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Drifter Pale Ale - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Drifter Pale AleDrifter Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

406 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 406
Hads: 958
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 20.63%
Wants: 23
Gots: 37 | 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

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

Bittering: Alchemy
Aroma: Summit, Nelson Sauvin
Dry Hopped: Summit, Nelson Sauvin
View: Beers (81) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Drifter Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 406 | Hads: 958
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rusty pumpkin with gem-like clarity, even after all 12 ounces were squeezed into the glass on a single smooth pour. The tight-bubbled crown of golden beige foam looks pretty damn good and is sticky enough to coat the glass with scattered sheets of lace that resemble spray-on snow.

The aroma is softly caramel malty and has an intriguing hoppiness. Summit adds an earthy citrusiness and Nelson Sauvin adds... something else. NS is a New Zealand variety of hop that is supposed to smell and taste like Sauvignon blanc grapes and gooseberries. Even though I can't identify either of those, the nose is APA enjoyable.

Drifter is a rock-solid American pale ale. There's just enough that's different about it that it's interesting as well, which never hurts. Drinking it at approximately four months of age makes me wish that I had cracked the crown closer to one month (assuming it was in my possession then). A sharper hop bite would make it even tastier.

The malt is a near equal mixture of pale and caramel (plus CaraVienne and Carapils), with very little of the toasted-earthy-nutty flavors that malts like Munich or Vienna tend to add. Summit may not be my favorite American hop, but it's citrusy enough to be in the second tier. Regarding the white grapiness... it's hard to say for sure. Balanced and drinkable? Yes and yes.

Due to a slight shortage of heftiness and a tendency to wander away on the back end, the mouthfeel falls a little short. Not seriously so, but a 'good' score can't be awarded in good conscience. A few more bubbles might have helped.

Widmer Drifter is good beer that is probably even better beer immediately after bottling. Of course that's true of pretty much all APAs. This is one of WBBC's better efforts and is an easy recommendation to anyone who enjoy a well-crafted pale ale.

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Photo of oberon
3.78/5  rDev 0%
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.

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

tons of yard work all week leads me to this one! served cold and into a pint glass

Poured a cloudy amber with no real head and no significant lacing. Smell was very grainy, almost like cereal. Grassy and earthy tomes as well. Taste followed suit nicely. Hoppy but not citrusy, more of a grainy, grassy type of taste. Very mellow and different. Nice carbonation and easy drinkability make this another good brew

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Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is almost copper in color with a couple fingers of slightly off-white head.

S: A really nice citrus aroma to the beer. Plenty of grapefruit and perhaps some tangerine. A light floral quality to the hops with just a hint of pine and a solid malt backbone.

T: The flavor is similarly impressive. Nice grapefruit bite to it along with some piney notes. A solid, but not overwhelming, bitterness. Some bread/malt flavor in the background.

M: Medium in body with a moderate level of carbonation.

O: Really a fine pale ale, and one of the better offerings from Widmer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark copper body with a thin, fine, white head.

Smell: Lightly grainy pale and caramel malt nose with a earthy, fruity, particularly citrusy hop scent.

Taste: Unassuming pale and caramel maltiness with a medium level of sweetness. Tiny tinge of grains. Earthy, citrusy hops imparting a taste of infused citrus peels, though the overall bitterness remains light. Drying finish with a mere hint of lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A decent, simple, but easily accessible American Pale Ale.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, with a finger of bright-white head. This retains with a foamy ½ finger, leaving back a good bit of spotty froth that dots the sides of the glass. The aroma is an even mix of grass and spice in the nose, with an underlying mix of fresh leafiness, sweet fruit, and toasted grains.

The taste has a bitter and leafy feeling citric bitterness to it that spreads out into the mouth. This is buffered by notes of softer fruit and some grains, which lend this a sweeter character. The hops give this the most push though, coming through the finish with a dry pithiness that lingers. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a lively sharpness to the carbonation that dances around in the mouth. The feel smoothes out a bit as things lessen in the mouth, giving this an overall creamy crispness.

This was a decent APA from Widmer that drank very nicely for close to 6% ABV. I had no idea that they used Nelson Sauvin in this and I liked what it brought over; giving this a soft fruitiness that helped balanced the more aggressive aspects of those bittering hops. Nothing mind blowing here but this was crisp and flavorful enough to keep me happy.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.53/5  rDev -33.1%
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.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wasn't really wowed by Widmer's Drop Top Amber, plus I'm aware this is a craft brewery bought out by the big guns so I was weary of this one. To my surprise, this was a pretty good pale ale. Pours a copper sort of color with not much to it, very little lacing. You can actually detect some hops in the aroma.. good start. Nice mouthfeel and a nice medium body to this one. Some light hop bitterness and definitely some citrus notes in there. Nice smooth and easily drinkable beer. I've had better pale ale's but I've had a lot more sub-par ones compared to this.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 7/10/09 at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

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

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, hops and fruity citrus.

