Master of Marzen 2021 – Round 1, Bout 6: 14th Star Brewing Co. vs. Sailfish Brewing Company

Round 1, Bout 6 of Master of Marzen 2021 sees 14th Star Brewing Co. (Vermont) face Sailfish Brewing Company (Florida).

14th Star are returning entrants from 2020 and Sailfish are newcomers to Master of Marzen. I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

Packaging Design

14th Star’s Oktoberfest on the left and Sailfish’s Oktoberfest on the right.

Two very different takes in can design here.

14th Star had a larger Bavarian check background with a particularly regal looking lion in front. The detail on the lion, which is a Bavarian symbol, is quite nice.

Sailfish has opted for a primarily checked can with the blue portions shaped like the fish of their logo. A large coat of arms dominates the foreground.

I’m giving this point to Sailfish here. While I enjoy both cans, the dedication to the traditions of Oktoberfest, while adding their own modern twist, gets them over the line. Running total: 14th Star 0-1 Sailfish.

Aroma

14th Star’s Oktoberfest offers a firm and pleasant aroma that feels like a warm hug. It’s deep and malty with a nice sweetness, that telegraphs what I expect to be a tremendously flavored brew.

Sailfish’s Oktoberfest offers a more subtle aroma that is deeply steeped in dark toasted malts. Slight warmth is also present on the nose.

I’m giving this one to 14th Star as that robust aroma is hard to beat. Running total: 14th Star 1-1 Sailfish.

Flavor

14th Star’s seasonal offering is a great drinking experience. It opens mild with a slight malt flavor and closes with a great mix of sweet and earthy bitterness. It’s aftertaste is mild and slightly dry with that earthiness popping through. It doesn’t retain or build between mouthfuls.

Sailfish’s drinking experience offers an even flavor from front to back. It’s a tremendously malty brew that favors an earthy tone. The aftertaste is also very mild, but a bit drier than 14th Star.

As a matter of preference, I give an edge to 14th Star here. It’s a smoother experience, although both are very tasty. Running total: 14th Star 2-1 Sailfish.

Body

14th Star’s Oktoberfest is a light-to-mid bodied and smooth brew with a very low carbonation point. It’s a clean and super easy drinking experience. Sailfish’s brew is a thicker and heavier brew, but it’s low on the carbonation scale and super smooth to drink.

14th Star’s Oktoberfest on the left and Sailfish’s Oktoberfest on the right.

As you can see above, Sailfish is a much darker brew than 14th Star. It also vastly outperforms 14th Star on head retention and lacing.

This point goes to Sailfish for making a robust and drinkable brew that laces well. Running total: 14th Star 2-2 Sailfish.

People’s Choice

All tied up, we move on to the fifth criterion where the People’s Choice will award the deciding point.

Poll results: 14th Star 59% and Sailfish 41%.

As you can see above, the 14th Star army was a force to beat. They take this point fairly handily with a score of 59% to Sailfish’s 41%. Running total: 14th Star 3-2 Sailfish.

Results

So there you have it! This one came right down to the wire, but we see 14th Star progress to the second round where they will face the winner of Steam Theory vs. Lost Rhino.

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.

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