Round 1, Bout 27 of Master of Marzen 2021 sees Chilly Water Brewing Company (Indiana) vs. Six Bridges Brewing (Georgia).
Both breweries are first-time entrants in the Master of Marzen tournament. This should be a great bout, so let’s get started.
Both brews have opted for leveraging the Bavarian check that’s synonymous with Oktoberfest.
Chilly Water’s Oktoberfest label has a more prominently visible check in the background, with a diamond shape housing their logo and brew branding. It’s a classy label that leaves significant uncovered aluminum.
Six Bridges’ Feierabend is a mostly white can with a muted Bavarian check in the background. A prominent oval encases their branding elements.
This one is a hard bout to decide, as I like both labels for different reasons. I find Chilly Water’s label to be a clever use of unusual, eye-catching shapes. I like the sleek base of Six Bridges’ label, but I worry it may blend in to the shelf a bit as the muted check makes it a bit more difficult to discern that it’s an Oktoberfest brew, with a cursory glance.
With that said, I’m giving a slight edge to Chilly Water. Running total: Chilly Water 1-0 Six Bridges.
Chilly Water’s Oktoberfest offers a deep and powerful aroma with an intense backbone of toasted malts. A slight sweetness and malts hold on the nose. It’s an incredibly tasty aroma.
Six Bridges’ Feierabend also offers and intense aroma. Malty and deep, it’s much earthier than its Chilly Water counterpart, with a slight sweetness rounding it out.
Both of these are amazing smelling brews, and it’s pretty difficult to separate them. After a few more sniffs and some thought about the properties, I have to give the slightest of edges to Six Bridges on this one. The mix of aromas is ever-so-slightly more enjoyable. Running total: Chilly Water 1-1 Six Bridges.
Chill Water’s Oktoberfest is a uniformly flavorful brew throughout. Deep, caramel malts with a pleasant sweetness dominate the flavor. Once the mouthful has cleared, the sweetness dissipates rapidly, leaving a dry and earthy aftertaste that’s slightly bitter. No build on this one, but the transition from sweet to dry makes for an excellent experience.
Feierabend opens milder, but has an intense backend. A rush of toasted malts and a sweet, boozy heat well up in the mouth. That boozy quality dominates the aftertaste, retaining and building between sips. The booziness is warming without overwhelming.
Another very tight point on which it’s hard to separate these brews.
I’ve had a few sips more of each, and I’m erring on the side of Chilly Water here. It offers a deliciously smooth brew that’s more enjoyable over time without the boozy streak and heat. That said, both are excellent brews, and this point requires an intense level of knit-picking. Running total: Chilly Water 2-1 Six Bridges.
Chilly Water’s Oktoberfest is a light-bodied and smooth brew with a reasonably high carbonation. It coats the mouth generously, and is quite refreshing with a bubbly and light mouthfeel.
Feierabend is a mid-bodied and smooth brew with a lower carbonation point. It also coats the mouth a bit, just not as intensely.
As you can see above, Chilly Water’s brew appears as very slightly darker. Both are about equally translucent.
Six Bridges is a clear leader here in both head retention and lacing, though it’s not exceptional at either.
Overall, I have to side with Six Bridges here. Both brews are comparably enjoyable as far as mouthfeel is concerned. With that in mind, the difference in head and lacing of the largest point of differentiation. Running total: Chilly Water 2-2 Six Bridges.
And as is tradition, we move to the People’s Choice polls to determine criterion number 5. Let’s see how this goes.
As you can see above, Chilly Water takes a pretty commanding victory on this point, securing 77% of the vote. Running total: Chilly Water 3-2 Six Bridges.
A back and forth battle of two very tasty brews is settled with a significant polling victory to Chilly Water. They now progress to Round 2 where they’ll meet the winner of Enegren’s Festbier vs. Sketchbook.
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.