Drifter Pale Ale - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Drifter Pale AleDrifter Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

952 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 952
Reviews: 406
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 13.37%
Wants: 22
Gots: 33 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: madtappers on 12-23-2008

availability: year-round
bitterness: 32 IBU
alcohol by volume: 5.7%
original gravity: 14.0° PLATO

malts:
Pale, Caramel 20L, Caravienne 20L, Caramel 80L, Carapils

hops:
Bittering: Alchemy
Aroma: Summit, Nelson Sauvin
Dry Hopped: Summit, Nelson Sauvin
View: Beers (73) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 952 | Reviews: 406
Reviews by dannydetox:
Photo of dannydetox
3.57/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

had a sale on sixers of drifter - $4.99! excellent at that price, but i'll put that aside for the moment. drifter pours an orange-ish copper color with a white head that leaves a little lacing clinging to the side of my pint glass. aroma is citrus, some pacific pine notes in there too from the summit and nelson hops. very quaffable, with a light body across the palate. pretty well balanced with the caramel malts and hops each making themselves known. finishes a touch on the sweeter side, but still has that west coast pale ale hop presence. a fine session beer that isn't a game-changer, yet will satisfy enthusiasts and novices alike.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was a little aprehensive about buying this because I havent overly impressed with other Widmer products but this was pretty good I have to say.Poured into a standard pint a clear medium golden with a nice tight formed 1/2 finger white head that had good lasting power.Aromas of caramel/biscuit malt with a firm toastiness,a tinge of citric hop comes thru as well.Pretty balanced on the palate,a big sweetish caramel base with some dough up front that yields to a citrusy lightly piney finish.A real summer quaffing pale ale,it blow your mind but its pretty solid.

Photo of RoyalT
3.13/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - This came out a nice shiny copper in color with a decent head that actually left a little lacing.

Smell - The classic PacNW hop profile is here albeit muted but the grain is a little cheap at the nose.

Taste - The hops don't carry over well into the taste losing their complexity and taking on a really one-dimensional citrus flavor. The grain unfortunately tastes like it smells. It's not bad but just not good. It's really not anything just kind of a mediocre effort at a grain backbone.

Mouthfeel - I enjoyed the sprightly carbonation of this ale but it was too thin and watery for the style.

Drinkability - This was OK to drink but it really lacked substance.

Photo of ExtraStout
3.3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thin white head but with good retention and lots of big, popping bubbles, not much lacing. Red copper color just deep enough to hold your gaze and get past transparency, nice fade to burnt orange hues along the rims. Admirable mix of pink and white grapefruit in the nose, floral with chamomile tea notes, spoonful of pine sap, no herbaceous nor ultra-sweet elements, stays within itself and on message, you could sniff it for some time. Medium-bodied, however, most of it is palate pressure and a sense of marching forward rather than flavor. The grapefruit and tangerine citrus starts things off well, after that there's momentary pine, green hay, wet stone aspects. But after that it's evanescence leads to homogeneity. Credibly, the carbonation ratchets it down to fit the body profile. It's drinkable enough for a bottle or two before your mind starts to wander. If the palate could match the nose, that would be something.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume III, Issue II:

Dark copper color with a perfect clarity. The head retention is solid, with a lacing that holds its own. The blood-orange and evergreen hop aroma is very inviting, especially when hints of caramel and toasted malt reach their height. Super smooth, with a slick medium body. Oh yeah, it's on. The malt and hops are battling it out. Each time one throws a layer of flavor on top, the next one rises to do the same. Big hop flavor of fresh wild herbs, sweet citric and tropical fruit. Malt drops a thick layer of caramel, then more of a toasted grain and then a dry breadiness. Long-lingering finish of hops and malt (more hops though).

Good call on making this one a year-round beer from the get-go--a lovely beer to be had. Looks like Widmer was trying to raise their own bar and accomplished that task.

Photo of merlin48
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pours a hazy rusty orange body with a small beige head that quickly falls to a cap. Some spotty lacing on the glass.

Subdued aroma has toasted caramel, pine, and grapefruit notes.

Light medium body is crisply carbonated.

Taste is well balanced. Toasted biscuity caramel malt is edged nicely with bitter hop notes of citrusy grapefruit and a hint of pine. Nothing really stands out but it all integrates well.

Pleasantly drinkable and spot on for style.

Photo of Billolick
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle with bottled on dating on the lower front label. (040609) Pours clear darker amber, fluffydarker tan head, that sticks around for ever, leaving more then respectable lace on the glass. The sniff reveals more then typical wiffs of citric hops. Nice, drinkable pale. Pineapple tinged hops, with hints of lime and mango with floral/fruity flourishes. Dry, yet still fruity finish. A pleasant suprise. Well worth a try.

