Thimble Island Brewing Company
16 Business Park Dr
Branford, CT 06405
Hours: Sunday: 12-7PM Monday: 3-8PM Tuesday: 3-8PM Wednesday: 3-8PM Thursday: 3-8PM Friday: 12-10PM Saturday: 11AM-10PM
Thimble Island Brewery was the first brewery I had ever visited. I had just started drinking and a friend had a GroupOn. This was long before they were in their current location. Back then, Thimble Island was a tiny brewery in a big storage unit and even then they always felt like one of the top contenders in the local brewery scene. A “tour” consisted of walking into a small room with a few tanks and listening to someone lecture you. You’d be taken into the next room, which was also the back of the bar, where they’d quickly school you on their bottling machine before bringing you back up front to partake in some tasters. Now, in 2018, Thimble Island Brewing Company is the largest self-distributing microbrewery in the state. Their whole story can be found on their website.
Pulling off Rte.1 in Branford takes you into somewhat of an industrial park, but not the abandoned factory kind where so many breweries are popping up. This is next level stuff. You pull into the parking lot, walk by the food truck, and enter the building. It’s a big tasting room, with a bar to the right and quite a lot of seating to the left. This is a big time operation now. Coincidentally enough, we had a GroupOn again! We ordered our flights and were disappointed to find out there were no available seats…until we were told about the backroom! We took our drinks and made our way to the back. It was an enormous 1500 sq/ft hall filled with tables. It is available for rental to host events (rates can be found on ThimbleIslandBrewery.com). We sat down with our beer, and one glass of wine, and struck up conversation. With my short attention span, I knew the conversation was going to wane quickly so I suggested we find some board games. They had a few options in the corner of the front tasting room next to an arcade game. Behind us was Cornhole, but it was folded up in the corner and I didn’t feel like setting it up.
With way too many beer options to try them all, I opted for the ones that came with the GroupOn deal–Ghost Island, Thimble Lager, Coffee Stout, and American Ale. According to my Untappd account, I found all to be between 2.5 – 3 out of 5 stars. That’s a pretty solid score from me, most above average. At this point, empty stomachs and decently high ABVs led to tensions running high in the group. The only way to fix the issue was to drink more, but you guys already knew that, right!? I went back up and ordered a M.A.D. Russian Imperial Stout, and you guessed it. My favorite of the evening, scoring a 3.25 out of 5 on my Untappd. It probably deserved a little higher of a rating because the ABV was 11%, but again, I was quite a few drinks in.
Growlers and Crowlers are available, as well as merch! They do offer brewery tours on the weekends:
Saturdays at 12, 2, and 4PM
Sundays at 1, 3, and 5PM
The food truck outside probably would have been worth a stop, but feeling pressed for time we went directly into the brewery. At one point, one of our friends was able to score free samples off of the truck, which were delicious.
I will definitely be returning to try the rest of the beer options I missed and maybe delve a little deeper into their board game collection, but I think I’ll wait until the next event they host. Of course, if anyone just wants to go drink a beer, I probably wouldn’t say no.
Activities: Cornhole, Boardgames, Arcade Games
Brewery Tours: Yes