Thimble Island Windjammer Wheat
Plastic sample cup, 4.8% ABV
Sampled at the brewery, Branford
Updated, April 2017
It’s the summer and that means it’s time for the annual roll-out of wheat beers. This is a wholly unexciting thing for me, but I do appreciate easy-drinking low-alcohol summer beers. Hell, they don’t even have to super flavorful to be good.
But it’s not like I’m going to go out of my way to go find and drink the latest wheat offering – from even the best breweries. The discernible difference between a good wheat beer and a great wheat beer is pretty thin.
I happened to find myself on I-95 in Branford on a recent Sunday afternoon, so I made a quick detour off the highway to get some gas. Oh, and some of the new Thimble Island offerings.
I’ve always liked Thimble Island, and I had 20 minutes and I needed gas and… oh who am I kidding? This was part of my plan on my way to an event in Guilford all along.
It’s nice that almost all of Connecticut’s breweries are close to highways.
The new OEC in Oxford certainly isn’t and the “opening soon” Kent Falls Brewery in Kent sure won’t be, but other than that… most are easily accessed.
UPDATE: OEC and Kent Falls are still off the beaten path, but they are no longer anomalies. When I read these old beer reviews, they often make me cringe for one reason or another.
Anyway, Thimble Island has grown immensely in its first few years and they’ve bottled the Windjammer this summer for the first time. I was curious about it now, so I bought a bottle. ($1.99, Harvest Country Store, West Hartford)
It’s still a wheat beer and it’s still a good wheat beer. Recently, a clickbaity site called PUNCH published an article bemoaning the idea that “beer geeks don’t like wheat beers.” I usually discount such things, but I read this one. I wanted some insight into this phenomenon, which is generally somewhat true.
The Windjammer is a good beer. I drank the bottle I bought on a very, very hot day and it was perfect. Sure, it’s not the most flavorful beer, or the most exciting, but it’s not meant to be.
I’ve come to like American wheat ales. It’s those “classic” German/Czech ones I can do without. Now, back to the original stuff I wrote in 2014.
2017 UPDATE to the UPDATE: It happened! I bought a beer for the purposes of updating a review that I forgot I had previously purchased to update the review. That’s really my only update, other than to say that this beer is better than it’s ever been. Flavorful and crisp, Thimble Island has nailed this style.
Now back to the old stuff.
Thimble Island Says:
Nothing I can find
I forget what the dude pouring for me said about the Windjammer Wheat. This was well-made and light and refreshing. It was good. Quite good, in fact. But that’s all relative when we’re talking wheat beers.
A windjammer is a type of sailing ship from back in the day. These were the monstrous bad boys with steel hulls and 3 to 5 giant masts. The kings of the sea before we figured out wind power just wasn’t cutting it anymore.
There’s a whole thing about where the phrase “windjammer” came from and how “jam” is etymologically a German and/or Dutch word meaning “to wail.” And since these giant ships with their giant sails “wailed” in the wind, it made sense.
Except it was made up. “Windjammer” is of English derivation and it was named that simply because the giant sails “jammed” the wind. (By the way, in Vietnamese to “cjum” which sounds close to “jam” and which I’ve spelled terribly wrong, means to “dip” like you would “cjum” your Cha giò in your nuoc mam. I’ve always liked the sound of that word.)
I’m rambling. Even more than I usually do.
Thimble Island is a good brewery that makes some excellent beers. If you’re into wheat beer, this is a good one.
Rating vs. Similar style: