Castle Island Brewing Co.

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Pale Ale - American
Ranked #317
Ranked #9,409
3.98 | pDev: 9.05%
Castle Island Brewing Co.
Massachusetts, United States
Very Good
Notes: A Session Ale. We designed Candlepin to be the ultimate lawnmower beer: tons of flavor from generous doses of Citra and Columbus, yet remarkably sessionable thanks to its relatively low alcohol content.
Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 163 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SierraNevallagash
SierraNevallagash from Maine

3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pint can - dated 3/19/19 - poured into a Scottish tulip at 42F. Thank you to my friend and coworker Bill for surprising me with some caned gifts from a trip to his hometown of Norwood. Cheers Bill!

Pours a deep golden straw hue, on the edge of clear and hazy (clear for a new age IPA, but I'd be terrified if my water looked like this. A weak, half-finger of snow white head firms, before quickly receding to a film and collar. Sparse, random spotting.

Nose: Lots of dry-hopped Citra notes. Grapefruit, orange, mango, papaya, and pineapple. Citrusy and juicy, but not pungent or leaping out in any way. Some light toasted grain notes, along with a malt roundness. Ultra-clean ale yeast. Smells like a good modern hoppy ale, with identifiable Citra, and some influence from Columbus. Some drier, greener, Frasier notes.

Palate: A delightful wave of dry ale washes over, and the lack of sweetness is incredibly refreshing, snd let's the hops sort of sing above everything, rather than become embedded into the whole thing. The hopping is adequate, with lots of bright, shiny, citrus notes, and just this phenomenal West Coast pine influence, which works beautifully with the subtle caramel malt that peeks through. It's clearly a session ale, and it's just so incredibly light and airy. I despise the term "crushable", but I have to say, this is certainly the definitely. The hops fill in the small malt base gaps, and the malt base fills in any small hop gaps. It's heart and soul, a hoppy session ale. Beautiful integration of new and classic brewing methods. A proper ''session ale".

Mouthfeel/Body: The only real drawback to session beers is you take a huge risk in sacrificing body. Sometimes there are ways around it, but many times, it drinks a lite watery, like a Bud Light. This had a Bud Light body. It is a bit watery. There's enough flavour to provide some compensation, but a little more heft and weight wouldn't have hurt. But on the flipside, if you're going primarily for quick, easy drinkability, then you have it here, with top notch flavour to boot. Lots of mid-sized bubbles add to the real thirst quenching feel. Effervescent.

Overall: This really embodies what it means to be a hoppy session ale. It possesses every signature characteristic. It's expertly fermented, expertly hopped, and in all honesty, one of the most enjoyable sessions I can recall having. Sure, its a bit thin. It's meant to be, I guess. But when it tastes this good, feel matters less and less. Especially after you've downed four of these. Just an all around great session ale.

May 02, 2019
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis from North Carolina

3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a very lightly pale golden yellow in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising quickly from the bottom of the glass and moderate straw yellow + bright yellow + apricot colored highlights. The beer has a two finger tall sudsy foamy white head that quickly reduces to a large patch of slightly mottled very thin film covering the entire surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Just shy of moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Slightly stronger than moderate aromas of citrus/grapefruit, citrus/lemon, citrus/orange zest, citrus/grapefruit pith, and herbal hops over the top of light aromas of bready + grainy malts with a hint of grainy sweetness.

T: Upfront there are slightly heavier than light flavors of bready + grainy malts with a hint of grainy sweetness. That is followed by slightly stronger than moderate flavors of citrus/grapefruit, citrus/lemon, citrus/orange zest, citrus/grapefruit pith, and herbal hops which impart a light to moderate amount of lingering bitterness.

M: Slightly heavier than light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly crisp upfront with a hint of dryness in the finish. Slightly thin/watery.

O: Easy to drink with well hidden alcohol and light refreshing mouthfeel. Enjoyable with a pleasant hop profile. Could definitely have a couple of these.

Dec 30, 2018
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is relatively clear yellow in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high white head that settled down, leaving a patch of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge, and a thin film covering the remainder of the surface.
S: Moderate aromas of citrusy hops—lemons seem to stand out in particular— are present in the nose along with hints of herbal hops.
T: The taste follows the smell, having a tad bit stronger flavors of herbal hops towards the finish. There is a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels light to medium-bodied and a little crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This APA is definitely very sessionable given its lighter body and low alcohol content. It is extremely easy to drink.

