling.

Packaging Design

Two very different takes on can design here.

Eight Bridges’ Brewno Marzen has a likeness of the music star for which it is named, adorned with appropriately branded garb. It stands out against the national colors of Germany.

Twisted Spike’s Spiketoberfest leans into the tradition of the season, boasting a large wooden keg against the blue and white diagonal check that’s synonymous with Oktoberfest.

While I appreciate the tradition of Spiketoberfest, I have to give this one to Brewno Marzen. The branding and label design is truly amazing. Running total: Eight Bridges 1-0 Twisted Spike.

Aroma

Brewno Marzen is a tremendous representation of the stylistic aroma. It’s deep and rich, with a foundation of toasted malts and a slight sweetness and warmth. It’s not as powerful as some others in this tournament, but I appreciate its balance.

Spiketoberfest is a slightly more powerful beer in terms of aroma. It less warm and more sweet overall. The toasted malts are tremendous, and linger on the nostril for quite some time.

The extra strength puts Spiketoberfest just ahead here. Running total: Eight Bridges 1-1 Twisted Spike.

Flavor

Brewno Marzen opens quite mild, but quickly accelerates into an intense backend. It’s malt-heavy and slightly dry, leading to a delicate and complex aftertaste. A touch of malty bitterness and a slight sweetness remains and builds a little from mouthful to mouthful. A wonderful experience.

Spiketoberfest is a considerably more consistent experience. It opens with a rush of malts that quickly develops a sweet overtone. The backend remains the same and leads into a rich aftertaste of sweet malts with just enough malty and hoppy bitterness to temper it. Also a great beer.

This is a fittingly difficult decision, given the final. I’m giving a slight edge to Brewno Marzen here, as the transitional complexity puts it a half step ahead. Running total: Eight Bridges 2-1 Twisted Spike.

Body

As you can see, neither brew retained much of a head. Brewno Marzen, however, developed significantly more lacing. That gives them a slight lead headed into mouthfeel consideration.

Eight Bridges’ Brewno Marzen on the left and Twisted Spike’s Spiketoberfest on the right.

Brewno Marzen has a smooth and mild mouthfeel that really benefits from the pop of bitter on the backend and in the aftertaste. With a fairly low carbonation, it’s an easy drinker and that complexity maximizes the experience.

Spiketoberfest is a little lighter, but also very smooth. It has a low carbonation, like Brewno Marzen, but accentuates it with a well leveraged sweetness instead of bitterness. There’s just enough effervescence to add a slight burn and readers hint crispness.

This one goes to Spiketoberfest. Running total: Eight Bridges 2-2 Twisted Spike.

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?

Twisted Spike nation was not messing around here. As you can see, Spiketoberfest takes this point fairly convincingly. Running total: Eight Bridges 2-3 Twisted Spike.

Results

Well, that’s a wrap on Master of Marzen 2020! 44 beers entered and Twisted Spike emerged as this year’s Master of Marzen.

Special mention to Eight Bridges for taking it all the way to the wire.

A big thanks to all the breweries involved for their support of this idea!

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