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Drifter Pale Ale - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Drifter Pale AleDrifter Pale Ale

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

927 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 927
Reviews: 406
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.6%
Wants: 22
Gots: 26 | 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

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

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: 927 | Reviews: 406 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Messiahbolical


3.85/5  rDev +2.7%

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.

11-29-2010 18:42:25 | More by Messiahbolical
Photo of FreshHawk


3.93/5  rDev +4.8%

A - Clear, radiant pumpkin color with a slightly smaller than average, foamy, bubbly, white head. Decent retention leaving only a thin ring of lace.

S - Sweet orange and grapefruit citrus hops and caramel malt is strongest. Some tea like hops as well. Pretty hoppy aroma for a pale ale, but smells like it will be more sweet than bitter.

T - Follows the nose. Plenty of sweet orange and grapefruit (some tropical fruit as well). This mixes with a pretty strong showing of caramel malt. Some tea like hops and some light biscuit/bready malt in the background. The hops don't provide much bitterness though.

M - Lighter body with average carbonation. A little thin, but really pretty much a typical body for a pale ale.

D - Pretty easy to drink pale ale. Nothing overly special, but I enjoyed drinking it, and wouldn't turn down another one.

Notes: A good level of hops, but not really bitter, much more sweet. Orange, grapefruit, and some tropical fruit along with caramel provide most of the flavor. I enjoyed it, but I don't know if I would search it out.

11-29-2010 06:52:05 | More by FreshHawk
Photo of TheKingofWichita

North Carolina

4.6/5  rDev +22.7%

First of all, I want to get this out of the way. I am not really a hop head and tend not to like beer on the high end of the bitterness spectrum. I know this style is usually bitter (for me) and I tend not to love pale ales in general. But this beer was fantastic!
Poured into a Widmer Brothers pint glass at a local bar not known for their craft beer selection.
Pours a dark amber color with a thick luxurious off white yellowish head and mountains of lacing left on the glass after each and every sip. When held to the light it shone ruby hues on the table at the bar. Smells of pineapple, grapefruit, other citrus peel/zest, hop aroma, and a faint sweetness. Tastes of subtle bitterness from the hops, strong grapefruit notes throughout, with a well blended balance of malts to round out the flavors. I also noticed pineapple and pine and a little grass in there. A very dry finish with biscuit notes dominated the ending of the brew. Mouthfeel was medium and somewhat creamy with a mild carbonation that gave the beer good life. Drinkability is very high. I really enjoyed the beer.

11-25-2010 14:29:00 | More by TheKingofWichita
Photo of AdamBear


2.83/5  rDev -24.5%

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.

11-22-2010 03:28:50 | More by AdamBear
Photo of IntriqKen


3.68/5  rDev -1.9%

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.

11-11-2010 22:46:21 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of PDX2LA


4.08/5  rDev +8.8%

Has a nice amber color, but not a whole lot of head. When I initially smelled it I got a ton of fruit. The second time I smelled it, I got a nice bouquet of flowers. As fas as taste, I got a a lot of fruit up front and a nice subtle bitterness on the back end. It had a nice clean finish and no lingering after taste.

Overall, this is a good beer. It is refreshing, easy to drink, and tasty. If it wasn't for the alcohol in this beer, it would be a great replacement for water and soft drinks.

11-08-2010 00:28:45 | More by PDX2LA
Photo of epicness

New York

4.13/5  rDev +10.1%

A - Pours an orange-amber color with a frothy white cap. There was pretty good head retention throughout the tasting with decent lacing from a nice ring and cloud that stayed on the top of the beer.

S - Huge aroma of hoppiness and light caramel malts with traces of some pine.

T - A different taste based on the scent. Surpising. Citrus hops are present in the taste which I didn't find at all in the scent, even after I was tasting the beer. The finish is made up totally of bready and caramel malts. It's a great tasting beer, very flavorful, something I wasn't expecting at all.

M - Low bodied and slightly thin. Low carbonation also. Interesting how there's barely any aftertaste, it just rolls right off the tongue.

D - It's refreshing and sessionable. It's crisp and smooth to drink. Although it's a pale ale, it really has no true bitterness substance to it.