Serving type: can

Sep 22, 2018
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives hazy and goldenstraw colored with a one finger head that leaves wisps of lacing

Smell: Tangerine and orange, with pithy tones

Taste: Some grainy malt at the outset, but the tangerine and orange tones arrive quickly, bringing a citrus element along with some pith in the middle; the finish is relatively dry with a return of some of the malt tones

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A very nice hoppy and sessionable pale ale that sails close to the IPA winds

Jul 01, 2018
Photo of Wapes
Wapes from Massachusetts

1.66/5  rDev -58.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Candlepin is the Worst beer ive ever had, schlitz included. Might be i got a bad batch, not sure. Cant believe this comes from the same brewery as Hi Def, which is great.

Dec 02, 2017
Photo of Holderness
Holderness from Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Canned ~5 weeks ago.

L — Pours an ever-so-slightly hazed pale orange with a two-finger white head produced with aerated pour. Good retention and some lacing
S — Grapefruit pith, pine, earth, grass, orange creamsicle, pineapple, and a bit of new sneaker smell
T — Mostly herbaceous, earthy, grassiness. Cracker malt profile. A touch of citrus pithiness, but that’s about it on the fruity end
F — Light mouthfeel, medium+ carb. Very low bitterness makes this a real easy drinker
O — Definitely a west-coast style session IPA. It drinks incredibly easy but unfortunately is fairly nondescript, save for the aromas


Oct 13, 2017
Photo of Antg8989
Antg8989 from New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Canned - 06-15-17 Picked Up At Roche Bros in Downtown Boston...No idea how this was sitting here for 2 months...anyway

Pours a light/medium bright gold with a thin white head. Not much lacing. Aroma is fresh/dewy with some citrus and pine notes. Taste is similar with a bready malt backbone. It's a little blander than the nose suggests. Feel is medium with medium carbonation and a rather dry finish. Overall, this is a great beer for a hot day - pretty damn refreshing and the 4.4 ABV is great for taking big sips. Just need to push the flavor profile a bit further and this could be a very good beer.

Aug 12, 2017
Photo of tigg924
tigg924 from Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours clear, gold in color with 1/4 inch head. Taste is mango, orange, cracker, and a touch of peach. Slightly bitter, medium-light bodied with moderate carbonation. Makes for an excellent sessionable beer. Loads of flavor for such a low abv. I will pick this up again.

May 21, 2017
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne from Rhode Island

4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On-tap 5/3/2017 at Greasy Luck Brewery in New Bedford, MA, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains citrus, grassy hops and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with a nice burst of grassy hops bitterness that is quickly followed by sweet flavors of citrus and caramel. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a long time.

May 04, 2017
Photo of digboy
digboy from New Hampshire

4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16 oz can canned on 8/9/16 (7 months old)

Pours a slightly hazy deep orange/gold color. Plenty of carbonation, thin off-white head. A vaguely tropical fruit aroma is there but weak. Taste is surprisingly tart like an orange rind - very interesting up front flavor - with some degree of cracker flavors behind it. Not too malty, moderately bitter. Feel is crisp and effervescent and a bit smooth and creamy. Well done in that regard I think.

Overall this is a very refreshing beer and one worthy of checking out. Nice sweet flavors blend well with the tartness. It is a profile I'm unfamiliar with but would love to see more of.

Mar 27, 2017
Photo of ScaryEd
ScaryEd from New Hampshire

3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy golden orange color with a huge soapy off-white head. The head is gone quickly and leaves minimal lacing.

The aroma is grassy and grainy, with a touch of orange and grapefruit. Back end smells like freshly baked dough, with a kiss of earthy pine.

The taste is citrusy and faintly bitter, with a strong backbone of crackers, biscuits, and cereal. The finish is subtly dank and resinous.

The feel is light bodied with moderate carbonation. Crisp, yet smooth, and exceptionally drinkable.

Overall, a good session ale that showcases the hops without detracting from the wonderful malt character. At $11 a 4-pack you can't go wrong.