T: The taste starts with a strong fruity citrus sweetness that remains dominant the whole time. There's a decent hops presence that comes in but the sweetness continues with a caramel flavor in the background. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The after-taste is also sweet.

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

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, the sweetness kind of over-powers everything else in the beer, but overall it's a fairly good beer that is worth drinking for a while.

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Photo of russpowell
4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up as part of a mixed sixer, bottled 12/06/10.

Pours an effervescent amber/copper with a finger of cream colored head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Citrus hops, light breadyness, pineapple & lemon grass

T: Follows the nose, nice grapefruit snap, slight breadyness & some woody/herbal hops hiding in the background up front. Grapefruit, a touch of pineapple & grainy apricot as this warms. Finishes crisp with slight caramel sweetness & a kiss of grapefruit

MF: Light/medium bodied, lively but working for me carbonation level. Thins out a touch as this warms

Drinks very easy, wish I'd popped the top on this 3 or so weeks ago when I got this, although I may have found it too hoppy! Well done Widmer, will revisit this one again

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Photo of mdfb79
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From 05/14/11 notes. Thanks to my brother Tom for giving me this. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a clear reddish amber color with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus hops, bready malts, grains, fruity malts, and tropical fruits.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, light fruity malts, and bready malts. A little less fruit than the nose; a slight step down.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

o - Overall a little bland but easy to drink. A pretty average pale ale with some ncie fruit in the nose. Would give another shot.

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Photo of smcolw
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Starts with a two-finger head, settles quickly, but leaves ample lace. The brew is solidly copper-amber in color and appears quite clear.

Strong pine aroma from the fresh hop. It's not harsh, but it has a distinct grapefruit element. I can't detect the malt base. It's very good, but unbalanced.

The flavor mirrors the aroma. Again, predominate hop covers up most of the malt. It leaves a long lasting aftertaste of citrusy bitterness. Relatively thin for the style. Certainly a pleasant, if hoppy, brew.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Widmer The Drifter Pale Ale, 22 oz. bomber.

Clear and coppery colored, snowy white head, nice lace leaving.

Aroma: floral/herbal hop nose, slightly soapy, too...

Taste: soft, pleasant, delicate malts, ...very mild, did i say soft? yeah...delicate? should I go to the thesaurus?
Also, ho-hum. I said, "mild".right?

I can't find a lot to say about this pale ale, it's drinkable, passable, tastes...well, boring. If they were shooting for innocuous, that's what they got. There's no spark, no hoppy kick, no forward flavor at all.

Pretty blah. Can't recommend much at all. It passes the lips credulously enough. More than that? Not.

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Photo of mothman
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass.

Pours about a 2 finger, slightly tanned head, decent retention with great lacing. Color is an amber copper. Pretty decent appearance.

Smell is similar to an IPA. Heavy floral and citrus smells. Taste is some-what hopped up as well. Not as much as the aroma. The taste is more of the pale ale category. Honey and citrus zest.

Mouthfeel is somewhat bitter, but smooth. Goes down pretty easy, but leaves a sticky aftertaste. Low carbonation.

Overall, I really enjoyed this pale ale. It smelt a lot like an IPA which was pleasant. I could definitely have another.

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Photo of tdm168
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of WesWes
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark gold/amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a solid malt scent that boasts of pale, Carapils, and bisquit malts along with a piney hop aroma. The taste is decent. It has a very malty flavor that really focuses on the bisquit malts. It's smooth with a mild hop finish. The mouthfeel is decent as well. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinker. It's nice to see a different take on the APA.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Another from my score out of the cooler at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Altoona! I do not know whether to invoke Clint Eastwood in "High Plains Drifter" or BMCS (SW) Gerard Wargo, my first LCPO in the USN, who routinely used to tell me, "Son, you have a high drift factor." I will go with the latter as the label has a nautical theme and drift or drift factor applies to a ship at anchor. A high drift or drift factor is not good and usually results in weighing anchor, getting underway to shift position and then resetting the anchor. Wargo was definitely NOT paying me a compliment!

From the bottle: "Brewers of Quality Beers".

I got a finger of tawny head from my pour, but it quickly dissipated. Color was a deep copper with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled minty with a caramel/biscuit undertone, much like a Girl Scout Thin Mint. Mouthfeel was medium and the mintiness of the hops was immediately discernible on the tongue. It again begs the question of where does an APA leave off and an AIPA begin. As a self-avowed hophead, I have no problem with this sort of thing, but it surely was hoppy. Finish allowed the caramel/biscuit malts to get a chance to balance things out and they did so, nicely. A pretty good beer.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A real wonderful booming four finger light tan head is made, with super even bubbles all around. The head settles with a frothy and big bubbled retention cap, with lots of clingy lace chunks. Body is a crystal clear textbook amber copper color, real nice, but not much noticeable carbonation. Real good looking.