11-05-2010 14:12:37 | More by epicness
Photo of keeganfrank


4.33/5  rDev +15.5%

Had on tap at Galvin's in Georgetown, KY. Didn't see it being poured, but arrived with little head. Much of the glass was covered with lacing as I drank it, though. Beer is a transparent copper, way more transparent than ale usually is. Smells just like sweet grapefruit. Tastes just like sweet grapefruit. So much so that I can't even bring myself to find other flavors or scents. Drifter is very crisp and satisfying to drink, I could have had two or three more pints.

10-24-2010 00:16:18 | More by keeganfrank
Photo of gkunkle


3.28/5  rDev -12.5%

Pours a transparent copper color with very little head, I tried to pour aggressively, but couldn't get much more than a quarter inch that quickly dissipated. I can smell some fruit as well as a little malt. The taste was where this one fell short for me. Its a little stronger on the malt side, and I am getting a fruity taste I don't like. (I usually enjoy a little fruityness in the background of a beer, but this was odd) The aftertaste wasn't very pleasing either. Mouthfeel was fine, just how a pale ale should be. Meduim/light body with medium carbonation. Overall, I love Widmer, but there are other Pale Ales that I have access to that I enjoy more, this one was only average to me.

10-23-2010 18:15:46 | More by gkunkle
Photo of Thorpe429


3.53/5  rDev -5.9%

Reviewed from notes.

Pours copper colored with a light white head and some sticky lacing. The nose is surprisingly quite bright with some fairly heavy citrus notes and a bit of caramel. The taste is similar with some hoppy citrus flavors coming through as well as a bit of pine. Some caramel and bread in the background. Not much bitterness in the mouthfeel; the hops are definitely more there in the flavor and aroma departments. Drinks fairly well and while not nearly my favorite, it's something that more and more is becoming the best option at a lot of places.

10-21-2010 10:33:49 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of thecarster1


3/5  rDev -20%

a- one finger of head fades quick to a spotty layer of lace, orange amber coloring.

s- all malt here, some sweetness, maybe a touch of vanilla and a hint of hops.

t- malt heavy pale ale, some slight citric hops kick in on the back end.

m- medium body.

d- this is an average pale ale, nothing sticks out as being really great, i wouldn't seek this one out.

10-09-2010 19:53:07 | More by thecarster1
Photo of B967ierhunter177


2.7/5  rDev -28%

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.

10-05-2010 22:39:50 | More by B967ierhunter177
Photo of shand


3.78/5  rDev +0.8%

16 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass, manufactured 7/1/10

Appearance: Pours a wonderful orangish amber with a nice half-inch head with good retention.

Smell: Citruses dominate the smell, with just a hint of appealing malt.

Taste: Wonderful. A hoppy citrus with just a hint of tropical fruits dominates the start, giving way to a slightly yeasty malt. The aftertaste lingers for a while and is great, with a perfect balance of hops and malts. It's very crisp, and is great in warmer weather. I do sometimes get a bit of a metallic taste which puills this down just a bit.

Mouthfeel: Just the right amount of carbonation for the style.

Drinkability: Goes down very easy. Could down a few of these no problem. The wonderful after-taste forces me to drink these slowly though.

All in all this is an exceptional american pale ale, and it's cheap too! For the 7 bucks a six-pack I can find this for locally, it's a no brainer. It's probably not quite as good as Sierra Nevada, but it's still great if you want a little more citrus in your pale ale. As it is it's a wonderful warm-up beer for a great session.

10-01-2010 03:23:35 | More by shand
Photo of nukem5


3.55/5  rDev -5.3%

A: Nice copper pour with a 3/4 cap of tan foam which dissapates within 2 minutes.

S: Great aroma of hoppiness and light malts with traces of some piney and mostly citrusy.

T: Very crisp and clean and great with a nice sharper cheese I enjoyed it with a Dubliner.

M: Nice the way it quickly dissapears from the tongue, but very good flavor while there.

D: Very drinkable and smooth could drink a few of these easy!