Dec 23, 2016
Photo of cbutova
cbutova from Massachusetts

3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Tallboy cascades into a tulip glass with a slightly cloudy, pale golden yellow body. Atop the brew a frothy white crown forms to about half a finger with fair retention. Large webs of lace at the top lead into spotty patches below.

S- Citrus hops are the focus of the aroma with a bit of tropical fruit, pine and floral tones folded in. Tangerine, orange, mango, grapefruit and peach come to mind with cereal grains and yeast bread beyond that.

T- Despite the bright aroma, the flavors become a bit more muddled here with pale cracked grains coming out to the forefront and the hop profile shifting in balance. The hops become more floral and herbal with pine, citrus and stone fruits pushed the backdrop. For some reason it is much more difficult to pull out specific flavors compared with the aroma.

MF- A light and very crisp body. The carbonation is up toward a high level and it falls onto the palate with a silky, slightly creamy texture. Ends with a medium strength herbal bitterness.

A bright and really strong aroma falls a part a bit and the beer feels muddled more in the flavor. Certainly sessionable with a crisp and light, yet substantial body to support that. Drinkable without being thin.

Dec 09, 2016
Photo of ManapuaMan
ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a four pack from the brewery canned on 9/20. Figured I would get fresher beer onsite than what I could get at the store; not the case. Golden pour with a light head that lingers. Aroma of light citrus and grain. Taste is on the lighter side of hops and malt flavors - orange rind, lemon, melon and cracker and cereal. Easy drinking, light body, subdued flavor.

Nov 12, 2016
Photo of Jason
Jason from Massachusetts

4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine issue #112 (MAY 2016)

Citrus, Grass, Bitter, Dry
Dubbing this a “Hoppy Session Ale,” is smart, and Castle Island is thoughtful enough to know not to call this an IPA. Candlepin has some body for a beer that sits just over 4 percent ABV and it’s still dry and crisp enough to push the “session” term. The brewer shows a deft hand with generous amounts of Citra and Columbus hops. With such an aggressive hop character, I almost forgot this was a smaller beer. Lots of winning here, lots of winning. [Jason]

Look 4.00 | Smell 4.25 | Taste 4.00 | Feel 4.75 | Overall 4.25

Oct 14, 2016
Photo of Beric
Beric from Massachusetts

3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving: From the can
Served: August 2016

A quick informal review: I think that Candlepin is an accessible beer from a respectable brewery that isn't super broadly drunk here. Candlepin was a great session IPA/APA (however you want to brand it)- nice hop notes and actually some bitterness, which was refreshing. Crisp and clean. Light body. Very drinkable.

Sep 19, 2016
Photo of smm0589
smm0589 from Massachusetts

3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Yellow gold color. Smell is a bright citrus, but rather simple. Big bitter start but lacking malt balance or complexity. Similarly, the feel is super thin and watery. This is a session IPA to the extreme. Very little depth and overall feels pretty mediocre.

Aug 29, 2016
Photo of lic217
lic217 from Connecticut

4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: Long lasting white head that leaves ample lacing. It is yellow with a hint of orange and is crystal clear. 4.75
Aroma: Mild sweet malt and a big citrus hop punch and some slight spice. 4
Taste: Citrus, spice, pine are the dominant hop flavors. An almost slightly woody note appear at times, but not on every sip. Has a fruity malt sweetness in the middle but finishes dry and bitter. Nice bready malt as it warms. 4.25
Feel: Very drinkable, nice prickly carbonation, resiny coating in mouth after each sip. 4
Overall: A low ABV beer with some complexity. I think it could use a little more malt flavor, which would make the beer more enjoyable to me, but still a really nice beer. 4.25

Aug 21, 2016
Photo of OmahaKF
OmahaKF from Nebraska

4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Smell is a very nice hoppy and floral aroma, lots of pine, and a hint of bread or cracker. Taste is citrus and pine resin with a bready finish. Feels and tastes like a pale ale, not a session beer - very nice.

Jun 28, 2016
Photo of CNoj012
CNoj012 from New York

3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours a light golden color with a two finger white head. Smell is citrus up the wazoo. Grapefruit, lemon and tangerine with a slight hint bready malt. Taste is similar, but more balanced than the smell would lead you to believe. Feel is light and crisp. Overall good not great.

