Round 1, Bout 2 of Master of Marzen 2021 is a battle of the US’s most populated states with AleSmith (California) facing off against Saint Arnold (Texas).
Both of these breweries have a solid footprint in their own right, and both are recognized as market leaders in their respective regions. This one is going to be a big time clash. Let’s get rolling.
This bout sees two very different takes when it comes to can design.
AleSmith opted for an Oktoberfest-blue can with gold lettering and white branding. It’s an aesthetically pleasing way to develop a can.
Saint Arnold’s Guten Tag Marzen avoids the typical branding of an Oktoberfest brew. The can offers an awesome tessellation made of the colors of the German flag, with their typical Saint Arnold branding on top.
I really like both of these cans for different reasons, but my subjective taste gives Saint Arnold a slight edge. Running total: AleSmith 0-1 Saint Arnold.
AleSmith’s Oktoberfest offers a light, clean and slightly malty aroma. A faint sweetness is detected, leading me to expect a light and crisp take on the style.
Saint Arnold’s Guten Tag offers a deeper, sweeter and more spiced aroma. It lingers with a perfumy quality and sets the stage for a sweet and flavorful brew.
As a matter of preference, I think I’m giving the edge to AleSmith on this one. Both offer a lot of personality through their aroma, but the clean malts of AleSmith are preferable to the perfumy sweetness of Guten Tag, in my view.
Running total: AleSmith 1-1 Saint Arnold.
AleSmith’s Oktoberfest offers a much deeper flavor than its light aroma may suggest. It opens with a rush of malty goodness which is quickly backed up by a slight hoppy bitterness and boozy heat. Once at full power, the balanced flavor persists through the backend and aftertaste, retaining from mouthful to mouthful, but not building.
Guten Tag’s deep, sweet and quite floral flavor profile is exactly what the aroma telegraphs. The floral notes hit the palate first, and are quickly backed up by a deep and flavorful toasted malt with slight sweetness and a mild earthy bitterness. The bittersweet combination rules the aftertaste which persists and builds a little from mouthful to mouthful.
Both of these are excellently crafted Oktoberfest seasonals. That said, I give the edge to Saint Arnold. The depth of intense flavors is highly enjoyable and an interestingly tasty twist on the style.
Running total: AleSmith 1-2 Saint Arnold.
AleSmith’s Oktoberfest is a light-bodied and smooth brew that has a slight sticky quality. It’s highly effervescent, making for a nice bubbly texture. All elements work well together to create a well-rounded texture.
Saint Arnold’s Guten Tag is a heavier, mid-bodied brew with a lower effervescence point that makes for an exceptionally smooth drinking experience.
Both brews are highly translucent, with a slightly deeper color occurring in Saint Arnold’s Guten Tag.
As you can see above neither brew excelled with head retention or lacing.
I’m going to award this one to Saint Arnold. The relative smoothness of the brew pushes it slightly ahead in my opinion, given how excellent both truly are. Running total: AleSmith 1-3 Saint Arnold.
Let’s see how the public polling ended up.
As you can see above, AleSmith takes the advantage on this criterion. Running total: AleSmith 2-3 Saint Arnold.
AleSmith made a late comeback, but it wasn’t quite enough to best Saint Arnold. With a final score of AleSmith 2-3 Saint Arnold, the Texan brewery progresses to the second round where they will face the winner of Mistress Brewing (Iowa) and Hop and Sting Brewing (Texas).
Be asure to check back regularly for updated results, and to follow @sargentsuds on Instagram so you can vote on all polls throughout the tournament.