Photo of highTempo
2.69/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A - Low carbonation. Has a good medium color for a pale ale - maybe a touch darker orange/brown than average. 1.5 finger head with a gentle pour.

S - The smell has a bit of skunk to it - definitely an odd bitter hop character. There's a little citrus in there but the unpleasant hop is overwhelming it.

T - Starts of nicely with some malty flavor upfront. This dissolves into a 'skunky' hop that matches the aroma.

M - Not a lot of carbonation. It's a smooth, decent, drinkable feel.

Widmer beers vary a good deal in my opinion and this is my least favorite of all of their offerings that I've tried. I'm not sure why it's so popular. If they'd completely change up the hop it might be a nice beer but the hop if pretty forward and pretty off-putting.

Photo of far333
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Balanced and sessionable pale ales seem to be in short supply lately, or else I'm just not finding them. This one seems to fit the bill.

Pours a crystal clear apricot color with streams of fine bubbles rising up to a sizzly head that fades out quickly.

Aroma of bright tangerine citrus, some ripe pear and honey, some floral notes.

Flavor fairly matches the nose, non-assertive citrus and floral hops, low bitterness, bready malt with light brown sugar mixed in, some toffee and honey, hops remain upfront, finishes with a flourish of doughey malt and tingle, buttered corn lingers.

Very tasty without trying too hard, well-balanced, great poolside beer.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.87/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a little dark for a pale, approaching brown territory. Lovely Amarillo hop aroma on these.

Taste, good hop crispness, it does degrade at times into a woody mouthfeel, haven't been able to tell whether due to age or not. A warm up for hopheads and fans of good warm weather beer. Seen the price vary wildly for this, but is a good deal @ $7 I would say for a 6 pack.

Photo of whoneeds8
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into pint glass golden amber with a nice one finger white head. Very good lacing all the way down the glass. Smell is a nice light floral hops scent. Very faint for a apa. The taste is a light hop bite with a malted balance. Flavor isn't too strong, but it's not missing either.

Overall, this is a very good average APA that I think the average non-BA beer drinker will like alot. I would have no problem ordering this at a bar if offered.

Photo of richkrull
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one in my poker winnings from AlCaponeJunior. Thanks bud.

Poured an amber/copper color with a relatively small head on it. Not a lot of lacing staying with this one.

Smell was pretty balanced. Nice citrus hops on the back end of the caramel malts.

Taste was pretty good. Really enjoyed the citrus hop flavor.

Mouthfeel was light-medium. This beer went down very smooth.

Overall a solid beer. I was really happy with it. I wouldn't mind having this one again.

Photo of Messiahbolical
3.82/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Got this at a local gas station, $7.99 a sixer. The selection there was horrible, like most gas stations, so this caught my eye and I decided to try it.

Appearance: Just about as good as a beer can get. Dark golden amber color, almost brown... looks gorgeous. Moderate amount of carbonation bubbles rising and sticking to the sides of the glass. Head is creamy light tan with lacing down the glass. Looks great.

Smell: Not much to say here. A slight hoppy smell, pine and citrus alike. Smells a lot like marijuana to be quite honest. I like the smell a lot, but I just wish there was more of it. The smell is a bit too faint for my tastes.

Taste: Similar to the smell, however the citrus seem to be the most dominant here by far hop-wise. Not a whole lot of malts going on here that I can tell... there IS a sweet malty backbone that's especially present in the aftertaste, but nothing jumps out at you. The aftertaste is actually one of the best parts of this beer. Makes you want to drink slowly, since it leaves your mouth with a really good taste that lasts for a little while and slowly disappears. All in all, tastes good. Not nearly as bitter as I was expecting(hardly any bitterness at all actually) but really pleasant altogether. I'd label the tastes as somewhat "complex" but not "strong". My only problem with the taste is that at times I wished it was a bit more powerful. It's good, but not great.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light to somewhat medium body with the carbonation bubbles leaving a crisp, clean finish in your mouth. At times the beer can feel TOO light, especially for a pale ale, leaving you craving something with a bit more substance. The good amount of carbonation helps save this beer a bit from it's otherwise weak mouthful.

Drinkability: Couldn't get much higher. The light body does help here, and the alcohol(5.7%) isn't all too high compared to a lot of beers but can catch up to you after drinking enough of it. I'd say this is a damn sessional beer especially for someone like me with a bit of a tolerance. I also have to note that this beer isn't filling at all. It wouldn't be hard to put down a 6 pack of these in one sitting.

