Master of Marzen 2021 – Round 3, Bout 2: Hop & Barrel Brewing Company vs. 14th Star Brewing Co.

Round 3, Bout 2 of Master of Marzen 2021 sees Hop & Barrel Brewing Company (Wisconsin) vs. 14th Star Brewing Co. (Vermont).

Hop & Barrel are first-time entrants in the tournament who progressed against Sudwerk in Round 2. 14th Star returned to the tournament after their inaugural 2020 birth. They qualified for Round 3 after meeting Lost Rhino in the previous round.

Packaging Design

Hop & Barrel’s Oktoberfest on the left and 14th Star’s Oktoberfest on the right.

Hop & Barrel’s Oktoberfest features an interesting take on the Oktoberfest check, featuring blue hops against a white background. In the foreground, a man dressed like an old German Kaiser, complete with stein, sets the tone.

14th Star’s Oktoberfest features a regal looking lion in front of a diagonal Oktoberfest check. It is bordered by orange and yellow elements.

While I enjoy both cans in their own right, I have to give this one to Hop & Barrel. Running total: Hop & Barrel 1-0 14th Star.

Aroma

Hop & Barrel’s Oktoberfest offers a reasonably intense aroma. Sweet and floral qualities add punctuation to a warm, malty backbone. The warmth holds on the nose for a little bit.

14th Star’s Oktoberfest offers a slightly more intense aroma. A caramel-y sweet property dominates the aroma and sees a touch of warmth that holds on the nose.

Given the aforementioned qualities, im giving the edge to 14th Star here. Running total: Hop & Barrel 1-1 14th Star.

Flavor

Hop & Barrel’s brew is a uniformly flavored brew throughout. It’s a crisp and bitey brew that leans into earthy bitterness that holds through the aftertaste and builds a touch.

14th Star’s brew opens mild but sees an intense rush of flavor in the backend. Crisp, dry and malty, a significant earthiness holds through the back end and builds significantly without overwhelming.

As it’s the more complex and powerful flavored brew, I’m giving and edge to 14th Star here. Running total: Hop & Barrel 1-2 14th Star

Body

Hop & Barrel’s brew is mid-bodied and smooth with a reasonably high carbonation. The carbonation makes it somewhat refreshing but potentially bloating. The mouth is coated liberally by the brew.

14th Star’s brew is a light and enjoyable brew. It has a fairly low carbonation that makes it quite easy to drink.

Hop & Barrel’s Oktoberfest on the left and 14th Star’s Oktoberfest on the right.

As you can see above, Hop & Barrel is a slightly darker brew and is a bit more opaque. It is also a clear leader in both hop retention and lacing.

The mouthfeel leans very slightly to 14th Star, but Hop and Barrel holds enough ground on head retention and lacing to overcome that gap. Running total: Hop & Barrel 2-2 14th Star.

People’s Choice

Tied at 2 points each, we head to public polling to see who has been named the People’s Choice.

Poll results: Hop & Barrel 56% and 14th Star 44%.

As you can see above, a fairly close poll sees Hop & Barrel take 56% of the vote compared to 14th Star’s 44%. Running total: Hop & Barrel 3-2 14th Star.

Results

Two amazing brews entered, but only Hop & Barrel is able to progress. They’ll next move to the final eight where they meet Hop & Sting.

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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