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Drifter Pale Ale | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

very good
406 Reviews
For Trade:
Drifter Pale AleDrifter Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by madtappers on 12-23-2008

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 406 | Ratings: 959
Photo of Jinholic
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark burnt orange body had a full finger of cream colored head but it died out fast(seems to be the trend with this brewery).

Smell - Rich pine with citrus hops maybe a touch of lemon.

Taste - Rich sweetness up front very malting, hops are almost nonexistent here. Bready and fruity notes in the malt and yeast with maybe some caramel notes that give it its sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, crisp with a medium body. Has a dryness on the finish and even with the heat out today I'm loving this.

Overall - Awesome APA reminds me of Dale's with the heavy focus on the malts. That said go grab one and see for yourself.

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Photo of paxchristi
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I go to Portland, OR about twice a year, and whenever I decide to go out, this is the beer that I choose whenever I want a steady night of the same beer. It is dependable, surprisingly complex and flavorful, and I just do not get sick of it. The fruity/citrusy undertones complement the hops well without being overbearing or getting into anything novelty. This is a reliable beer that I will love until the day I die. The ambiance of green Portland is captured in this beer. There will never be another Drifter.

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Photo of kwc017
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Golden copper hue. Nice.

S - Lots of citrus, mostly grapefruit. Wonderful smell.

T - Citrus hops, malty, nice combo of the two. Lots of grapefruit in the aftertaste.

M - A little thin. Hardly any hoppy resin on the tongue. A little disappointed.

O - A nice west coast pale ale. Grapefruit hops and malt blend nicely together. A session beer for sure.


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Photo of aval89
3.97/5  rDev +5%
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!

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

Nice clean pine-amber color, with a modest head. Slight but attractive lace.

Aroma is pleasantly pine, with some orange tones.

Easy-drinking hops presence, but very well-balanced with the malts. Flavor reveals more pine and orange/citrus character.

Fine and likeable, this is a superb session-worthy pale ale.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served at 53 degrees in my SA Perfect Pint. Apr 25 11 indicated on the label. Pours a translucent amber with a half inch, frothy, off-white head that dissipates into a fairly consistent skim. Some spots and strands of lacing are revealed during the tasting. Nose expresses caramel malt, a faint citrus character and perhaps a trace of earthy hops towards the back. Malt is much less pronounced in the flavor profile and citrus intersperses throughout. Earthy bitterness comes out at the finish and gradually dissipates between quaffs. Mouthfeel is light-medium with a crisp carbonation that leaves some residual tingles on the roof of the mouth. There's also a slight acidity and a light oiliness to the texture. Overall, a fairly drinkable and accessible APA.

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Photo of mjurney
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber color, hazy. Few little bubbles. Small head.

Piney and citrus hops. Sweet malts. Very crisp smelling.

Balance from hops and malts. Hop character is a little more milder than most American Pale Ale I had, I’m getting piney and citrus, maybe a little grassy. Nice malt background, sweet, bready, caramel-toffee, just a touch of butter (almost English like malts). There some fruitness from the yeast. Body is dry, a little crisp. Carbonation is mild.

Sweet and dry finish. A little crisp. Dry aftertaste.

It’s pretty good for American Pale Ale.

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Photo of codfeast
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bottle to pint.

A: Dark copper color, 1/4" off white head, sticky lacing.

S: Heavy on the hops, pine and citrus(lemon)

T: starts off with malt, and quickly hops kicks in leaving a nice pine sap taste.

M: almost heavy, medium carbination, bitter finish.

O: A good west coast Pale Ale, in the SNPA, Drake's and Red Chair tradition. Not the most balanced beer. On sale every couple of months around here, and I'm always good for six.

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Photo of biglobo8971
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had this on tap at a bar that I wasnt expecting to get a good beer from. It took some time to convince the bartender not to keep pouring it into frozen pints, once I got him to pour it in the same glass that I ordered my original from, I really started to enjoy this beer.
Pours a very orange amber color with a nice inch and a half head with lacing present the whole glass. Very pleasant taste, nice faint bitter hoppiness with a well balanced blend of malt and caramel. The taste is enjoyable from the beginning to the end of each sip.
Would definitely order this beer again. Probably wont seek it out, but will not have any issue of buying it in the future.

