Duckpin Pale Ale | Union Craft Brewing Company

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Duckpin Pale AleDuckpin Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Union Craft Brewing Company
Maryland, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by yourefragile on 07-05-2012

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Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 396
Photo of BEERchitect
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

They're pulling that old homebrew trick- the one where you make an IPA but you enter it into an American Pale Ale competition catagory, because you know that the IPA is more flavorful and seductive that Pale Ale, so you know you'll win, right? But Union Craft Brewing is actually on the right track. Where that might not go over on the homebrew circuit, our palates are trending hoppier and hoppier. So the more that you make you Pale Ale taste like IPA the more fanfare they'll likely receive. After all, consumers are not judges.

Regardless, the "Pale Ale" kicks off with a deep goldenrod hue that approaches light amber through its center. A mid-statured column of foam builds upon the beer and easily lasts the session even after receding to a sheet across the glass. Lacing with ladder-like patterns- there's nothing to the beer's appearance that suggests anything other than a well built Pale Ale.

And then the nose reaches the rim and everything changes. The citrus mounts, and mounts, and mounts- grapefruit everywhere, orange peels everywhere, grass and pine everywhere. So where's the malt balance? Its props up the hops with notions of graham cracker, caramel and light biscuit. Light stems, leaves and bark-like scents are perfumy yet piquant and seems a little lemony, tea-like, kinda like sassafras.

Similarly in taste, the malt focus is early and short- caramel and toasted grain gives a hearty sweetness. That is, until the hops rise in the middle. The sharp and tangy taste of white grapefruit, unripened oranges and lime peels goes all bitter in a hurry- ushering in a fast finish with a stemmy, dry resin, and acutely bitter finish. Its vegetative taste is just as characterful as its smooth bitterness as the hops trail in memory.

Even its malty-dry texture is more testament to India Pale versions that that of the maltier American Pales. Its creamy carbonation separates early and leads to a resinous-dry finish, but first it leaves a watery draw between. Mostly clean, crisp and refreshing; the ale pierces the gullet with glimpses of hop-derived astringency and assertive bite.

Duckpin Pale Ale is a rewarding taste for those who prefer the taste and balance of American IPA but with the body and semi-sessionability of standard Pale. Its light body exposes some earthy qualities, however I tend to celebrate such rustic and raw qualities.

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Photo of jlindros
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light fizzy head, mostly clear pale slight amber colored

Nose nice floral fruity hops, some tropical fruit nice citrus like tangerine and hint of tropical passion fruit, etc. Light sweet malty base.

Taste nice hops again, citrus, bit of tropical fruit, some grapefruit, hint of passion fruit and musty fresh slightly resinous hops, fair bitterness, a bit of leafy grassy fresh hops. Mild sweet malt base. Finish is dry and quite bitter starting to get astringent, but nice lingering citrus hops, orange, grapefruit, etc.

Mouth is med bodied, decent carb.

Overall great beer, great hops that balance well with the malts. Nice citrus, tropical fruit characters, good resin, great flavors when fresh. The first time I had this it was fresh and delicious, then I had it again in 2 other bars with varying degrees of success, you can tell how well a bar treats the beer and how fresh it is.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Once more, the indomitable tone77, my local, in-person trader, comes through with some CANs that I had not even heard of before he dropped the off in furtherance of The CANQuest (TM)!

Does anyone else remember Duckpins and Dollars on WBAL-TV (Ch. 11) from Bawlmer, hon? How about CAPT Chesapeake? We were too poor to afford cable when I was a kid, so we had an antenna and rabbit ears and picked up Balto with no problem. I shared this with John Waters when I met him for the first time, in Harrisburg. He threw back his head and remarked that Balto was affecting little kids in PA without even knowing about it, or words to that effect. My brother and my best friend's brother were the big Balto fans when we were growing up, but my Mom-Za did grad school work at Johns Hopkins and my aunt lives in DC and hooked me up with a colleague who was a beer vendor at Memorial Stadium later Camden Yards. As such, I am more connected to Bawlmer than I would have ever imagined, knowing the curator at the Babe Ruth Biramythplace and Museum as well as the BAL and MD Hall of Fame. A picture exists of me holding the Super Bowl V trophy when room to publicly exhibit it did not exist and it was mouldering in a museum basement. I still hate the Browvens as a lifelong Stillers fan, but Balto is always a good, wild time. Onward!

