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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: 959
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 20.63%
Wants: 24
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: 959
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 WoodBrew
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was in Jacksonville and tried the Drifter Pale Ale at Miller Ale House. A very good pale ale. Pours a copper colored body with an off-white head with good retention. Aromas are a bit atypical from what I'd expect from an APA, but I like them: I get a lot of pineapple and grapefruit notes from the hops with caramel maltiness playing a less pronounced role. These flavors define its taste as well, but the caramel malts are more prominent, making for a well-balanced beer. Well done, Widmer.

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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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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deepish orange color with a small white head. Nose is on the mellow side of citrus notes. Taste is a little hop forward with some citrus and floral notes. Mouthfeel is nice, bubbly and pretty good. Nice ABV makes it a good session brew. Very drinkable indeed. Surpsise by Widmer.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium red coppery amber. Thin white head dissipates slowly to a film with light lacing. Aroma of grassy, slightly piney hops and biscuit malt. Flavor follows, biscuit malt and light grassy hops. Light bodied with decent carbonation. A good sturdy pale ale that looks a bit more like an amber, but the flavor is on style for a pale.

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Photo of Tone
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, amber/copper color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Decent retention and slight lacing. Smells of strong hops and slight sweet malt. Fits the style of an American Pale Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hops up front, slight sweet malt, slight grain, and some earthy malt. Overall, a light and refreshing pale ale with decent body, but very little complexity.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: hazy golden orange with a one-finger white head.

Smell: hops abond; mostly floral with a little spice and citrus. There is also a hint of the sweet malt underneath.

Taste: sweet and citrusy. Malt is quite well balanced with the hops, which again are floral and spicy in character. I quite like it.

Mouthfeel: medium-thin body with a little less carbonation than I would prefer.

Drinkability: this is a pretty solid beer and I wouldn't mind having another one after this.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a coppery-sunset orange with a bright clarity and dirty white fizzy pancake head that quickly dissipated away. No visible lacing while a macro bubbly carbonation rapidly rose but quickly faded within the first minute of pour.

S: sweet sugary grapefruit and citrusy tangerines. The malting takes a back seat here while the hopping was sweet, wet with some lemony pine scents on the close.

T: The flavor started out thin, with a wet lemony/citrus hopping, almost juice like before moving on to slightly more drier bitterness of grapefruit peels. The malting was light and bready with hints of toasted sweetness. A light floral bitterness of lemons and a crisp munich malting adds some overall dryness to an otherwise wet and sweet start. Overall not bad, the flavor wont wow you, but the bitterness is enough for you to take note, with better then average results. A decent lingering lemon fade finishes things out. The hopping was wet and juicy, finishing slightly dry, but lacked a crispness in delivery.

M: light and slick with a good tingle of carbonation on the tip of the tongue. Not much else noting here, okay.

D: Decent drinkability with moderate enjoyment. Goes down fairly well enough, with an overall worthy recommendation.

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Photo of beertunes
2.7/5  rDev -28.6%
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.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.14/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle marked 1548-NH-JUN1912. Sampled on December 9, 2012.

The color of the pour is medium to rusty-amber with a slight haze and no head to speak of.

There are plenty of sensations on the nose including sweet malts, floral hops, and dark fruit.

The body is about medium and creamy.

The taste is something I can remember with a sweet malt flavor up front and quickly followed by dark fruit like pomegranate then a medium floral hop bitterness to tie it all together at the end. Likable through and through.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought as part of a mixed 6 pack.

This pours from the 12oz bottle(bottled or best by Jan 2109?) a bright clear copper colour with a 1 finger head of foam.

The smell is very hoppy....floral and citrus notes abound. I smell a very faint sweetness here but that was a tough chore to pull it out. I don't think the nose will be the best feature of this brew.

The taste has the hops up front though not as assertive as in the smell. A plus, I think for an APA. Much better presence of malt as well. Good sweet caramel tones with light bread and a touch of earth. Caramel is starting to grow the more I sip. Good. Much closer to being balanced.

Close to medium bodied with a lighter than I expected amount of carbonation, it finishes just slightly bitter. Decent head retention and with some spotted lacing.

Drinkability? On par for the style me thinks. It surely goes down easily enough and is tasty enough. Widmer did a good job with this one.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle

A- Pours a nice clear copper color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is sweet malt and caramel with some floral hops. 

T- The taste has a good malty backbone with hints of caramel and a touch of citric hops in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Not a bad Pale Ale, but pretty mediocre compared to some of the other top beers in this category.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Clear, copper/amber color. Poured a coaarse 2 finger tan head with fair retention. Sticky lacing through the first half of the glass.

S: Big floral and citrus hops up fronta. A little sweet bready malt comes through.

T: Sweet caramel and pale malts. Resiny hops is the middle. Sharply bitter finish to balance.

M: Light side of medium body. Nicely balanced carbonation. Bitter finish lingers.

D: Very drinkable. The floral hops and sharp bitter provide nice contrast. Malts givie it some character.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tarnished copper body. Thin beige head. Spotty lace. Very pleasant aroma of vibrant aromatic hops and carmelized malts. As with the nose, there's a nice balance on the palate between hops and malt. Bright citric hop notes meld with caramel malts to create an agreeable flavor. Medium to medium-full body. Moderately carbonated.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Reddish amber, ½” cream colored head, multi-sized bubbles S: Has rich hop aromas, citrus and some malt in the background T: Starts with a burst of creamy maltiness and then is followed by spicy herby hops and finishes with more hop flavors lingering through the finish than hop bitterness. A little lemony citrus from the hop balanced by malt sweetness. F: creamy, medium body, medium carbonation, no astringency. O: With the whiff of hops up front you expect more bitterness but this highlights hop flavors more than bitterness balanced by the malt. Very well done, drinkable, refreshing and repeatable.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle - from Total wine summerlin las vegas NV for 1.99$

Appearance - Clear copper colour with a large size frothy off white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops, grapefruit

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and the taste is made up of caramel and malts mixed with hops. It also has a bit of a sugary apricot flavour with a hint of pineapple and some grapefruit. It ends with a caramel/malty aftertaste with a some bittersweet notes.

Overall - A nice well balanced very drinkable pale ale. The flavours are fairly subdued, but they are good. I wouldn't pick this one up again, but I wouldn't turn it away if offered. There are just too many better beers out there.

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