Master of Marzen 2021 – Round 1, Bout 24: Panther Island Brewing vs. Real Ale Brewing Co.

Round 1, Bout 24 of Master of Marzen 2021 is an all-Texan showdown as Panther Island Brewing meets Real Ale Brewing Co.

This year is Panther Island’s first time in the Master of Marzen, with Real Ale having been involved in each of the three tournaments this far. This will be epic, let’s get it rolling.

Packaging Design

Panther Island’s Oktoberfest on the left and Real Ale’s Oktoberfest on the right.

Panther Island’s Oktoberfest leverages the Bavarian check background behind a vibrant yellow panel with stylized text and a couple of dudes enjoying a brew. It’s a bright and eye-catching can.

Real Ale has opted for a muted and sleek blue on blue motif, featuring a Bavarian lion holding a shield with the state of Texas on it. A large, white font makes a clean contrast.

I do enjoy both labels, but I have to give the edge to Panther Island on this one. It’s bright, clever and eye-catching. Running total: Panther Island 1-0 Real Ale.

Aroma

Panther Island’s Oktoberfest offers an intense aroma with a strong backbone of toasted malts. It has a heat about it, tingling the nostril a tad. Mostly sweet, there’s a slight earthy quality about it. It’s close to textbook as far as aromas go.

Real Ale’s Oktoberfest has a much brighter aroma. A somewhat bready, un-toasted malt leads the way here. It’s also a pretty tasty smelling brew.

The edge here clearly goes to Panther Island. The depth of aroma is unparalleled and the balance of qualities is truly excellent. Running total: Panther Island 2-0 Real Ale.

Flavor

Panther Island’s brew is a handgrenade of flavor. A reasonably dry toasted malt opens and is quickly met by a subtle sweetness and a deep, earthy bitterness. A mix of dry and bitter retains into the aftertaste but does not build. It’s a crisp experience that left me excitedly hoping for my next mouthful.

Real Ale’s brew offers a consistent flavor experience from start to finish. A deep bitter maltiness is present throughout, significantly outperforming my expectations based on its color. The mild bitterness retains impressively and builds a tad between sips.

These are two tremendously flavored brews, but I have to give the edge to the folks at Real Ale here. Running total: Panther Island 2-1 Real Ale.

Body

Panther Island’s brew straddles the boundary between light and mid-bodied. It has a low carbonation point and is an incredibly smooth brew that coats the mouth generously.

Real Ale’s brew is a comparably much lighter bodied brew with a slightly higher carbonation point. It’s a crisp and refreshing experience.

Panther Island’s seasonal brew is a much darker brew, with a rich amber color. Real Ale’a brew is comparatively much lighter, presenting with a straw color. Both are highly translucent.

As you can see above, both retained some foam, though Real Ale leads here. Real Ale laced liberally and Panther Island didn’t really lace at all.

With that in mind, this point goes to Real Ale. While both mouthfeels are enjoyable, the head retention and lacing clearly favors Real Ale. Running total: Panther Island 2-2 Real Ale.

People’s Choice

As always, the fifth criterion of the tournament is decided by public poll on the sargentsuds Instagram profile. Let’s see how it went.

Poll results: Panther Island 40% and Real Ale 60%.

Real Ale takes this one, having received 60% of the vote.

Results

This all-Texan showdown came down to the wire, but Real Ale has emerged the victor. They now progress to the second round where they meet Sierra Nevada.

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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