Master of Marzen 2021 – Semi-Final 1: Hop & Barrel Brewing Company vs. Telluride Brewing Co.

Semi-Final 1 of Master of Marzen 2021 sees Hop & Barrel Brewing Company (Wisconsin) vs. Telluride Brewing Co. (Colorado).

Both are first-time entrants in the Master of Marzen tournament. Hop & Barrel emerged from their Round 4 clash with Hop & Sting and Telluride progressed from their previous round bout against Zero Gravity lol. Let’s see how this goes.

Packaging Design

Hop & Barrel’s Oktoberfest on the left and Telluride’s OktoberFISH on the right.

Both cans are up there with the best Oktoberfest seasonals.

Hop & Barrel’s Oktoberfest sees a Bavarian-check inspired background of blue hops on white. The foreground sees a Kaiser-dressed party goer complete with stein.

Telluride’s Can is dressed in lederhosen with a Bavarian-check shirt. It’s a great personality spin on tradition.

As mentioned before, both are awesome, but it’s hard to argue with lederhosen. This one goes to Telluride. Running total: Hop and Barrel 0-1 Telluride.

Aroma

Hop and Barrel’s brew offers a pleasantly powerful aroma. A deep, malty backbone is accentuated by sweet and warm notes with a touch of earth. The warmth holds on the nose for some time.

OktoberFISH offers a punch to the senses. Dry, earthy and particularly warm, it lingers on (and clears out) the nose.

Telluride offers a more intense aroma that executes well, so they take this one. Running total: Hop & Barrel 0-2 Telluride.

Flavor

Hop and Barrel offers a uniformly flavored experience throughout. Dry and earthy, it’s a pleasant mix of seasonal flavors. The earthy bitterness sits on the aftertaste and builds a little between sips.

Telluride’s OktoberFISH hits just as hard as its aroma would suggest. Dry, earthy and bitter from front to back, it really leverages the malts superbly. A milder version of the earthy bitter lingers and builds a little between sips.

I find the Hop & Barrel flavor profile to be slightly preferable, though both are simply superb. Running total: Hop & Barrel 1-2 Telluride.

Body

Hop & Barrel’s brew is mid-bodied, smooth and has a low carbonation point. It coats the mouth liberally and is a tremendously easy to drink brew.

Telluride’s brew is a thinner, more carbonated brew with substantially more bite. It’s quite refreshing, snapping you to your senses.

Hop & Barrel’s Oktoberfest on the left and Telluride’s OktoberFISH on the right.

As you can see above, Hop & Barrel has a darker brew. It also has a slight edge on foam retention and lacing.

Hop & Barrel is a smoother drinking brew and also leads on lacing, with head retention being a tie. Running total: Hop and Barrel 2-2 Telluride.

People’s Choice

Tied at 2-2, a spot in the final awaits the awardee of the People’s Choice. Let’s see how that went.

Poll results: Hop & Barrel 65% and Telluride 35%.

As you can see above, Hop & Barrel set themselves apart here, securing 65% of the vote. Running total: Hop & Barrel 3-2 Telluride.

Results

Two excellent brews made this Semi-Final. Hip & Barrel have booked a spot in the final against the winner of 4 By 4 vs. East Brother. Telluride will face the other brewery in the 3rd place final.

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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