Round 3, Bout 1 of Master of Marzen 2021 sees West Side Brewing (Ohio) vs. Hop & Sting Brewing Co. (Texas).
West Side are first time entrants of the tournament and this is Hop & Sting’s second involvement, having joined the inaugural tournament in 2019. West Side progressed via a Round 2 bout with TUPPS and Hop & Sting vanquished Saint Arnold in the same round.
West Side’s Oktoberfest uses a minimalist base with some traditional Oktoberfest flair to make quite a sleek looking can. A monotone logo on an open black space is accented well by blue lettering and the Bavarian check background.
Hop & Sting also brought their personality to the traditional Oktoberfest motif. A blue-on-blue check background, stark dark blue space that hosts branding, and a nicely contrasting red, white and yellow design work very well together. It’s a sleek and modern looking can.
While I enjoy both of these cans, I have to give a slight edge to Hop & Sting for leveraging colors well to make such an eye-catching can design. Running total: West Side 0-1 Hop & Sting.
West Side’s Oktoberfest offers and intense and robust aroma. A deep malty backbone is steeped in sweet, caramelly aromas with a generous earthy quality and a slight warmth. It’s close to a textbook aroma for the seasonal style.
Hop & Sting’s 3113 also offers and intense aroma. It’s a particularly sweet mix of qualities that’s accented by a touch of warmth. The sweetness holds on the nose for an extended period.
Given the constituent properties of these aromas, the edge here goes to West Side. Both are good, but theirs is slightly preferable. Running total: West Side 1-1 Hop & Sting.
West Side’s brew opens quite mild but sees a tremendous rush of flavor on the backend. Dry and earthy notes take the forefront and see a fleeting sweetness come and go. The dry quality dominates the aftertaste, supported by a crisp earthiness, making for a refreshing aftertaste that sees you yearning for the next sip.
3113 is a uniform flavor experience from front to back. A tremendous mix of sweet and malty, both hold through the backend but the sweetness dissipates in the aftertaste. What’s left is a pleasant bitter earthiness that retains over time and builds a touch.
The mix of flavors of 3113 sees it take a slight edge here. Running total: West Side 1-2 Hop & Sting.
West Side’s brew is a crisp, light and smooth-drinking brew. It is quite lightly carbonated and offers some mouth coating. It’s an easy-drinking and enjoyable brew.
3113 is a mid-bodied, smooth and syrupy-bodied brew that offers a very low carbonation. It’s also a particularly smooth brew.
As you can see above, Hop & Sting’s 3114 is a slightly darker colored brew. I’d argue that West Side takes the slightest of edges on both head retention (a more dense foam ring remains) and lacing (more is present).
As both brews possess incredibly enjoyable and highly drinkable mouth-feels, the slightest edge of head retention and lacing gives West Side a push here. Running total: West Side 2-2 Hop & Sting.
Tied at 2 points each, we head to public polls for the People’s Choice.
As you can see above, this poll was as tight as the rest of the bout, with Hop & Sting slipping through at 52% of the vote. Running total: West Side 2-3 Hop & Sting.
This bout was intense until the very end. Hop & Sting snuck through this one and now move onto the final eight. Their next bout will be against the winner of Hop & Barrel vs. 14th Star.
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.