Very light toasted malts, faint sense of caramel. Some soft hop sense but very muted with maybe a touch of spruce/pine and citrus.

Palate is a little uneventful. Very light bodied almost wet with an almost soda gaseous feel. Palate comes with a light Marzen like malt quality and hints of sticky toffee. Most of the taste though is in the finish but it's quite weak. Slight toasty grain a bit, on the finish also.

Overall not awful but not getting that excited about this one.

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Photo of Billolick
4.12/5  rDev +9%
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.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So far, I haven't had a lot of fun with Widmer products. Here's hoping Drifter will change that. On to the beer:

A little hazy on the pour, the beer has a hazy, brownish-orange color to it with a froathy inch-thick head on top. Leaves a few rings of thin lacing. In the nose, it is grapefruit and diacetyl. Pretty monotone aroma, and not terribly intense either. (Correction, it gets more hoppy in intensity as it warms, +0.5 in aroma).

Actually, Drifter has a pretty good balance going for itself. It's not as hoppy tasting as it smells, but there's still enough to keep me happy. A good mix of flavors....it's like a fruit salad. Well, first it's the hops, then it's the fruity esters, burnt sugar, and a pinch of diacetyl (no buttery popcorn, more like butterscotch). Goes down really easy too.

Oh yum, that hits the spot. Now I wish I bought another one. My favorite Widmer product to date.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark amber, with a soft white head, solid lacing.

S: Pink grapefruit, lemon, tangerine, a nice pungent aroma.

T: Rather strong bittersweet malt note, lemon/orange zest, good balance of flavours.

M: Soft body, light carbonation, resiny.

D: A real nice surprise from Widmer, I think I like this one better than Sierra Nevada, well done, certainly worth a purchase at a $7.99 six-pack.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured on-tap and served in a pint glass, the beer is a deep, auburn-copper color with a smooth, creamy white head. Decent lacing while you enjoy. The beer has a semi-sweet citrus and caramel aroma, with some floral notes. Light, sweet flavors, with very light spicing. Notes of lemon zest, caramel, and light hops. Peppery and tangy sweet aftertaste, with a spicy and astringent finish. Easy drinker, and great on a hot day.

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Photo of Zorro
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber colored ale with a small tan colored head. This is a shade of amber I could call Bronze.

Smell is strongly of northwest style hops, very much a pine and grapefruit scent. Very strong hop resins, the malt is just a honeysuckle trace this is very much a hop beer.

The taste starts out neutral in sweetness and very hoppy, grapefruit in the first taste. Tropical fruit flavors and pine, just like the scent this is a hop beer. Little bit of lemon shows up after a while, wonder how many IBUs this is.

Mouthfeel is good.

Quite a bit better than expected. Website says 32 IBUs seems stronger than that.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.25/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.

Pours a brassy orange-amber colour, with a fine, but filmy head of off-white, that sits rather limply and stagnant on the top of the glass. Lacing is excellent, however, leaving leopard-spotted patches down the glass. Overall, it looks a bit flat, but not too bad.

Nose is lightly tropical and fruity, like processed breakfast juice. Mostly orange sweetness, with a touch of something else, perhaps some apricot, a little pineapple and banana. It's a little bit flat and a little pedestrian, and I certainly hoped for more from the NS hops. Oh well.

Taste is also very flat, in fact probably worse than on the nose. Here, there's nothing to back it up either: minimal body, and minimal structure to the hop character, leaving that flat tropical character to coast across the palate rather listlessly. There's little else to provide balance, complexity or even a foil to it genericness.

Quite disappointed in this. Of course, the extra Nelson Sauvin addition raised my hopes, but there wasn't a lot to it. Drinkable in its way, but drinkable in the generic way that most beer is.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.52/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz picked up today at the Coop... poured into my Chimay goblet...

3/4" head with nice lace and a firm cap atop a clear orange amber brew....

The nose is resounding citric... tangerine even..

Flavor is the same... zesty orange.. some doughy maltiness adds a little bit of sweetness.. with a light smack of caramel.. really balanced yet you still know this is a fresh PNW pale ale... medium body with a lively carbonation... even the burps taste like tangerine juice essence..

This is actually pretty damn good pale ale... I could see drinking this one for a while in the long run, and it makes me wish I would have picked up a 6'er today to have a fridge beer...

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Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 406 ratings.