Round 2 Bout 4 of Master of Marzen 2021 sees 14th Star Brewing Co. (Vermont) vs. Lost Rhino Brewing Company (Virginia).
Two different takes on the can here.
14th Star features a lion, the symbol of Bavaria, in front of the traditional Oktoberfest check. Yellow borders and a monochrome brewery logo do a good job of streamlining a design that may otherwise be at risk of busyness.
Rhino’Fest features a silhouette of a Rhino with an attached bag or travel cabin, standing in front of a mountain range and accented by fall colors. It’s a very eye catching design.
While I find Lost Rhino’s can quite eye catching, I’ve got to give the edge to 14th Star for their novel application of traditional design motifs. Running total: 14th Star 1-0 Lost Rhino.
14th Star’s brew offers a powerful malty aroma. It’s smooth and earthy, offering a mild warmth that lingers on the nose.
Rhino’Fest offers a slightly more powerful aroma that is particularly warm on the nose. It really sets the stage for a tremendous experience.
While both smell amazing, I have to give the edge to Rhino’Fest here. Running total: 14th Star 1-1 Lost Rhino.
14th Star’s brew is deep and malty, leaning into a dry and earthy base with a touch of sweetness that really rounds it out. A tremendous mix of dry and sweet holds opens the backend, with the sweetness surviving longer and mixing with a touch of earthiness for the long haul. It retains but does not build.
Rhino’Fest opens reasonably mild, but soon sees an intense rush of malty goodness. Slightly sweet, part earthy and a pleasant amount of bitter, it’s a well balanced brew. The bitterness holds but does not build between mouthfuls.
After a few more sips and some further deliberation, I’m giving a slight edge here to 14th Star as it’s a very flavorful brew that’s more consistent throughout. Running total: 14th Star 2-1 Lost Rhino.
14th Star’s Oktoberfest is an opaque amber color. It’s mid-bodied and smooth with a fairly low carbonation point. Rhino’Fest has a comparable color but is more translucent. It’s a lighter-bodied brew with a higher carbonation point, that makes for a less smooth but very refreshing experience.
As you can see above, Rhino’Fest leads the way on both head retention (with a thicker foam ring) and lacing (with considerably more on the glass).
I give a slight edge on mouthfeel to Lost Rhino, and the head retention/lacing pushes it slightly further past 14th Star. Running total: 14th Star 2-2 Lost Rhino.
The fifth criterion of the tournament is decided by public polling. Let’s see who was dubbed the People’s Choice!
As you can see, 14th Star took this point with 60% of the vote. Running total: 14th Star 3-2 Lost Rhino.
A back-and-forth bout sees 14th Star emerge victorious. They now move onto Round 3 where they meet Hop & Barrel 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.