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Photo of MightyCasey
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.
A: Pours a medium to deep amber color with a small white head that lasts for a few minutes.
S: The nose shows a strong nod to west coast varietal hops, with Cascade making a very prevalent mark.
T: A little bitter, really almost giving the character of being an American IPA more than an APA.
M: Carbonation was perfect and quite drinkable.
Overall, the beer impresses.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a pilsner glass. Color was a red, but more of a light red. Also a dark copper. Probably an inch of head the stuck around only for a few moments. The film, however, stayed on the glass about a ¼ inch up from the beer. The film and (slight) head stayed throughout the glass. It somehow really caught my eye.

Smell was strong, but pleasant. Smelled hoppy and rich, full of flavor that had me wanting to try it.

A pleasantly bitter taste. A slight taste of citrus, which seems to be Widmer’s common them after trying the variety pack (this was my third beer of four). Some caramel mixed in there, too.

Low carbonation for a pale ale. Heavy taste, but not overwhelming - really how I prefer my reds. However, the beer never really got better. Although the taste stayed awhile, it wasn’t always pleasant.

Not a bad pale ale overall. Definitely on the above average side of a pale ale. That being said, I don’t see myself ever searching this beer out to try at a bar or at BevMo, but I’m glad I tried it.

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Photo of bump8628
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright copper with a radiant orange glow. The white head builds high, but falls to a thin wisp of lace. Subtle, but extremely complex and beautiful hop notes, including freshly squeezed grapefruit, lemon drop, melon, peach, and an undertone of pine. Malt is sturdy, but dry with mild caramel and a light graininess. Nice and clean on the back end. I can't believe I'm enjoying a Widmer beer this much, since I haven't been too impressed with their stuff up to this point. But Drifter has an extraordinarily unique, yet understated hop profile that makes it a pleasure. This is my second or third beer brewed with Nelson Sauvin hops and each time I become more enthralled with their delicate, yet uniquely flavorful character.

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Photo of weller1js
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

appearance: pours a healthy copper red, moderately carbonated with offwhite foam, leaving similar lacing.

smell: hops are floral and piney, with a light sweetness present in the undertones.

taste: begins clean, light malty undertones yield to a mellow yet floral hop sensation, finishes crisp with a light bittersweetness.

overall: well hopped pale ale, has everything you need in a basic pale ale, very drinkable.

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange in color, clear, with a smooth whitish head. Aroma is quite potent for an APA, with a strong citric component backed by an herbal, vinous note I couldn't identify until I saw Nelson Sauvin listed in the ingredients. Not a super common hop yet, but it is quickly and easaiy identifiable, and adds a complexity and vinous earthy touch to Drifter, which I'd shaping up to be a good one.

Drifter is a very good pale. Different enough to stand out in a very crowded market but well within the realm of the style. The herbal component is nice, and the citrus notes are prominent. Light and ways to drink, befitting the style. Excellent effort.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Part of the Brothers' Best Variety Pack. Pours a translucent dark amber color with very little head. Some lacing. Spicy aroma of floral and citrus hops. Smells a bit sweet. Tastes basically how it smells. Not as hoppy as I thought it would be but still has some floral and citrus as well as some caramel flavor. Fair amount of malt flavor along with some sweetness. Slightly bitter at the end. Has an overall bready taste to it. This beer is alright in a mix pack but I wouldn't get it on its own.

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Photo of csiewert
4.01/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear amber color with a trace of head that doesn't lace or retain well. The aroma is pretty fantastic with notes of citrus hops, as well as a little sweet malt. The taste starts with bready caramel malt characteristics and then finishes with citrus and grassy hops. The mouthfeel is balanced, but slightly empty. Overall a great pale ale.

