What began as a quest to pit West-end lagers against each other (like I did when I looked for West Toronto’s best IPA) sprawled into a city-wide search for a lager that could even come close to Burdock’s Deluxe. It crushed anything I tasted it against on the West side, even old favourites like Henderson’s Food Truck, or downtown’s Amsterdam 3 Speed. It was in a league of it’s own, at least this side of Bathurst. Thus, it was time to hop on the bike and head to a place you’re not very likely to find me.

Fast forward a 25km round-trip ride, and I returned home with my prize, the potential Burdock beater — Godspeed Brewery’s Sklepnik (the version I tasted was the Stainless steel Edition). Like the Deluxe on the West, the Sklepnik had developed a reputation for excellence that was significant enough for me to hear rumors from the East. Further supporting my theory was the astoundingly high 3.94 Sklepnik Stainless rating on Untappd — edging out the also-very-high-for-a-lager 3.72 of Burdock’s Deluxe.

Let me get my bias out of the way first — I’m a diehard Burdock fan. Have been since I interviewed their founder Matt nearly a decade ago, when Burdock had only been open for a few months. I didn’t want that bias creeping into what I knew would be a tight race so I did the only reasonable thing — roped my wife into administering a blind taste test.

(Please ignore the upside down sleep mask). Without further ado, here’s the results of Burdock’s Deluxe vs. Godspeed’s Sklepnik:

Burdock Deluxe Golden Lager: 9/10

Good God damn this is a fine beer. I think for a lager, a style I find simple and enjoyable (kinda like a summer Blockbuster, decent but far from awe inspiring) this beer is certainly a 10. In my blind tasting I was absolutely certain I was tasting the Godspeed, because the texture and effervesence were so lush I really felt this must be a Czech-inspired beer.

As for taste, it is delightfully sweet — not corn-syruply punishing like a Bud, more like homemade bread. There was a lovely grain flavour, extremely clean, with just a smooch of bitterness to add a backbone of complexity to the project. The finish is brief, and beckons you to take a sip again. Overall, the flavour profile is subtle and light, perfect for a Helles. Great damn beer, as soon to impress your lager-raised Pa as it is to satisfy your craft-pilled snob.

Godspeed Brewery’s Sklepnik (Stainless Edition): 8.9999999 (repeating of course)/10

I was as certain the Sklepnik was the Deluxe as vice versa. Why? Because it was so friggin’ good. On first sip, I knew this taste testing was gonna be brutal. Lovely texture, though perhaps not as lush as the Deluxe. Despite being a pilsner (a variety of lager I’d expect to lean more bitter), the Skepnik actually tasted comparitively less bitter. Not too sweet, it was an extremely well balanced beer.

While malt-forward, it still had a je ne c’est quois of something herbal. Also extremely subtle, the Sklepnik weighs in at feather weight with only 4.4%ABV, and it tasted every bit the light, warm weather day beer it is. Delicious.

Winner of Burdock’s Deluxe vs. Godspeed’s Sklepnik

Let’s be real — it’s a tie. But since I abhor cop-outs, I went back to my own Untappd, to see what I rated these beers the first time I ever tried them. Results: Deluxe 4.25, Sklepnik 4. Thus, with enormous reluctance (and an awareness of my bias) I give the nod to Burdock.

But trust me, if you have even a slight affinity for light, European-style lagers, run — don’t walk — to try ’em both. These beers are definitely worth sipping slow.