A couple of weeks ago, my sister came to visit in Victoria. She stayed for about a week, and during that time we had many wondrous tasting experiences with our friends. One of these tasting sessions did not directly involve her, but instead our friend Stephen. Whilst browsing the liquor store together for something new to try, Stephen and I each decided to grab a different six-pack of honey beer. It was only natural that we would then do a tasting comparison!
I chose the Spinnakers Queen Bee Honey Kölsch, whilst Stephen chose the Whistler Bear Paw Honey Lager. Each beer was completely new to us, even if the breweries were not.
We started out by consuming a couple of our respective beverages, before pouring out a can of each into moderately reasonable tasting glasses. The following tasting notes for each beer were collected in a collaborative manner.
Spinnakers Honey Kölsch
Appearance: cloudy apple juice
Nose: hops, lemon candy
Palate: honeycomb, original cheerios
Finish: gentle hops, honeyed oats
Rating: 3/5 Good
Whistler Honey Lager
Appearance: bubbly dark orange
Nose: hops, cinnamon
Palate: fizzy, faint hops, water, lettuce?
Finish: faint hint of honey, bitter
Rating: 2/5 Okay
So there we have it, the clear winner is the Spinnakers Honey Kölsch! While perhaps not the most authentic tasting of North American kölschs, the honey aspect works well, and it is a good tasting beer. On the other hand, the Whistler Honey Lager tastes too much like a cheap macro lager that has had a tiny bit of honey added to it in order to add some semblance of flavour.
Finally, I have to nitpick on the supposed volume of the Spinnakers beer can. The can claims to be 355ml (12oz) but when I poured it into the 330ml Stella Artois glass, the entire contents came up to the 33cl line on the glass. Likely the Spinnakers can is actually smaller than it claims to be, or (though far more unlikely) the Stella glass is actually larger than it purports to be. I suspect the former to be true, since Spinnakers’ “pint” glasses are actually about 18oz, not 20oz. To be honest I didn’t measure the Whistler can for comparison, having simply picked up on this anomaly by accident.