Jun 02, 2016
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great to see more new breweries in MA, brewed in Norwood, where I bowled from time to time, I bet I bowled with these guys at some point and never knew it. I hope they become successful.

Pours a decent fizzy foamy 1 finger head that fades at a med pace, touch of soapy lacing, slight hazy golden straw color.

Nose explode with citra, tons of tangerine and orange juice, a little pith and rind but mostly fresh squeezed juice, a generic sort of citrus and maybe even a little pink grapefruit, faint malt in the background, bright fresh hops that pop nicely. Well done so far.

Taste brings a little toasty creamy malt base, even a touch cracker biscuit, then quickly into citra and even some columbus hops, plenty of citrus up front, orange juice, tangerine flesh, a little pith but not really a bitter rind at all, a little spicy hop on the back end with even a touch of a minty character, generic citrus with more pith perhaps a grapefruit pith character. Finish is a bit drier, the bitterness ramps and gets pretty spicy and a bit earthy as the columbus seems to ramp up, and some bitter orange rind in there now.

Mouth is med bod, a little creamy, decent carb.

Overall not bad, def great aroma, flavor didn't pop as much and the malt seemed to get in the way a bit of the nice hop profile, maybe a bit more carbonation would have helped that pop more, but a nice hoppy session ale, and I can't wait to try more from these guys.

May 29, 2016
Photo of waughbrew
waughbrew from Massachusetts

3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

16oz can from 3/3/16. Thanks for the date! I think the four pack was $12, which, at 19 cents/ounce is slightly beyond what I am willing to pay regularly for a session brew, but acceptable for giving a new brew a shot.

Hazy yellow gold with healthy head that stays for a while and laces, but is a little on the soapy-looking side. Smell is sweet orange rind with a bit of grapefruit. Pleasant and mellow. Flavor follows suit, with a consistent bitterness throughout that makes it very drinkable. The malt is a little lacking in depth, leaving some wateriness where my tongue wants flavor or crispness. Slightly tart citrus finish.

An enjoyable brew that I look forward to having more of as these guys grow. Cheers!

Apr 21, 2016
Photo of andylipp
andylipp from Massachusetts

4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Canned 3/15, consumed 4/17 (and 4/18 and probably tomorrow, too).

A hoppy, flavorful session APA that's as satisfying as higher alcohol beer? Sure, you've heard it before, but Candlepin delivers where many others have come up short. A hazy pale yellow/gold pour with a short, fuzzy white head that doesn't stick around too long in my Imperial pint glass. Bright Citra hops dominate the nose. The mouthfeel is outstanding and sets it apart from other session offerings that all too often come off as thin and seltzer-like. Candlepin has much more full mouthfeel and a softer, creamier feel on the tongue. The taste is smooth Citra up front with a moderately bitter finish, along with just enough malt to make you feel that you're drinking a beer of some substance. BTW, the bitterness is not amped up in an effort to trick less experienced palates into thinking that bitterness equals flavor, a trait I've found in many session APAs/IPAs.
Bravo Castle Island!

Apr 18, 2016
Photo of parris
parris from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Straw copper color, medium body

Pine and tropical fruit up front, then bitter, then a bit of bread and medicine.

Awesome overall, I could drink these all afternoon.

Apr 10, 2016
Photo of mnj21655
mnj21655 from Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a vibrant and perfectly clear yellow gold in color with a solid 2 fingers of white head. Aroma is subdued, faintly hoppy with some grainy malt. Taste is herbal hops upfront changing briefly to grainy malts with a solid but not overwhelming bitterness in the lingering finish. Light-medium body with moderate carbonation and a slight slickness from the hops. Overall a good beer, it was certainly hoppy but skews more towards bitterness rather than hop flavor or aroma.

Mar 25, 2016
Photo of Skellbop
Skellbop from New York

3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L - clear, yellow, thick white head
S - floral and hints of citrus
T - clan, balanced bitterness with a bit of grapefruit citrus
F - good carbonation, medium body
O - enjoyable session beer

Mar 12, 2016
Candlepin from Castle Island Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 163 ratings