Round 1, Bout 13 of Master of Marzen 2021 sees Spiteful Brewing (Illinois) vs. Equal Parts Brewing (Texas).
This is both breweries’ first time entering the Master of Marzen tournament. I’ve heard a lot about both breweries and their seasonals, so I’m excited to check them out!
Spiteful’s Oktoberfest has a sleek can that leans into Oktoberfest tradition. The blue and white Bavarian check serves as a background to the branding banner which is set on a darker, royal blue. The Spiteful logo, with its vibrant red, stands out beautifully.
Equal Parts’ Vernal took a very different lane. Like the rest of their beer labels, Vernal has an ornate and eye catching pattern across the can. The vibrant flower colors make sense given the name, translating from Spanish for spring, and I can only assume refers to the history of the Marzen style (which would see harvested grains from March create the typical malty flavors).
While I find the design of Vernal quite aesthetically pleasing in its own right, I have to give this point to Spiteful. Their mix of tradition with their own personal flair creates a tremendous can for the style. Running total: Spiteful 1-0 Equal Parts.
Spiteful’s Oktoberfest offers a deep and firm aroma with a deep malty backbone. It’s slightly sweet and offers a generous warmth that lingers on the nose. It’s a great example of what to expect from an Oktoberfest seasonal brew.
Vernal offers a milder overall aroma. Toasted malts dominate and are supported by a reasonably sweet accent. It’s a tasty smelling brew, just not quite as intense as the competitors.
With both being very pleasant smelling brews, the differentiator is intensity. On that note, Spiteful takes this point. Running total: Spiteful 2-0 Equal Parts.
Spiteful’s brew opens with a smooth and mild toasted malt profile that leans into the sweeter side of things. A pleasant bitterness joins on the backend and adds some depth. The aftertaste sees the sweetness disappear quickly, resulting in a reasonably dry and slightly bitter mix that recedes quite quickly.
Vernal opens with a bang. A rich toasted malt flavor rolls in with a reasonably dry and bitter profile. A slight sweetness supports the backend. A dry and crisp malty flavor retains into the aftertaste, retaining and building a little between sips.
Both are very tasty brews, but I have to give an edge to Equal Parts here. It opens intensely but gets the balance right throughout, adding some supporting notes that create an enjoyably complex brew overall. Running total: Spiteful 2-1 Equal Parts.
Spiteful’s Oktoberfest is a light-to-mid-bodied brew with a reasonably high carbonation point. The result is a refreshing mouthfeel that compliments the flavors well.
Vernal is mid-bodied and smooth with a lower carbonation point. It’s a particularly easy drinker that’s a great vehicle for its robust and complex flavor profile.
As you can see above, Spiteful is a slightly lighter colored brew, with both being highly translucent. Neither beer did much in terms of head retention or lacing.
With that in mind, the point comes down to preference of mouthfeel. After several more sips and some deep thought, I have to give the advantage to Vernal. Running total: Spiteful 2-2 Equal Parts.
And now we move to the People’s Choice which is decided by public poll on the sargentsuds Instagram story. Let’s check out the results.
Spiteful takes this point, having received 55% of the vote. Running total: Spiteful 3-2 Equal Parts.
So there you have it. Two delicious and enjoyable brews, but it’s Spiteful that progresses to round 2 where they meet Zero Gravity 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.