Brew Review

Beer Review – Karl Strauss – Windansea Wheat Hefeweizen


On a trip to San Diego, we stopped at one of the six Karl Strauss Brewing Company restaurants and I opted for the sampler. The first selection was the Woodie Gold. The second was the Windansea Wheat Hefeweizen.

From the Karl Strauss site.
“In the world of unfiltered wheat beers, what sets Windansea Wheat Hefeweizen apart is perfectly clear. We use a centuries-old pure strain of Bavarian yeast known for producing unique banana, clove, and vanilla flavors during fermentation. A mix of pale barley, white wheat, and Tettnanger hops gives the beer a full refreshing taste with no need for an orange or lemon.”

The Windansea has the following characteristics

  • Appearance: Cloudy, orange color. Good foam. A lot of lacing.
  • Aroma: A wheat and clove scent.
  • Taste: Medium carbonation with a thick mouthfeel. Full body with a citrusy flavor leading to a mild finish.
  • ABV: 5.1%

When sampling a craft brew, I try to pick a quality name product that the brewer is attempting to replicate. In this case, Karl Strauss may have been aiming for a Hoegaarden but made something a little closer to Michelob’s Shock Top.

11 replies »

  1. “….. aiming for a Hoegaarden but made something a little closer to Michelob’s Shock Top” ….. I just threw up in my mouth a little.

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      • Have not tried this Shock Top stuff. Not exactly a beer name that says “drink me”. Then again… I have a bottle of Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball in the fridge. That sounds kinda scary, but Lagunitas is a quality brewer that rarely steers me wrong, so I tend to give them a bit more leeway.

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  2. I love and drink Karl’s Hefenweizen BECAUSE stuff like shocktop and hogaarden are soooo thin and shallow.

    I actually will never order another …. I’ve tried it too many times hoping it would taste a little better (shock). I love the little orange mohawk guy.. but the beer just sucks.

    More power to ya if you like a thin hallow wisp of something that wishes it was beer, but if you want a good mouthful of more body and much more dynamic flavors Karl’s is the one. I’d say Franziskaner is much closer to Karl’s if you are looking for some bottles in mass production, but Karl’s really has more flavor still. Too bad they don’t bottle it.

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    • The orange Mohawk guy is a nice package. But Michelob and craft beer are sort of a contradiction in terms.

      The whole gamut of Shock Tops, Hoegaarden and the like just aren’t for me. That’s what is so great about beer. What you might love, others don’t and vice versa.

      And, I agree it is too bad that Karl Strauss doesn’t distribute.

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  3. Windansea from Karl Strauss is the best american hefewizen I have ever tasted. Better than Pyramid, Widmer even Shock Top.

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    • Perhaps, I came off a little too dismissive in my review. The Windansea is as you suggest a great American hefeweizen. But, it is still an American hefeweizen. We have a long way to go to match our German cousins.

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