Master of Marzen 2021 – Championship Final: Hop & Barrel Brewing Company vs. East Brother Beer Co.

The Championship Final of Master of Marzen 2021 sees Hop & Barrel Brewing Company (Wisconsin) vs. East Brother Beer Co. (California).

Both are first time entrants in the tournament. Hop & Barrel emerged from a competitive Semi-Final against Telluride and East Brother qualified against an excellent 4 By 4 brew. Let’s see how this final shakes out.

Packaging Design

Hop & Barrel’s Oktoberfest on the left and East Brother’s Festbier on the right.

Hop & Barrel’s Oktoberfest mixes modern personality and tradition impeccably. A Kaiser-esque man with a stein is backdropped by a series of Oktoberfest blue-colored hops against a white background.

East Brother brings a simple and elegant design style to the table. An off-white background hosts clean and simple lettering in an appropriately fall-colored orange.

Both are nice in their own right, but it’s truly hard to beat Hop & Barrel’s wonderful seasonal design. Running total: Hop & Barrel 1-0 East Brother

Aroma

Hop & Barrel’s brew is smooth, sweet and warm. It’s a mild aroma with a clean backbone of toasted malts really leverages its fundamental properties well.

East Brother’s Festbier is an impressively intense aroma’d brew. A sweet, malty backbone is accented by some tremendous floral inclusions.

While Hop & Barrel hits the fundamentals better, it’s a much milder aroma. East Brother’s aroma deviates a touch, to their benefit, but makes an amazing overall and considerably more powerful aroma. Running total: Hop & Barrel 1-1 East Brother.

Flavor

Hop and Barrel’s brew is a uniformly flavored brew. It’s dry, earthy and bitter and leverages the flavor profile particularly well. The backend leans into the bitterness which holds and builds a little.

East Brother’s Festbier is a crisp and bitey tasting brew. It leans into the earthiness, but balances it particularly well. The bitterness holds on the backend and builds slowly throughout the experience.

Both are tremendous, but a very slight edge goes to Hop & Barrel here. Running total: Hop & Barrel 2-1 East Brother.

Body

Hop and Barrel’s brew is mid-bodied, smooth and mild. It has a low carbonation point and coats the mouth liberally. A very easy drinking brew.

East Brother’s Festbier is a mid-bodied and smooth brew with a slightly higher carbonation point. The dry, bitey mouthfeel and mid carbonation make it a bit more refreshing but also slightly less smooth than Hop and Barrel’s brew.

Hop & Barrel’s Oktoberfest on the left and East Brother’s Festbier on the right.

As you can see above, Hop & Barrel is a considerably darker and more opaque brew. The beers perform comparably in terms of head retention, but East Brother holds a slight edge on lacing.

With mouthfeel being different yet comparably enjoyable and head retention being a virtual tie, lacing edges to East Brother and pushes them over the line here. Running total: Hop & Barrel 2-2 East Brother.

People’s Choice

Tied at 2-2, the Championship title awaits the winner of the People’s Choice. Let’s check out the results.

Poll results: Hop & Barrel 22% and East Brother 78%.

East Brother nation have been a force throughout the tournament, and today is no different. Running total: Hop & Barrel 2-3 East Brother.

Results

And that’s a wrap. 62 brews entered and East Brother’s Festbier has emerged victorious. A huge congratulations to the California-based brewery.

Recognition is in order for our runner up, Hop & Barrel. They put together a great brew and it was a tight battle to the end.

Wrap up

Thanks to everyone who followed along with the tournament and voted for their favorite brews.

A massive thank you to all the partner breweries who put their faith in the tournament and made it the huge success it was. Here’s to an even bigger and better Master of Marzen in 2022!

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