Master of Marzen 2021 – Round 3, Bout 5: Twelve Guns Brewing vs. Freetail Brewing Co.

Round 3, Bout 5 of Master of Marzen 2021 sees Twelve Guns Brewing (Rhode Island) vs. Freetail Brewing Co. (Texas).

Twelve Guns are first time entrants of Master of Marzen, having qualified for Round 3 after their meeting with Urban South. Freetail have entered all three annual tournaments and progressed against Devil’s Canyon in the previous round. I’m excited to see how this will turn out.

Packaging Design

Twelve Guns’ Oktoberfest on the left and Freetail’s Oktoberfiesta on the right.

Twelve Guns’ Oktoberfest boasts a bright and engaging can. It features a blue-on-blue design with white highlights and a navy and gold logo. It’s sleek and enjoyable.

Freetail’s Oktoberfiesta highlights a mix of cultures in October/November. A día de los muertos appropriate figure poses in lederhosen, with a stein of beer, in front of a stark orange background.

Both are great cans, but I have to roll with Freetail’s novel way to express tradition and personality. Running total: Twelve Guns 0-1 Freetail.

Aroma

Twelve Guns’ Oktoberfest boasts and malty monster of an aroma. Intensely sweet and earthy, it’s accented by a pleasant warmth that lingers on and clears the nose.

Oktoberfiesta also offers a powerful aroma, but it’s a much crisper and more floral scent with a subtle malty quality. The vibrant floral quality retains for an extended time. It’s pleasant but unusual for the style.

The traditional qualities and intense base of Twelve Guns’ brew pushes them over the edge here. Running total: Twelve Guns 1-1 Freetail.

Flavor

Twelve Guns’ brew batters the tastebuds from the outset. A consistent flavor is present in all phases on the experience. A deep, toasted backbone lays an earthy foundation that’s complimented by a measured boozy streak and just enough sweetness to temper it. The bitter with a touch of booze dominates the aftertaste, retain and building throughout the experience.

Oktoberfiesta opens strong and smooth, offering an excellent mix of sharp malts and a floral hoppiness about it. It’s bright and engaging, drinking almost like the child of a Marzen and a pale ale. It’s pleasant, yet slightly confusing for the style. I don’t recall this being the experience in Rounds 1 or 2.

Both brews deviate some from what I would most expect of the style, but create a unique and enjoyable flavor. As it’s the more intense and closely associated with the style, I’m giving the edge to Twelve Guns here. Running total: Twelve Guns 2-1 Freetail.

Body

Twelve Guns’ brew is mid-bodied, smooth and reasonably low on the carbonation scale. It’s and interesting juxtaposition between what should be a very smooth and enjoyable base with the added boozy heat. The result is quite enjoyable, giving a little more bite than otherwise possible without the boozy heat.

Oktoberfiesta is light-bodied and smooth with a low effervescence. It’s the type of brew that liberally coats the mouth and is incredibly easy to drink.

Twelve Guns’ Oktoberfest on the left and Freetail’s Oktoberfiesta on the right.

As you can see above, Twelve Guns’ brew is markedly darker and considerably more opaque than its Freetail counterpart. Freetail is a significant leader on lacing and holds a minor advantage on head retention.

Given each of the component parts, the edge here has to go to Freetail. Mouthfeel is a bit of a wash, with both being excellent in their own right. The differentiation in foam and lace puts Freetail ahead. Running total: Twelve Guns 2-2 Freetail.

People’s Choice

This one is tied at 2-2, so we turn to the People’s Choice for the deciding point.

Poll results: Twelve Guns 47% and Freetail 53%.

This one was pretty close, seeing Freetail walk away with 53% of the vote. Running total: Twelve Guns 2-3 Freetail.

Results

Each progressive round of this tournament sees harder and harder decisions to be made. Today, it’s Freetail that lives to fight on. Their next Round Bout will see them face the winner of 4 By 4 Brewing vs. Elmhurst 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.

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