Without going too far out on a limb, I predict that the winners of today’s contest will be at least 75% satisfied.
That’s because the prizes in question come from Honey Stinger, and of the four products I had the opportunity to sample, three of them were delightful; the fourth one, not so much. Then again, your tastes may vary from mine, and you could get 100% enjoyment out of them - but we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here. First let’s get to the review.
Honey Stinger is a sports nutrition company based in Steamboat Springs, Colo, that has developed a fairly diverse line of honey-based products using all-natural and organic ingredients. Since their inception they’ve sponsored cyclists, runners, and triathletes, and in early 2010, they turned quite a few heads by welcoming Lance Armstrong to their ownership team.
Armstrong’s influence is evident in Honey Stinger’s most distinctive product: an organic energy waffle inspired by a traditional Dutch pastry enjoyed by cyclists throughout Europe for many years. The stroopwafel originated in the Netherlands over 200 years ago, and consists of two thin layers of baked batter with a syrup filling. They’re sold by sidewalk vendors and are a longtime favorite of touring cyclists looking for a quick boost of energy.
Honey Stinger’s version comes in three flavors: original, vanilla, and a new strawberry flavor released this fall. I received a batch of vanilla and strawberry waffles for family sampling during a couple of long geocache hikes, and my kids absolutely went wild for them. I really like the taste as well; they remind me of a softer, sweeter Pop Tart, which used to be one of my favorite cheap breakfasts back in college (I liked the unfrosted kind, and didn’t bother to heat them). They make a nice diversion from traditional energy bars – and if that isn’t enough to impress you, rumor has it that Lance rides with these in his back pocket. In case that matters.
I was also impressed with Honey Stinger’s Rocket Chocolate energy bars, which are made with 30% honey and contain 10g of protein each, along with 22 vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and calcium. These are great for the middle of a long bike ride, but I also used them as a post-run snack. They have a nice chewy texture and a very pleasant chocolate taste – certainly more than I expected from a honey-based product. I suspect my kids would have agreed also … except that I didn’t share these items with them. Being the blog owner has its privileges.
Before you feel too sorry for them, the family also got to sample two varieties of organic energy chews, in lime-ade and pink lemonade flavors. These are the Honey Stinger equivalent of CLIF Bloks or GU Chomps, but they are slightly smaller and their texture is much softer, making them easier to chew than those other brands. Our family’s consensus was that the lime-ade flavor is decent, but the real star is the pink lemonade. It’s a unique variety among any other energy chews we’ve tried – Honey Stinger also has other unusual flavors like fruit smoothie and pomegranate passion fruit - and the taste is a nice balance of tart and sweet. They were voted a close second behind the strawberry waffles as our favorite Honey Stinger product.
The only disappointment in the group was Honey Stinger energy gels, but that may be partially due to the fact that I only tested one flavor. I sampled the ginseng flavor, and found it to have a strongly bitter aftertaste that was very unpalatable. I first tested these on a long run with my wife, and just to confirm my initial reaction, I asked her to taste the same pack I had just opened. She hated it as well; honestly, the taste was so bad that we squirted the rest of the gel pack onto the ground.
Honey Stinger gels come in five flavors, and I suspect that the banana or strawberry flavors might not have as strong an aftertaste as the ginseng ones we tested, but that’s just a hypothesis. These honey-based gels have a thinner consistency than regular energy gels, so they would be easy to dissolve in a bottle of water as some runners and cyclists like to do – that would probably dilute the aftertaste as well.
So there’s the lineup, and here’s the contest: in conjunction with this review, Honey Stinger will provide three winners with a sample pack of the products I’ve described here. Quantities and flavors may vary depending on availability, but you’ll get a good cross-section of what the company has to offer – and obviously, I highly recommend the waffles. Leave a comment below this post to enter, and three winners will be chosen at random and announced on Saturday.
If you can’t wait that long, here are product links for purchase from Amazon.com:
Honey Stinger organic strawberry energy waffle - 16-pack for $22.50.
Honey Stinger Rocket Chocolate energy bars - 15-pack for $20.
Honey Stinger pink lemonade organic energy chews - 12-pack for $17.
Honey Stinger energy gel assortment pack - 24-pack for $27.
Big thanks to Honey Stinger for sponsoring this contest, and good luck to everybody!
*Products provided by Honey Stinger. Affiliate sales support Running and Rambling.
**See other product reviews on sidebar at right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get updates as soon as they're posted! Click here to subscribe to Running and Rambling.
Check out the Running Life book for a collection of our most popular columns.