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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

936 Ratings
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

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: 936 | Reviews: 406 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ExtraStout
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

ExtraStout, Sep 11, 2010
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

BeerAdvocate, Sep 10, 2010
Photo of biboergosum
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

biboergosum, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of Malt
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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!!!

Malt, Sep 03, 2010
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

feloniousmonk, Aug 07, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Beerandraiderfan, Aug 04, 2010
Photo of Parrotbeak
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Parrotbeak, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of leokbelo
4.53/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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!

leokbelo, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of Amalak
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Amalak, Jul 20, 2010
Photo of coastiefish
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12ouncer>pint glass.

A- A crisp copper, very inviting

S- zesty citrus (mostly grapefruit), grassy and a bit floral.

T- a bit of sour on the nose going in for the taste--interesting. Little grassy and plenty hints of caramels floating throughout, for example, I am able to pick up on burnt caramel and creamy caramel.

M- Carbonated body gives it a nice texture.

D- This beer is very drinkable, for all. It serves a purpose. It is a well done American Pale Ale, that would do very well at a function, or just to have around during the summer. Its enjoyable, especially those fun caramel notes.

coastiefish, Jul 18, 2010
Photo of gameface23
2.35/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Hazy amber with a silky, creamy off-white head.

S: Slight citrus hops and a heft dosage of caramel malts.

T: The taste starts off with a tongue coating of thick and rich caramel, which becomes ever-so-slightly cut with citrus bitterness, but not to an extent that prevents the beer from being cloying. I really didn't enjoy this. Looking up the malts on Widmer's website, it says, "PALE, CARAMEL 20L, CARAVIENNE 20L, CARAMEL 80L, CARAPILS." The fact that they use three caramel malts doesn't surprise me.

M: Medium bodied

D: I finished it, but moved on to other selections after the first one. Maybe this would be a good beer to have in the fall or winter, but on a hot summer day, I needed something with more bitterness or less caramel.

gameface23, Jul 09, 2010
Photo of ChrisCage
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark amber color with a cream colored head. Itself, the head isn't really thick but doesn't disappear entirely, settling down to a thick layer over the brew. Lacing is nice and sticky, but slightly streaky. There appeared to be lots of heavy carbonation after the initial pour but it settled down to fine bubbles that rise slowly.

S- Big time citrus aromas, primarily of grapefruit, but also with milder tones of orange and lemon. There is also some wonderful bitter hop aromas going on here, and I like them so much because they aren't overpowering but are heavy enough that you really notice them. The malt sweetness is there as well but it isn't a dominant smell. A true smelling APA!

T- A very nice balanced flavor overall but not as intense as the aromas let on. The malt sweetness hits the palate right away, followed closely by a citrus combination of grapefruit, and to a lesser extent, orange, lemon and lime. There's a fresh, clean leafy hop bitterness to help smooth out the aforementioned flavors. The bitterness clings to the palate for a short while after the swallow.

M- This is a medium bodied beer, that is a nice balance of clean & crisp flavors, mixed in with a creamy texture that the oils of the hops have brought out well. Carbonation is relatively fine, which help out with keeping the texture smooth.

D- A very nice beer to satisfy a person's thirst....I personally don't think I'd drink it all night though. It's a very nice patio beer and I think that it would do well with a salad dressed with a tart vinaigrette! The acidity and bitterness would also help balance out a spicier dish. A very good example of this style!

ChrisCage, Jul 08, 2010
Photo of jdense
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass 7.5.2010.

Clear amber body, prolific amount of carbonation rising from bottom of glass. One finger white head, creamy, slow dissipation with significant lacing. Hop forward aroma, some citrus and floral notes, bready malts more noticeable than caramel, pretty dry nose. Medium full mouthfeel, good effervescence. Taste is a bit sweeter than the nose would appear, hops are floral, grassy with minimal bitterness in finish. Not my favorite APA, but a nice hoppy interpretation. Pretty drinkable. Worth a try.

jdense, Jul 07, 2010
Photo of JerseyPaul
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Hazy, orange/copper color with some carbonation; off white head dissipates quickly, leaving slight lacing

Smell: Sweet malt w/ slight caramel; nice citrus hop aroma, with some floral and pine notes

Taste: Slight caramel sweetness up front, followed by citrusy hops; bitterness is smooth, not overpowering; finishes crisp

Mouthfeel: Medium to light body with good carbonation; crisp & smooth

Drinkability: Mild bitterness, along with the citrus flavor & slight sweetness, make this very drinkable; can easily polish off a six pack of this in one sitting

Overall, Drifter Pale Ale is an easy to drink, yet tasteful APA. This is a nice starter beer for someone who has yet to try this style. Its mild bitterness allows for easy consumption, unlike some of the hop bombs that are produced by other craft brewers.

JerseyPaul, Jul 04, 2010
Photo of wahhmaster
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Corned Beef & Co. shaker pint.

