Master of Marzen 2021 – Round 1, Bout 14: MadTree Brewing vs. Southern Star Brewing Company

Round 1, Bout 14 of Master of Marzen 2021 sees MadTree Brewing take on Southern Star Brewing Company.

MadTree is a first time entrant and Southern Star return for their second entry, having participated in the inaugural tournament in 2019. This one is shaping up to be a great battle.

Packaging Design

MadTree’s Ziegler on the left and Southern Star’s Oktoberfest on the right.

MadTree’s design leans into the traditional branding of Oktoberfest. A two-tone blue check builds out the foundation, with an interestingly illustrated group of party-goers enjoying their beers. Black borders on the can tie the whole piece together.

Southern Star have leant into a minimalist style, option for a vibrant fall orange background with clean black and white design elements places sparingly around the can.

While I enjoy the qualities of both cans, I’m giving the edge to MadTree here. They’ve managed to match the traditional elements of Oktoberfest with some personal flair. Running total: MadTree 1-0 Southern Star.

Aroma

MadTree’s Ziegler offers quite a mild aroma. Toasted malts pop through and are accented by a slight warmth that lingers on the nostril.

Southern Star’s Oktoberfest offers a significantly more intense aroma. The malts shine through too, and are relatively dry and warm.

This one goes to Southern Star as the aromas are fairly comparable and the major point of differentiation is the intensity. Running total: MadTree 1-1 Southern Star.

Flavor

Ziegler is a measured brew, offering a relatively low intensity flavor profile out the gate, but it has some serious legs into the aftertaste. Mild and malty, leaning into bitterness, the relatively low intensity persists without reduction making for a very clean and enjoyable aftertaste. No build between sips, but that’s fine because it hits the right notes.

Southern Star’s offering is also quite mild overall. It opens with a more powerful mix of flavor, relative to MadTree, but it also holds its ground throughout. The aftertaste persists quite well and is slightly sweeter.

Two mild, yet beautifully balanced and highly perseverant brews need a few more sips to declare a winner. After a few more sips, I’m giving the slightest of edges to MadTree. I found their balance slightly more compelling, though both brews are tremendous in their own right. Running total: MadTree 2-1 Southern Star.

Body

As you can see below, the color and translucency of both brews is almost identical.

MadTree’s is light and smooth, with a low carbonation. Southern Star is also smooth and lightly carbonated, and although light-bodied is slightly heavier than its adversary.

MadTree’s Ziegler on the left and Southern Star’s Oktoberfest on the right.

MadTree’s Ziegler holds a marginal lead in its head retention and lacing, though neither was an obvious standout here.

After multiple sips and some deep thought, my decision has to be MadTree here. The separation is limited in all facets, but the slight advantage in head retention and lacing is enough to squeak by when the mouthfeel is so comparable. Running total: MadTree 3-1 Southern Star

People’s Choice

For the final criterion, we move to the People’s Choice as decided on a story poll at the sargentsuds Instagram account. Let’s check it out.

Poll results: MadTree 63% and Southern Star 37%

MadTree took this point quite comfortably. Running total: MadTree 4-1 Southern Star.

Results

Two beers entered but only one can progress. This time it’s MadTree who manage a 4-1 victory. In round two, they’ll meet the winner of Call To Arms Brewing vs. Great Lakes Brewing.

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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