All in all, I'd recommend this. It's a pretty good beer. Nothing that'll blow you away or anything, but a great looking, good tasting pale ale with mild biterness and high drinkability.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I find it odd that they would label this "THE ORIGINAL DRIFTER PALE ALE". It's good, but I don't think anyone is going to try to take the name 'Drifter' from them.

Poured a coppery orange in the glass with only a half finger of off white foam that dissipated quickly to a mere ring and a tiny bit of lace.

Aroma is slightly malty with that distinctive Pacific North-west hop citrus...a bit of pine...a bit of grapefruit....fresh and clean.

Mouthfeel is clean and comfortable with a bit more body than I am used to in a pale ale due to the increase of malt to put a balance on the hops. Carbonation is nice and tingly...not too much...just right. Often with a mediocre pale ale that is trying to be bigger than it really is I find an over abundance of carbonation trying to make up for what they lack in hops. Not with Drifter. Just right.

Taste is lightly toasted sweet malt followed immediately with a burst of piney grapefruit hops that taste very fresh. There is a tiny bit of a metallic tang to the aftertaste, however that might be from the yeast or possible the age of the bottle (90 days old).

Aftertaste remains clean and fresh. Wonderful session type brew for a hot afternoon, albiet a bit strong in ABV to really session more than a couple.

Photo of biboergosum
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a hazy medium orange-amber colour, with one finger of sudsy light beige head, which leaves some sparse specks of lace around the glass as it quickly abates. It smells of tropical fruits - grapefruit, pineapple, and kiwi, and bready malt. The taste is sweet caramel/toffee malt, some orange and pineapple fruitiness held over from the aroma, and herbal, floral hops. The carbonation is below average, the body medium weight, smooth, a bit gritty, but mostly creamy. It finishes off-dry, the sweet bready grain getting a run for its money from the herbal, earthy hops.

I like very much the exotic fruitiness, but the hops don't quite keep up in the end. I could see the herbal sweetness becoming tiring after a few rounds.

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Widmer- Drifter Pale Ale

A- Deep amber copper brown with a big thick creamy lacing head.
S- Creamy bready malt with a nice sweet grapefruit and citrus hop twang.
T- Solid sweet caramel malt with buttery biscuit and grainy bread malt. Mildly sweet citrus and grapefruit hops never overpower. Finishes off with a nice fresh hoppiness.
M- Very creamy and smooth. Perfect balance of sweetness. Hops appear fresh and juicy.

Overall- Smooth and fresh tasting. Nice balanced Pale Ale. Widmer's best offering!

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a clear, golden amber with a 2 finger head. Good retention.

Smell - Smells mildly of citrus hops, and of mildy sweet caramel malt.

Taste - Follows the nose. Light citrus hops and sweet, light caramel malt notes. Very mellow. Not much in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Decent carbonation. Very, very smooth.

Overall - A very approachable, very drinkable pale ale. What it lacks in bold or complex flavors, it makes for in a smooth, velvety texture and great balance. Session friendly. One of the better Widmer beers I've had.

Photo of Dave128
4.43/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle dated 5-19-11 into a Duvel tulip.

A - Having not read that label or knowing anything about the beer, the pour was surprising. Dark amber in color. As the bottle states, "Anything but pale" Lacing is not too apparent, but it rolls around the glass nicely before slowly trickling down back into the main volume of the beer.

S - sweet crystal malt and american hops. Not too strong on either one.

T - Just about the best tasting APA I've ever had. It is very well if not perfectly balanced. Sweet and caramely up front into a wonderfully grassy hop note. Bitterness was not over the top as I was dreading with most APA's these days.

M - Great for the style. closer to medium bodied than light. Great level of carbonation.

O - A very surprising beer for me, starting from the pour all the way to the last sips. I was expecting an average overhopped APA, but I thoroughly enjoyed this not so pale pale ale.

Photo of Magpie14
3.87/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: enticing mix of red, crimson, orange, and yellow mingling together. The rim and base house the lighter pale shades with the darker hues hanging in the middle. Head is safely white in color with a few dabs of soft yellow. The glass housed intermittent strings and blobs of lace nicely, good look overall

S: bursting with a juicy fruit basket of smells: lemons, grapefruits, sweet oranges, and a ring of pineapple, and some pine notes. Subtle candied/honey dipped pine cones, otherwise fruity. The smell is rather delicious!