Appearance: Pours a light brown color with a thin, fizzy head that dissipates quickly and leaves spotty lacing.

Smell: Smells of fruity hops with hints of caramel malts.

Taste: Bitter to begin. Develops a citrusy flavors with hints of caramel malts. This is one really stresses the grapefruit/citrus flavors. It's quite nice...

Mouthfeel: A little thin but still crisp and relatively refreshing.

Drinkability: A pretty enjoyable APA. It's not the most flavorful out there but it has a unique citrus flavor to it that's very appealing. The bitterness is pretty mild which makes this very drinkable. Definitely worth a try.

wahhmaster, Jun 29, 2010
Photo of palma
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle found at a princess lunch at disney world epcot center. Pours a golden orange with good head that fades quickly and leaves a small lac. Excellent hop aroma. Taste is juicy grapefruit upfront followed by a mild maltiness. Hops are not biting in the least. A very easy drinking pale yet has plenty of hops flavor

palma, Jun 29, 2010
Photo of lofsoc
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The smell of this beer is really attractive. I generally hesitate buying beer from the left coast(being from the right) but wanted to try a number of new ales. I'm glad I did. I have many friends who, despite my best efforts, drink right from the bottle. Shame on them as they would be missing a great asset of this brew.

lofsoc, Jun 25, 2010
Photo of uustal
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Distinct grapefruit/citrus aroma. Smooth/rich body with a medium amount of malt. Tastes just as it smells. The grapefruit/citrus flavor is evident, but well done. Nice sweetness. Finishes with a taste of citrus hops. Very good American Pale Ale, although a little light on the hops.

uustal, Jun 23, 2010
Photo of chickenflea
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12-oz bottle. Clear amber color. Light airy head. Marked citrus aroma with some floral notes. Light body. Medium sweetness up front. Some tanic notes. A dry slightly astringent finish. Interesting but the metallic side notes take too much away from this beer. Needs a food pairing to complement the finish, but I see that as a negative.

chickenflea, Jun 20, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.43/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

On-tap at the Rays game, at Tropicana Field.

A - Pours a rich, deep amber hue with a generous white head and copious lace (on the Tropicana Field cup.)

S - It smells of great tropical hoppiness, citrus, tangerine, pineapple, mango, lemon, some caramel as well. Fantastic.

T - The flavor is everything I want in an APA (although on the sweet-ish side): heavily fruity hop notes including essences of grapefruit, coconut, pineapple, mango, and with a slightly piney finish. Outstanding.

M - This part is a bit underperforming, but only relative to the rest of its strengths; it just doesn't have the substantive feel that I want, but it has proper carbonation and relative weight.

D - This is very good stuff, unjustly maligned or underappreciated. Every time I've had it on-tap, I've been very pleased.

ktrillionaire, Jun 16, 2010
Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a rocky head that retains reasonably well and leaves some shards of lace

Smell: Bread and caramel malt undertones buttress the grapefruit pith, with the vinous impact of the Nelson Sauvin hops clearly discernable

Taste: Opens with a bread and caramel character that is quickly joined by the pithy and vinous hop flavors; after the swallow, the malt bill re-asserts itself, providing a balanced finish though there is some residual sweetness in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body and moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A very nice, middle-of-the-road APA that adds some interesting elements while not risking accessibility

brentk56, Jun 15, 2010
Photo of smcolw
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

smcolw, Jun 12, 2010
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 generalnotsew
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: I must be going crazy tonight. All my styles seem mixed. The coloring is very dark amberish typical of an IPA. Head was gone pretty damn quick but I am not the biggest head fan.

S: Kind of subdued smells in the nose. A faint bit of hops with a stronger citrus presence. Kind of sweetish.

T: Sweet tangy citric hops upfront. Has more of an IPA taste than a pale ale. Has a nice little hop tingle. Quite honestly pretty damn good for a modest low value brewer.

M: Things are still going strong in this department. Nice oily mouthfeel and good carbonation.

D: This is a very easy drinking beer. Quite refreshing and not too heavy.

At $2 less per sixer than some of the bigger guys I would Widmer has a hit a home run with this. Sure it isn't the best in it's class but it is a damn fine beer especially for the price. Heck it is a fine beer even without the price.

generalnotsew, May 27, 2010
Photo of ABOWMan
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

L: This ale poured a nice copper tan color with perfect clarity. There was an ample two fingers of tan head which was rather short lived. There is some modest lacing in the glass.

S: Wonderful aroma of clover, honey, and malt with some dried hay as well.

T: Nice upfront flavor of sweet malt with some bitter hop bite to follow. After my palate cleared, I detected some grassy notes that seemed out of place and they detracted somewhat from the experience. All-in-all, not a bad tasting experience, and one of the better pale ales I've tasted.

M: Modestly rich for a pale ale with the appropriate amount of cling on the tongue.

D: A light and refreshing brew. Easily drinkable and one of its strongest attributes. Would gladly sip another.

ABOWMan, May 17, 2010
Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 936 ratings.