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

Appearance is a darker orange amber with a thin but steady head and fair lace. Smell of lightly sweet malt and floral citric hops. Taste has a good balance of the sweet malt and floral citric hops with a note of grapefruit and pine that finishes clean. Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. What I would consider a hearty pale ale that goes down nicely.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass. Copper/amber in color, with a moderate off-white head of foam.
Aroma-Toasted malt
Taste-Faint citrus zest, toasted malt, subtle caramel, nice hop bite adds balance. Tasty and snappy, a very nice American Pale. Certainly worth a try.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber body with a small but persistent off-white head, thick glass-coating lace, and moderate carbonation.

Aroma: Sweet caramel malt notes and moderate herbal hops, simple, but pleasing.

Taste: Opens with caramel and lesser toasted malt, with a moderate undercurrent of herbal bitterness. The hops and malt are very well balanced and compliment each other well, rather than clashing. As the taste draws to a close the hops offer a graceful flourish of herbal bitterness.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A very well-balanced American Pale Ale. Although this not a favorite style of mine, (I favor less hoppy, more malty beers), it is more than excellent enough to be a "fallback" beer. Well done.

Presentation: Packaged in a custom twelve-ounce longneck bottle, served in a standard Pilsener glass.

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Photo of tjsmith910
3.11/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Weird enjoyment to this beer well after the fact though. After I was done with this beer and ready for another beer of similar type, My mind and taste buds were saying go ahead, grab another Drifter. I was not real impressed with this beer at first, but it grew on me.

A - Nice color and beautiful look in a pint glass.

S - I have no sence of smell so I always rate as 3.0 average

T - Nothing special, A bit thick and just the right amount of Bitter and Caramel

M - flows nicely and pure feeling for the after

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz glass of dark red goodness. Almost no head but a good ring around the glass makes me think it was just the pour. The aroma has a solid amount of caramel and sourdough but that is dominated by a large amount of orange citrus and grapefruit. I was expecting more malt in the flavor but I was overwhelmed with fruity hop flavors. A ton of grapefruit and orange, like the nose, but with a tasty combination of malt and hops that is fruity, tangy and sweet. This went down very smooth because of how tasty it was. Medium/light body with a juicy, thirst quenching finish.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear coppery amber with a one-finger cream-colored head. Head retention is so-so, lacing is medium.

Smell has a bit of caramel malt, some grassy hops. They claim it's heavy on the citrus, but I get almost none. Basically a balance of caramel malts and grassy hops, both weaker than I would like.

Taste starts out with a light does of sweet caramel malts before some hop bitterness comes on that carries through most of the taste. I find it to be weak, not super flavorful in any way. Having a hard time finding positive or negative things to say about it.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, slightly sticky, with tingly carbonation.

This beer is pretty blah. Not much malt flavor, not much hops other than bitterness that's also blah. Don't have a whole lot more to say about it.

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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 krausenman
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Drifter Pale Ale pours a copper color and shows some white lacing around the glass as the foam cap subsides.

S-Initailly, the aroma was tropical-like fruits, such as mango or passion fruit, with some pine tree and floral aroma but as the beer warmed the tropical scent changed more to a citrusy orange and grapefruit aroma. While it wasn't intense it was persistant enough that it continued the whole time it took me to drink the beer.

T-You can taste some caramel/malty sweetness at first that is backed by the hop bitterness. The hopping could be higher to balance the caramel/malty sweetness but the beer doesn't suffer without it. The bitterness is clean and and finishes after you swallow the beer not leaving an astringent taste in the mouth. The one odd note I tasted was a subtle "chalky" taste. While it didn't detract from the quality of the beer I was suprised by it not being filtered out.

M-The beer is carbonated to a medium level and has a light to light-medium mouthfeel.

O-Drifter Pale Ale is overall a drinkable pale ale with an impressive aroma. The lighter body and carbonation makes one able to have more than one pint in a session. The beer could handle more hop bittering to secure it's place being called an "American Pale Ale" but with this being said it was definately enjoyable.

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