From the CAN: "Smooth & Hoppy [...] That's How We Roll"; "A Baltimore Original"; "Stay Out of the Gutter Recycle This CAN"; "This generously hopped pale ale is a strike in your mouth! Brewed with lots of Pacific Northwest and Southern Hemisphere hops, this beer is ten frames of big citrus and tropical fruit aroma and flavor. A strong malt backbone rounds it out and makes this pale ale a delight for the senses. The pins may be small but the flavor is huge! In our town, we roll Duckpin - a true Baltimore original."

Jesus! The Crack revealed a CAN so brimful that there was a) no headspace and b) a spritz across my fingers as a result. I began with an inverted Glug, but I had to back off as the French Vanilla-colored head threatened to overflow the lip of the glass. Upon settling, I had two-plus fingers of head with a creamy aspect to them. Color was a deep-golden shade (SRM = > 7, ~ 9) and as the triumvirate of Mammon, Midas and Croesus fought over a sip, I took note of its clarity. I would like to be able to say "bright" since I could see through it, but it had a slight haze that prevents me from saying so. Nose smelled like fresh tropical fruit. I do not know if they still make Tropical Fruit Life Savers, but they, along with Clove Life Savers, were my favorite as a kid. I would tear back the roll to expose each of the five flavors and pop one of each in my mouth to really get a kicky taste. Man, the nose on this took me back - mango, papaya, a slight earthiness, wow! I remember a chica in Trinidad that tasted like this smelled, perhaps as proof that you are what you eat. She subsisted on a diet of fruit, vegetables and seafood and was probably one of the healthiest people with whom I have come in contact. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was really earthy and fruity! Holy ... The CAN mentioned "citrus and tropical fruit" and I will grant you tangerines and grapefruit, especially on the finish, but the initial taste was of mangoes and papayas. Wow. Finish was dry, but not like gasping, fish out of water, asthma attack dry. Instead, it was a reminder that I had had liquid in my mouth and now it was gone. Just dry enough to pull me out my reverie. It certainly meets the Cooler Question criteria and especially if I were going bowling, to play bocce or even croquet. I also want to give a nod to "The Duckpin", a former squeeze in San Francisco who was built like one. She had not heard the term before I gave her the sobriquet, but she was very happy with it.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Can. Orange body with hints of amber and a half inch of head. Citrusy aroma with a touch of grass. Mild earthy character with cracker & biscuit malt notes. Fairly balanced, in favor of hops. Juicy and relatively light in body with zesty carbonation. Decent.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.27/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the can into a nonic pint glass.

A bit lifeless looking here. Dull. Murky amber yellow and brown, with barely one finger of off white colored head presented. Manages to settle and leave a pencil thin collar and puck. Not very good looking brew.

Nose though impresses with a big 180. Lots of pineapple and fruit hop action. Clean and juicy smelling with a nice sweetness and citrus aroma. Very nice and unexpected.

Aroma doesn't quite seem to translate into an enjoyable palate. Chalky feeling palate with a dirt and earth bitterness. Faint hint of mint on the swallow on the hop realm, but this is quite watery and wet for even a pale ale. Malt depth non existent on the mid palate. Quite carbonated mouthfeel a bit and nearly seltzery.

Not sure what happened here the beer has a great bouquet too bad it just didn't translate on the palate.

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Photo of Gavage
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: clear orange with a fluffy 3" head.

Smell: mild citrus and floral tones rise from the glass.

Taste: caramel, orange, lemon zest, and some floral hop bitterness make up the main flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp at the start, less crisp at the finish. Short lasting aftertaste,

Overall: a decent pale ale with a nice flavor profile.

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Photo of tone77
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a dark golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell of citrus and hops. Taste is very good, lots of citrus, hops, a strong malt backbone, tasty and disappearing fast. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a fine beer.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Max's Taphouse, on to the beer:

This pale ale light orange colored, topped with a half-inch of head, and leaves good creamy lacing around. Good things come to those who smell, and I smell pleasing crisp pine, cantaloupe, and honeydew in this one. The beer is plenty hoppy alright, but the beer also doesn't go overboard with the lupulins and is extremely refreshing. Somewhat light in the mouth, this beer brings pine, melon, honeydew and light dry biscuits notes to my palate, allowing them to sing and replenish from the brutal summer heat of Baltimore. There's quality in Duckpin Pale Ale.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Received this beer in a great trade with DeutschesBier.. Thanks a bunch Clint!! Glad we crossed paths!!

Pours fairly clear straw golden ... short lived white head leaves pretty good lacing.

Big citrus for a standard pale ale with a lightly balanced pale malt presence... Smells great.

Flavor mirrors the nose with an extremely drinkable well balanced pale ale... nice citrus and perfect bitterness.

