Master of Marzen 2021 – Round 1, Bout 8: Live Oak Brewing Company vs. Austin Beerworks

Round 1 Bout 8 of Master of Marzen 2021 is an all-Austin- affair as Live Oak Brewing Company (Texas) takes on Austin Beerworks (Texas).

These two great Austin breweries being drawn to meet in round 1 was serendipity at its finest. Live Oak have entered every Master of Marzen since the inaugural 2019 tournament and Austin Beerworks are first time entrants. Let’s get this rolling.

Packaging Design

Live Oak’s Oaktoberfest on the left and Austin Beerworks’ Montecore on the right.

Two visually striking and exceptionally different looking cans.

Live Oak has stuck with their traditional branding. A vast white canvas is emblazoned with their trademark text reading “Oaktoberfest” and bordered by black and gold panels.

Austin Beerworks’ Montecore is a vibrant mix of purple, pink and yellow with white highlights. Their can is a very fun mix of icons including pretzels.

Neither breweries have opted for the traditional Oktoberfest branding, but both have put together incredibly striking and aesthetically pleasing cans.

I’m giving a slight edge to Live Oak’s Oaktoberfest here. The stylized text on a minimally designed can draws the eye and I find it slightly more enjoyable than the louder and busier Montecore can. Running total: Live Oak 1-0 Austin Beerworks.

Aroma

Oaktoberfest offers a bright and semi-floral aroma. Light malts and a mild spicy heat show up on the tail end of the aroma.

Montecore, despite being a lighter colored brew, offers a more typical malty aroma you expect from and Oktoberfest brew. It’s light and balanced.

Two very tasty smelling brews in this bout. I’m giving a slight edge to Austin Beerworks. Running total: Live Oak 1-1 Austin Beerworks.

Flavor

Oaktoberfest is a tremendously flavorful brew. A consistent flavor throughout, it’s a perfect balance of malty, sweet, hoppy and earthy. The backend and aftertaste are mostly sweet with a touch of earthiness. It’s a truly excellent brew.

Montecore is also a consistent experience. Like the Live Oak, it’s a consistent experience from front to back. It’s malt-heavy, slightly dry, and closes with a nice hoppy backend.

After multiple more sips and some significant rumination, I’m giving the edge to Live Oak. Running total: Live Oak 2-1 Austin Beerworks.

Body

As you can see below, both beers are very light and translucent. Mouthfeel wise, Live Oak is light-to-mid bodied and tremendously smooth. A low carbonation point makes a very easy drinking brew. Montecore, despite being slightly lighter visually is a mid-bodied and low carbonation brew that’s incredibly smooth.

Live Oak’s Oaktoberfest on the left and Austin Beerworks’ Montecore on the right.

As you can see above, both brews maintained a thin foam border and neither laced. With that in mind, mouthfeel is the decider here. I’m giving the slightest of slight edges to Austin Beerworks here. Running total: Live Oak 2-2 Austin Beerworks.

People’s Choice

The final criterion for Master of Marzen judging is the People’s Choice which is directly decided by a poll on my Instagram story at sargentsuds. Let’s see how it went.

Poll results: Live Oak 42% to Austin Beerworks 58%.

Austin Beerworks takes this point, winning the poll by 16%. Running total: Live Oak 2-3 Austin Beerworks.

Results

Two amazing Austin breweries entered, but only one could live to fight another day. Austin Beerworks progresses to the second round where they will meet the winner of Autumn Arch Beer Project vs. Telluride Brewing Company.

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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