T: hhmm, no real hop bitterness, no oily residue on the tongue, strange? Smells are deceiving in this sense. Otherwise, the hops have nice initial pop of citrus with floral tea notes. After the sip it houses a clean, dry at times, flavor with a maltiness that is steadfast and even. Sweeter notes round out the flavor profile and make even the flavors. Nothing over the top about this one and pretty well rounded

M: good snap of carbonation rouses the tongue with a mild body. Feels like a good APA

D: easily a all around drinker. Has a nice standing and drinks smooth. I still found the hop flavors a bit timid for what the nose presented...still a winner

Photo of ChopperSmith
4.19/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark amber with a thin white head.

Smell: Floral and pine hops are the main scent for this one.

Taste: I was pleasantly surprised at this one, much more flavorful and a nice floral and grapefruit hops flavor. Not a lot of malt here, but the hops are the star in this APA.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A decent flavorful American Pale Ale. Would definitely seek this out and drink it again.

Photo of aval89
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: pours a clear dark amber/copper color.. 1.5 finger of frothy head.. settles at about a 1/4inch of head..

s: pine and orange/grapefruit dominate the nose.. toasty malts round it out.. maybe even some floral notes as well.. some caramel as well..

t: toasty and bready malts upfront.. then you get the sticky pine with orange citrus notes.. bready notes & a good caramel dose round out the finish.. also a mild earthy hoppiness.. clean finsh, not much lingering flavors.. very solid balance between hops/malt.

mf: sticky medium body with good carbonation for the style.. really cleanses the palate without being harsh..

o: very impressed on this one.. such a balanced brew.. i like this one.

its not something to brag home about, just an overall great brew for the style!

Photo of hopman333
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sometimes I want an APA with alot of Hop flavor and not alot of IBU's , well this is it folks. This Brew hits the nail on the head.

The appearance is a very deep copper color with an almost reddish hue. And a very beige 1 and 1/2 inch head / lacing that lasts for quite sometime.

The smell is a very welcoming fruity and floral Hop blast along with some very rich malt scents to counterbalance the hops. Very very appealing aroma. It almost reminds me of juicy fruit gum.

The taste starts of with a decent amount of bitterness which in turn slides into the fruitiness of the hops balanced by a very nice malty profile that brings a totally balanced feel to this beer. One does not overpower the other, a great balance of malt and hop flavor married together make this a superb brew.

Now I know some of you Hopheads, ( I'm one too ) are going too say it's not bitter enough, but this is an immensely drinkable beer that is extemely enjoyable to drink, in other words, drinkability is off the charts with this one yet it never gets boring. This is a great session beer without blowing up youre pallette with IBU's. Do not let the Widmer Bros label fool you, this is one hell of a pale ale that you should definately try. And this is coming from a guy that loves Stone, Three Floyd's, Bells Ect Ect !!! If you see this on sale as I did ( $ 6.49 a sixer ) definately pick one up, you will not be dissapointed. Over all a wonderful Pale ale.

Just trust me on this one fellow B'as, this brew Fu$%# rocks....

Photo of tdm168
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale amber with a quarter of an inch of soft, foamy, white head that has decent retention. The nose has a citrusy, piny, resiny aroma. The taste is light and mildly malty but heavily hopped; there are notes of citrus, primarily grapefruit, as well as some very faint bread notes. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, smooth, and perfectly carbonated.

This is a well hopped, balanced, sessionable, enjoyable beer. In the APA category in my opinion it is among the most refreshing and drinkable.

Photo of brewerburgundy
2.8/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

16oz pour into a pint glass at Drifters Grill and Marina, Lake Tulloch, CA.

Copper and fruit orange body with a nice sub-tan head.

Very orangey, more like orange juice or flavor than the orange and other citrus characteristics than I am accustomed to from any hop varieties. A turn towards familiar grapefruit seems to happen when the beer is warmer.

Again citrus, and mainly orange with a little pine. Overall weak without even a discernible malt backbone. This seems to be for the masses. I was interested in the use of Nelson Sauvon for aroma and dry hopping. This variety seems to have come across as orange.

The mouthfeel is solidly average.

I wouldn't want to drink much of this because I think it is inferior to other easily obtainable Pale Ales. That said, it does go down as easily.

Photo of mempath
4.61/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

following my tasting of the Dundee IPA...

beautiful orangey pale ale...little lacing...little head.

my oh my, nice oily citrusy nose on this. amazing and sweet-bitter promise!

very strange in a good way....the thin-ness of this keeps the oiliness at bay (that is hinted at in the nose), but it's still got some interesting complexity and unique. it's no Smuttynose, but rather similar.

in a sense, this is an intensely hoppy pale (not a IPA?) that is everything except bitter. weird, but i'd sit down with these for an evening.

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Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 952 ratings.