1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Drifter Pale Ale - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Drifter Pale AleDrifter Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

936 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 936
Reviews: 406
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.6%
Wants: 22
Gots: 27 | 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:
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

(Beer added by: madtappers on 12-23-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Drifter Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 936 | Reviews: 406 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kojevergas
2.53/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

33cl brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: One finger head of good cream, good thickness, and good retention. Textbook copper colour. Generally appealing.

Sm: Unwelcome bittering hops, light unexpected orange, barley, and cream. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Light caramel and very light orange ester first act, with a barley foundation, and a slight bittering hop climax. The aftertaste suffers under the burden of the badly chosen bittering hops, which feel obligatory to satisfy fans of the style. It's unnaturally built, yet manages to remain balanced. I don't fancy it.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but a touch too thick. The texture isn't tailored to the flavours by any stretch.

Dr: Easy drinking for one or two bottles, but beyond that it suffers from those damned bittering hops. It's overpriced - especially for the quality.

kojevergas, Aug 20, 2011
Photo of TheMadJack
2.55/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz Bottle into Pint glass. Beer is deep orange with some foam and a thin head. Decent lacing that fades to thin.

Aroma is similar to bourbon without the alcohol scent - an oaky base - on top of which are pine, raspberry, grapefruit and apple peel. So far so good.

First sip brings moderate hops, piny and slightly citrusy. Not a whole lot of depth here, the bittersweet bite fizzes out with the carbonation and leaves just a sensation of bitteness on the tongue. I had some brie on hand while drinking, and it didn't enhance the experience much beyond bringing out a cayenne pepper aroma. The grapefruit and oak flavors in the nose come out in the taste as the beer warms, and the beer gains some depth with caramel coming through.

Mouthfeel is thin and fizzy, and the carbonation fades fast. The beer is easily drinkable. Definitely a laid back brew that will go with just about anything. Unexceptional, though that can be a good thing if you're not looking to overwhelm your tastebuds.

TheMadJack, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of Bfarr
2.55/5  rDev -32%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Drifter is a clear orange amber with a thick... froth is a good word considering it looks like a bad cappaccino. It has a fairly nice floral hop aroma. A good spicey hop taste is quickly muted by the malts. It's a slightly watery taste but it is smooth and fairly balanced. Easy drinking but almost too much.

This is definitely good for a summer night but the taste was a little too muted for me. I'll have to try it on tap sometime if I see it.

Bfarr, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of Willibomb
2.63/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It's a little weak looking for a pale ale, it did not have the great copper hue that I look for, and it did not have the dried malt smell interlaced with the hop aroma.

The head was decent, but then again, a pale ale normally can froth up quite a bit, and it tends to release a great deal of aroma, which I did not see.

The taste was pretty lame, it was weakly hopped, and it tasted like a dry-hopped domestic, which might have a style someday, but currently, it is just a miss at a pale ale.

At 5.7% it is not bad to drink, but the taste is a show stopper

Willibomb, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of Minkybut
2.63/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was a gas colored concoction with no head what so ever. The beer had a bit of a caramel smell. The beer was flat tasting and looking and I thought terrible. Then I discovered it was a year old by the brewed on date. I took the 6-pack back to Food Lion and got a refund. I am also sending Widmer Brothers Brewing a note explaining the ordeal.

Minkybut, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of highTempo
2.7/5  rDev -28%
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.

highTempo, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of B967ierhunter177
2.7/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is an interesting beer. It pours a dynamic, clear copper color with no head. It's aroma is an odd mix of vanilla, pine, biscuits, and some other stuff. It's very strange. The flavor again is odd with molasses, licorice, and metallic notes. This beer has a light mouthfeel with a light alcohol warmth. Original Drifter Pale Ale could be a session beer for some. It was just ok with Mexican food. Slightly recommended.

B967ierhunter177, Oct 05, 2010
Photo of hustlesworth
2.7/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- clear copper colored with golden highlights. Oddly tan head is thin and unimpressive. Not much lace to speak of.

S- decent grapefruit and orange herbal spicy hops with some berry and toasted malt aromas.

T- a little toasty, a bit of wet dog, mild hop flavor and bitterness. Tastes diluted. Burnt grapefruit and grains in the finish.

MF- low end carbonation, dry rubbery feel, lighter than medium body.

D- finding a positive point, it's easily drinkable and refreshing due to the lack of flavor. the remainder of this bottle will go into a foil packet to keep a brisket moist while I reheat it.

hustlesworth, Mar 05, 2012
Photo of beertunes
2.73/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a clear, light brown color (not any of the shades of yellow or gold as expected for the style), with a clean, white head that had some retention and medium lacing.

The nose is greeted with a very sweet aroma containing no hop presence. The taste was very pleasant, not too sweet and had just a slight tinge of hop on the finish.