Body is a good light/medium... carbonation is light/medium... very quaffable.


Thanks again to Clint for a great trade!!

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Photo of yourefragile
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Metropolitan.

Pours a hazed golden orange with a thick creamy head that fades to a thin collar and beautiful intricate webs of lace. Well balanced nose of pale and biscuit malt, NZ hops, lemon, citrus resin and grass. Medium thick creamy and chewy body, well carbonated with an aggressive dry and mildly bitter finish. Flavor starts with a strong earthy and grain presence before blending with citrus rind and resiny hops. Mildly tropical fruit sweetness mid palate, but the earthy and resiny flavors dominate. A more traditional APA than the recent trend of APAs that are actually IPAs. On par with DC Brau's Public (I might prefer this on first impression) and will be a vital local beer once it starts getting canned.

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Photo of John_M
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Hudson St. Stackhouse today.

The beer pours a slightly hazy, peachy amber color with good head retention and lacing. The beer certainly looks attractive enough. I don't pick up a whole lot in the nose... just some sweet malt and some light, underlying dry citrus. The beer smells as if it might be on the malty/sweet side. On the palate, the beer is much better, as there's a nice dollop of perfumy, hoppy bitterness to buoy the malty sweetness. The flavor profile is pretty interesting, as initially the beer seems fairly malty/sweet, but then the hoppy bitterness comes on strong, leading to a dry, bitter finish. It gives the beer something of a layered flavor profile (not a bad thing). Mouthfeel is medium bodied at most, but with a long, hoppy bitter, slightly spicey finish. Alcohol is no more than an after thought in this well crafted pale ale.

This is really quite tasty. Well done!

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Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clearish golden body with two finger head that died quick with minor lace. Soft, balanced aroma of both citric hops and some fruit and malt sweetness, although not as much caramel malt as a tropical fruit essence. Beer is light and smooth, but not watery, and the hops are evident and provide a crisp finish but I really enjoy the sweetness in this beer (again, something like tropical fruits). A simple but real enjoyable beer.

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Photo of rudzud
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to JLindros for sharing this.

A - Poured into a tulip a crystal clear honey hue with a light thin white head that fades to leave a thin halo and lacing.

S - Aromas of very fresh grains, fresh hops nice citrus, faint tropical notes like mango, light sweet malts. Very inviting.

T - Taste is nice and clean/crisp with more of those good grains, light bubblegum notes faint citrus peel, very light tropical notes. Quite clean and drinkable with solid balance.

M - Mouthfeel is quite nice and super drinkable.

O - Overall this was a pleasant surprise. Glad to try...mmm I love fresh beers.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce can I got from a good buddy...Robert A. Thanks!

I could smell the pine as soon as I pulled the tab on the can. It's a slightly hazy honey gold colour with a firm 1" head of foam. It started off bigger but refuses to get smaller.

Smell? I already covered that above. ;^)

The taste is as piney as any I've had in a Pale Ale with more than a hint of some tropical fruit going on in the background. I get a bit of bready malt but nothing that I would remotely call sweet. As in sugary sweet, not as in sweeeet, this brew is good.

Perfecto mouthfeel, this is one heck of a delicious hop forward Pale Ale!

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Photo of Immortale25
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Spiegelau glass. No freshness date.

A- Pours and orangeish amber color with a 1/2 inch off-white head that retains well before becoming thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing.

S- Sweet, citrusy hop aroma that's slightly musty.

T- Soft hop flavor with a moderate bitterness and a sturdy, bready malt base. The hops beat out the malt but not by much since this is a very juicy, hop-forward IPA.

M- A bit thin which is its only real downfall. Medium carbonation and a lightish body.

O- Great pale ale by a brewery I've never heard of before. Would be interested in trying some of their other offerings.

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Photo of maximum12
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thank to Lucular for this 12 oz. can, my first taste of Duckpin. After all the big, dark, barrelly shit from last night, I’m ready for something light & airy.

The pour is light orange with plenty of pop. Nose boasts a bit of grapefruit, fruitiness, sweet malt. Not much to delve into.

Duckpin Pale doesn’t bring any superlatives to mind, it’s the epitome of a hopped-up pale. Nice hop bite, light trade winds fruitiness, backup of sweet malt. Easy to drink.

I have almost nothing to say about this; routinely pretty good.

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Photo of mynie
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Excellent APA pour. Medium hazy orange-amber with a white head.

Smells of large, bright west coast hops against a malt that is either English or English-inspired. This is a straight APA, in spite of its relatively high IBU level.

