Master of Marzen 2021 – Round 1, Bout 16: Oliphant Brewing vs. Urban South Brewery.

Round 1, Bout 16 of Master of Marzen 2021 saw Oliphant Brewing (Wisconsin) take on Urban South Brewery (Louisiana).

This is Oliphant’s first time entering Master of Marzen. After missing 2020, Urban South returns to the tournament, having been entrants in the inaugural edition of 2019. Lets get things rolling.

Packaging Design

Oliphant’s Festbier on the left and Urban South’s Oktoberfest on the right.

This is an interesting bout to judge.

Oliphant has gone for a German motif, with some very interesting looking figures on either side of the cuckoo clock. They’re almost alien looking. The background of the can leverages a pale blue and white check that is clearly inspired by traditional Oktoberfest designs.

Urban South has opted for a largely orange can with a design featuring many things associated with Oktoberfest. Pretzels, accordions, sausages and lederhosen adorn the can.

While I really enjoy the label from Urban South, the somewhat strange design of Oliphant is very compelling. I’m going to have to err on their side here. Running total: Oliphant 1-0 Urban South.

Aroma

Oliphant’s Festbier offers a toasted malt-forward aroma that’s thick with sweetness and has a slight spiced heat to it that tickles the nose. It’s pretty close to the optimum experience for an Oktoberfest brew, aroma wise.

Urban South’s Marzen offers an intense aroma that’s packed with sweet caramel malts, is slightly earthy, and has enough spicy warmth to almost draw a sneeze.

Two incredible brews here, but the clear leader in aroma is Urban South. It’s intensity, sweetness and warmth sets it ahead. Running total: Oliphant 1-1 Urban South.

Flavor

Oliphant’s brew opens with a bang, offering a consistently powerful brew that hinges on toasted malts and a slight earthiness. A sweetness kicks in on the backend and a pleasant mix of sweet and earthy retains on the aftertaste. The earthiness builds a tad from sip to sip.

Urban South’s brew opens a little milder but is quickly followed by an earthy and bitter backend that draws the best out of the style. The aftertaste is built on the earthy bitterness and adds just enough sweetness to maximize it. The flavors hold and build a tad between sips.

After a few additional mouthfuls of each and some deep thought. I give the slightest edge to Oliphant here. Running total: Oliphant 2-1 Urban South.

Body

Oliphant’s offering is a mid-bodied and smooth brew with a reasonably high carbonation. It’s pretty smooth, but the fizz adds up over time.

Urban South’s brew is a comparably lighter and less effervescent brew. It’s delightfully smooth and easy drinking.

As you can see above, Oliphant is a considerably darker brew. Both are quite translucent. The Urban South brew did much better on both head retention and lacing.

Given the description, I assume it’s unsurprising that Urban South takes this point. Running total: Oliphant 2-2 Urban South.

People’s Choice

The fifth criterion of this tournament is settled by the People’s Choice poll, conducted on my Instagram story. Let’s see how that turned out.

Poll results: Oliphant 46% and Urban South 54%.

In a very tight contest, Urban South takes the lead in the dying moments, taking the People’s choice poll with 54% of the vote.

Results

A tight, back-and-forth bout came down to the final criterion. In the end, Urban South took the bout. They will next meet Twelve Guns Brewing out of Rhode Island who secured a first-round bye in our 62 entrant competition.

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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