The body was good, full without being heavy, and well balanced. This is a very drinkable brew, having several of these easy, well balanced, very enjoyable brew would not be a problem. Overall this is a good beer that is in the wrong style category. The appearance, smell and taste would all rate higher if the brewers chose not to call this "brown" beer a PALE ale.

beertunes, Aug 10, 2009
Photo of TheStashRide
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

TheStashRide, Oct 08, 2012
Photo of sandflier
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

sandflier, May 07, 2012
Photo of Jsmitty1967
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

Jsmitty1967, Mar 25, 2012
Photo of irishgreensoda
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

irishgreensoda, Nov 20, 2012
Photo of hurshybear
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

hurshybear, Sep 29, 2014
Photo of AllHailBeercules
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

AllHailBeercules, Aug 28, 2012
Photo of slowandlazy
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

slowandlazy, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of camartin27
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

camartin27, Nov 22, 2013
Photo of brewerburgundy
2.78/5  rDev -25.9%
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.

brewerburgundy, Jun 01, 2010
Photo of AdamBear
2.83/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A-dark amber, impressive cream colored head

S-creamy citrusy hops. medium strength. smells quite pleasant!

T-well first of all i must say there's a unique bitterness throughout the entire experience. its not a completely welcomed bitterness. it hits with a quick shot of citrus. it hardly lasts long enough to get a hold on the taste. the hoppiness is minimal. it then goes in to a tangy creaminess that's very undesirable. the after-taste is of barley...this is probably the best aspect to the taste. I guess you could say its a complex beer...it just doesn't have a good complexity.

M-medium to heavy carbonation with a watery finish

D-it goes down easily due to the lightness but the tastes just are not something you want a lot of.

AdamBear, Nov 22, 2010
Photo of welldigger888
2.88/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a pint glass, clear orange copper color.Nice white head that receded quickly with minor lacing down glass.
Fruit is what I pick up first, light toasty quality with minor biscuity nutty aromas.Little grapefruity hop aromas for me.
Bready toasty flavors with minumal hop goodness.
This beer seems to have a nice mouth feel for me. the carbonation is spot on.
If I could get over the fruit on the nose this would be sessionable.

welldigger888, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of BEERchitect
2.93/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Gary for sharing.

The beer opens with a thin copper, medium amber, and golden look. Good head formation allows for fine retainage and lacing. Pretty fair for a Pale Ale, just looks a bit thin and over carbonated.

Aromas of hops leap right out with a largely citrus note and to a lesser extent, metalic notes. Pretty sharp to the nose, an odd sweaty, catty, urine-line note comes out but seems to disipate quickly. Soft maltiness blends with even softer grain aromas to provide a counter to the assertive and sharp hop scent.

Flavors of malt and grain rise first with a biscuity sweetness and moderate maltiness. Hop flavor seems a bit bitey and again metalic; but also has some fresh orange zest and grapefruit taste to go along with that same anoying metalic taste.

Body as expected is kinda light and allows for the grains to add nearly the bite as does the hops. More than just bitterness, the hops also give an undesirable astringency that I could do without.

Seems like a lot of negativity comming out of this review, but these ill attributes don't kill the beer. I think it's fine but suffers from some tomato-catty things in the initial aroma and poorly chosen hops.

BEERchitect, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of originalsin
2.93/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- The pour is a deep reddish amber. Not necessarily pale, per se. Not too much head to speak of, but I can live with that. Retention is ok, but there's little lacing.

S- Citrusy hops are almost overwhelming on the nose. Who can really argue with that? This beer smells like it has all kinds of potential, let's just leave it at that.

T- Right away there's a pretty distinct caramel and pale malt taste. It's really nothing spectacular, and almost somewhat of a turnoff but then the bitterness kicks in around the same time as a nice hopped aftertaste does. Again, though, it's really nothing special.

M- The mouthfeel is a bit light but at the same time I can't find anything wrong with it. It goes down real easy.

D- Honestly, it's a really drinkable beer- but it's just not good enough to be a so-called session beer. I could sit down and drink 5 of these no problem. But then i'd hate myself. Maybe i'm being unfair.

I might just have something against Widmer but this pale ale just doesn't do it for me. I got a case for 13 bucks, which was good...but i don't know if i'd even spend that much if i had a second chance.

originalsin, Apr 25, 2009
Photo of froghop
2.95/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

pours a clear pale amber-orange with a small white head that dissipates quickly, some lacing.

smell of some caramel, floral, and a touch of grapefruit.

taste is light, hops, malt in the back, some citrus, earthy, and a little pine in the back too, ends a little dry and a little bitter.

froghop, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of beachbum1975
2.98/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle. Per the label, bottled on 05-20-2009. Neat old school label. The label makes me wanna go to the Pacific Northwest and fish or something.

Poued into my tulip, a clear, medium brown with blonde highlights. Average tan head with average retention.

Smells like your average pale ale. Light to moderate pale malts with a light citrus tinge.

Slightly watery mouthfeel echoing the nose in flavor. Surprisingly low carbonation.

Average.

beachbum1975, Aug 29, 2009
Photo of dsauter
3/5  rDev -20%

dsauter, Dec 07, 2011
Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 936 ratings.