Tastes like it smells, only not quite as well balanced. Bright hops start things out, with nodes of pine and spice, moving into a malt profile that is as first lightly fruity and but ends with sweet toffee nodes. The toffee and pine clash just a wee bit at the back end, but the profile is quite pleasant overall.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clearish amber color. The head is a finger high with a shade that's barely off-white. Not much in the way of retention - it fades to a thin film rather rapidly. At least there are some streaks of lacing left on the glass.

S: Some of the citrusy and even tropical fruit hops come out pretty well - it's not an explosive hop aroma, but it's a good one. Also piny in spurts. Like most pale ales, malts appear with notes of caramel and even some sugary wisps.

T: This is a decent mix of tropical/herbaceous/piny hops (I'm even getting those high falutin' Galaxy hops, which I love) and candy-like malts. Hops on the front end, malts near the finish. I wish the tropical notes were more vivid - they're kind of getting lost within the more generic grapefruit and caramel tones. Still, this is a very good pale ale that I'm not getting tired of drinking (if I ever get tired of drinking a single pale ale, then we have serious problems!)

M: A gentle lingering sweetness helps make this crisp, clean brew quite refreshing. Honestly, it starts to linger a bit strongly after a while. Take that out of the equation and the feel is very nice: carbonation is just right, fullness of the body is just right, and the finishing dryness is just right.

O: My buddy Nick swears by this beer as "his Bud Light". I know for a fact I'd much rather drink this over Bud Light (other things I'd rather be doing than drinking Bud Light also include stapling my ear to a wall, taking a kick to the groin, and bathing in cement). Still, this is a very good and very quaffable local pale ale - and as we all know, local equals good, except when it's not. As I continue to drink it, it just seems to get better and better; hell, I'm just done finishing my second can in this session.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz can courtesy of mwrecording pours a hazed copper collar with a creamy cap of foam that leaves sheets of lace, pretty nice...

Nose is caramel malts and light herbal hops. Leans malty with some nutty yeast.

Taste flashes some toasted malt first and finishes bitter and leafy. Not much hop flavor and the yeast is definitely apparent. Mouthfeel is fine, though a little astringent. Just ok.

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Photo of Florida9
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Clear golden in color. Forms a minimal white head. Decent retention. Minimal lacing.

S: Pleasant aroma. Very hop forward, but still restrained. Mostly citrus: grapefruit and orange with some light pine notes to round things out.

T: Taste is similar, but not as well developed in the hop department. Grainy malts with just a touch of caramel. Grapefruit and grapefruit pith. Some mild pine and. There is also a bit of a tropical fruit sweetness to the beer.

M: On the lighter side of medium. Appropriate carbonation. Medium bitterness. Slightly grainy mouthfeel.

O: A very respectable APA. Easily drinkable and at 5.5% its a sessionable beer as well.

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Photo of ckollias
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed this beer on tap at Buffalo Wild Wings in College Park, MD out of a pint glass.

A: Pours a golden hue with a nice white head that leaves a decent trail and ends in a wispy lace.

S: Hoppy aroma with hints of citrus.

T: Tart and hoppy aroma that finishes on the bitter side.

M: Medium carbonation and medium body.

O: Really good pale ale – I would grab this again.

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Photo of reebtaerG
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on cask at Lures

A-Clear, medium amber with an off-white head and excellent lacing.

S-Hoppy aroma of pineapple, fruity hops and caramel.

T-Taste of fruity hops, pineapple, citrus, caramel, tropical fruit more hops.

M-Nice mouthfeel with medium body and medium/high carbonation.

O-This was my first time having Union. Nice job, curious how the others are?

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Foggy gold in color. Frothy off-white, almost beige head leaves a nice film all the way to the bottom.

Smells of very pale malts. A nice toasted bread aroma. A little bit of resin and citrus.

Some crisp, spicy hops up front that have more feel than flavor. Followed by very soft, light and fluffy pale malts. A little bit of pine, pineapple, grapefruit. Finishes with solid bitterness and some lingering resinous oils

Overall, a pretty good pale ale and enjoyable beer. Could use a little more popping flavor.

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Photo of bluehende
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I really like this one. Hoppier than most pales and borders on a low alcohol IPA. If they marketed this as a session IPA they would be closer to the truth. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

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Photo of HeartofMiami
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Thanks to a buddy who picked it up fresh from Baltimore. Can into snifter. Look and smell of a good IPA. Dank, grass, citrus. Nice carbonation. Taste is flat, falls off. Very little flavor. A hint of lime, grass. Caramel finish. Glad I got to try but not my favorite.

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Duckpin Pale Ale from Union Craft Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 396 ratings.
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