09-30-2010 05:56:24 | More by nukem5
Photo of cbutova


3.68/5  rDev -1.9%

A- Orange-amber with a frothy white cap. Good head retention and some spotty lace from a nice ring and cloud.

S- Nice fresh tropical fruit on top of a light caramel malt backdrop. Leading to hopefully good things here. Some floral notes as well.

T- Much maltier than the nose. It starts out with citrus hop notes and some fruit. Finishes with a blast of huge bready malt, a bit of caramel too. Flavorful.

MF- A bit thin/watery right off the bat. A bit of creaminess and low end carbonation. Just a little bit weak. Low bitterness.

DB- Sessionable flavor. Not very bitter or tiring. I have had this one a few times and am still satisfied by it. Refreshing and nicely priced.

09-29-2010 01:20:32 | More by cbutova
Photo of SteelKettle


3.85/5  rDev +2.7%

Appearance: copper color with nice thick head with good retention and nice lacing
Smell: hops with hints of citrus and pine
Taste: hops with a malty and citrus flavor with a clean bitter finish
Mouthfeel: good carbonation and medium body with a clean feel
Drinkability: very very drinkable enjoy a lot drank out of a pint glass.

09-15-2010 20:58:57 | More by SteelKettle
Photo of ExtraStout


3.28/5  rDev -12.5%

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.

09-11-2010 00:57:16 | More by ExtraStout
Photo of BeerAdvocate


3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

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.

09-10-2010 12:55:25 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev -2.7%

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.

09-03-2010 23:26:16 | More by biboergosum
Photo of Malt


3.88/5  rDev +3.5%

This beer is more amber color than the Drop Top Widmer makes. Good lacing(drinking it in a pint glass right now). Minimal carbonation, very thin head and there is hardly any citrus taste to me and my brother(we are rating this as we speak).. My brother says( IT'LL GETCHA DRUNK)!!!! LOL... Anyways we like this better than the other Widmer product... I would definatly buy this one again!!!

09-03-2010 05:21:52 | More by Malt
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.48/5  rDev -7.2%

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.

08-07-2010 06:15:05 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.88/5  rDev +3.5%

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.

08-04-2010 21:41:03 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of Parrotbeak


4.1/5  rDev +9.3%

Hazy light amber with a thin, off-white head that fades, becoming patchy. Little bit of lacing.
Smell is bready malts, with assertive citrus and piney hops. Pineapple, lemon peel, orange, and mango notes accompany.
Taste is similar to the aroma. Slightly bready/crackery malts with some citrus hops that have a faint piney aspect. Some pineapple and orange notes as well.
Mouthfeel is crisp, with a bit of bite from the hops. Finish is fairly clean, with a touch of stickiness. Light-to-medium body, and a moderate level of carbonation.
Drinkability is very good. Refreshing and tasty.

07-30-2010 02:03:44 | More by Parrotbeak
Photo of leokbelo


4.53/5  rDev +20.8%

Had this one while on vacation at Florida's west coast (was able to bring some back home!).
Pours a lively copper, with a nice inch head, that dissipates into a niche half inch lacing. Right away you get a lot of hops on the nose, its bouquet is quite something. Piney and citrusy, made me think of Passion Fruit. Sweet and malty on the tongue, with a very moderate hop bitterness. Again, Passion Fruit!
Extremely drinkable.
This is one great American Pale Ale! Funny thing was that at first, before tasting it, it makes you think of an IPA, right away. So much hops on the nose, but very moderate on the tongue.
Excellent beer, one that I have never seen around the Miami area, so I'll be sad if I can't find it around here...
HIGHLY recommended!

07-22-2010 02:58:45 | More by leokbelo
Photo of Amalak

New York

3.6/5  rDev -4%

I had off the tap a Barcade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
A- It has a copper color, basically clear, with a nice head and some lacing.
S- It has a sweet scent, probably caramel.
T- Sure enough, the caramel definitely comes through. It has a hoppy bitterness to it. But I don't know. It lacks a little something. Maybe more of a floral taste would've been nice. The sweet and hops aren't mixing for me. Not bad. I'd like to try again.

07-20-2010 21:22:52 | More by Amalak
Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 927 ratings.