Round 1, Bout 7 of Master of Marzen 2021 sees Steam Theory Brewing (Texas) take on Lost Rhino Brewing Company (Virginia).
This is both breweries’ first time entering the Master of Marzen tournament, so I’m looking forward to see how it plays out.
Both breweries have entered vibrant cans.
Steam Theory’s Hippodrom features an ornate design of intense red and yellow. In the center, a man and a woman dressed in matching outfits, complete with steampunky goggles, hoist steins of beer. It’s a very striking and interesting design.
Lost Rhino’s Rhino’Fest features a rhino silhouette, seemingly complete with a saddled carriage, looking out over a vast wilderness. A picturesque mountain range fills the background and much of the can is accented with a seasonally appropriate mix of oranges and browns.
As neither can went for the typical Oktoberfest branding, this is very subjective. I find both cans striking and likely to draw attention in a store.
I give Lost Rhino a very slight advantage here. The contrast of vibrant orange and icy blue, complete with a rhino silhouette, makes for a very aesthetically pleasing can. Running total: Steam Theory 0-1 Lost Rhino.
Hippodrom’s aroma is a deep and powerful one. A dark color and reasonably high ABV translates into a deep malty backbone with a spicy and boozy heat, tempered by a slight sweetness. This smells like it’s going to taste amazing.
Rhino’Fest offers a powerful aroma of its own. A lighter malt note with a warm sweetness creates a tremendous experience for the nose.
The aromas of both beers have some tremendous qualities in their own right. That said, the deep and powerful aroma of Hippodrom pushes Steam Theory slightly ahead here. Running total: Steam Theory 1-1 Lost Rhino.
Hippodrom opens with a mild maltiness, but a rush of caramel toasted malts and a slightly earthy quality rush into the back end. The aftertaste is a delicate balance of two powerful flavors in sweet caramel and the earthy side of toasted malts with an accent of hoppy goodness.
Rhino’Fest is a mightier beer than it’s paper color may suggest. The flavor experience is consistent throughout, offering a deep and powerful maltiness that leans into earthy warmth. A slight sweetness dances with the drier elements of the malty aftertaste. It retains and builds significantly between mouthfuls.
Yet another amazing bout with two tremendously flavorful brews. I’m giving a slight edge to Rhino’Fest here. That powerful and balanced flavor profile is simply superb. Steam Theory 1-2 Lost Rhino.
As you can see below, the brews of this bout are very different looking. Unsurprisingly, this translates to a significantly different mouthfeel.
Hippodrom is a mid-bodied and smooth brew with low carbonation. It makes for an easy drinking vehicle to enjoy a flavorful and reasonably boozy (for the style) brew.
Rhino’Fest is a decidedly thinner-bodied brew, but it squeezes every drop of flavor-transportability out of it. It’s also a deep and enjoyable experience, but it’s comparably light body makes it insanely easy to drink.
As previously alluded to, Hippodrom is a much deeper brew. It is also much more opaque. it did not lace or retain head.
Rhino’Fest is lighter, more translucent, and although little foam and lacing occurred, it was the clear winner on that front. Lost Rhino takes this point overall. Running total: Steam Theory 1-3.
The fifth judging criterion is based on polling run on my story at sargentsuds on Instagram. Let’s see how that went.
By the thinnest of margins, Lost Rhino takes the People’s Choice criterion with a score of 49% to 51%. Running total: Steam Theory 1-4 Lost Rhino.
Lost Rhino takes this one and will now move onto the second round where they meet 14th Star Brewery of Vermont.
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.