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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

929 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 929
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
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Ratings: 929 | Reviews: 406 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ChopperSmith


4.22/5  rDev +12.5%

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark amber with a thin white head.

Smell: Floral and pine hops are the main scent for this one.

Taste: I was pleasantly surprised at this one, much more flavorful and a nice floral and grapefruit hops flavor. Not a lot of malt here, but the hops are the star in this APA.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A decent flavorful American Pale Ale. Would definitely seek this out and drink it again.

09-06-2009 22:02:07 | More by ChopperSmith
Photo of biggred1


3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

Dark cinnamon orange with a fine creamy tan cap that leave sheets of lace behind on the glass. The nose is fresh and hoppy with pineapple, toasted grain and plenty of caramel maltiness. Caramel slathered toast with a mild resinous hop bite that lingers into the finish. Medium bodied and mildly carbonated. This is far and away the best WBBC offering I've had. A pretty spot on PA and perfect session ale.

09-04-2009 23:22:33 | More by biggred1
Photo of msubulldog25


3.65/5  rDev -2.7%

12 oz. bottle, fished from a mixed 12-pack that's been in the office fridge for a few weeks. no markings on the bottle, though the box shows 'Packaged on Jun0409'.

Under the cap: A PROST: To Being Tall Enough for the Ride!

A: Hazed auburn/amber, a gentle swirl of fine silt, really no carbonation visible. Head is minimal, a squat ivory cream that's quickly reduced to a gauzy film and thin ring.

S: Nice aroma: sugared caramel sweetness, roasted nuts and a fairly strong dose of piney and lemony/citrus hops. Actually really nice; the more i sniff, the more wonderful it becomes.

T: Cakey sweetness with a rounding-out hop zest. Quite lemony, not sure what to make of it; an iced scone, maybe? Cereal grain holds a honey sweetness, hops pull their weight but seem subdued but for that tangy lemon zest.

M: Fairly bland feel, not sure whether this is 3 months in the bottle talking (not unreasonable), or just a boring mouthfeel. Going with the latter. Low carbonation, mild zest, sweetened finish.

D: Decent enough; when I first tried this back in late winter/early spring I was more impressed than I have been in subsequent tries. Not sure if the newness wore off, later batches were lacking or what exactly. All I know is it's easy enough to drink, but doesn't do much to set it apart from the pack.

09-04-2009 00:31:41 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of oriolesfan4


3.73/5  rDev -0.5%

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.

08-30-2009 19:44:04 | More by oriolesfan4
Photo of beachbum1975


2.98/5  rDev -20.5%

12 ounce bottle. Per the label, bottled on 05-20-2009. Neat old school label. The label makes me wanna go to the Pacific Northwest and fish or something.

Poued into my tulip, a clear, medium brown with blonde highlights. Average tan head with average retention.

Smells like your average pale ale. Light to moderate pale malts with a light citrus tinge.

Slightly watery mouthfeel echoing the nose in flavor. Surprisingly low carbonation.


08-29-2009 00:06:46 | More by beachbum1975
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

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.

08-24-2009 12:33:20 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of thartman


3.53/5  rDev -5.9%

Poured form a 12oz bottle dark copper color, decent finger sized head with good retention. some sticky lacing left on the glass and lots of noticable carbonation. Smell of toasted malts, citrusy hops, and hay. Well balance taste of hops and malt, dry on the finish. Body on the light side, some lingering hops and malt on the finish. Slightly sweet. Nothing special, but overall a decent brew.

08-22-2009 22:31:43 | More by thartman
Photo of drtth


3.98/5  rDev +6.1%

Served in a standard shaker glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a clear bright copper color with a slightly off-white ¼" head that recedes slowly but relatively soon to a ring around the glass with some foam in middle. By the end this is pretty much gone. Sipping initially leaves some nice sheets and speckles of lacing, but soon sipping yields only some speckles of lacing on the sides through most of the beer.

Smell: The aroma is clearly citrus hops with some piney character as well. This is backed up by a nice rich caramel malts component.

Taste: The nose pretty much predicts the flavor, with its caramel malt backbone and sweetness balancing the citrus hops. The flavors are quite crisp, clean, and well balanced as the malt backbone supports the hops and gives them a rich counterpoint without either malt or hops overpowering the other.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied with good carbonation throughout most of the beer. The fairly long finish begins in the balance of the hops and malt stretching out to and ending that is dry and just bitter enough.

Drinkability: I'd say this is good solid APA. I'd be happy to have another and may if it is still on tap next time I'm here, but on the other hand there are some other APAs I'd prefer given my choice

08-15-2009 02:05:54 | More by drtth
Photo of indiapaleale


4/5  rDev +6.7%

Sometimes a beer will surprise you...enter Drifter...r

Pours a VERY dark auburn, amber almost brown color. The head on this is quite thin and the carbonation levels look kinda low, however the color and clarity of this beer look really nice in the glass.

The aroma is ridiculous tropical fruit. It will be your first hint that this is not like all the other pale ales you could have chosen from the cooler. I'd say mango and papaya sum up those smells and I am not kidding at all. This beer has an aroma that beats out a ton of other pale ales. Definitely some hop bitterness coming out but those tropical fruit smells are unbelievable.

Taste is that of lots of tropical fruit, citrusy hops and definitely a nice balance of malt. Altogether its hard to beat a combination like this. Guava? Can I taste that, I think so. I am basically getting a lot of those expensive fruits squashed into my mouth with a dose of hopes just for the hell of it. The balance is great, wow, I love this stuff.

I have to be honest, this is definitely one of my favorite pale ales available right now. The flavors and drinkability (yeah that word sucks, I know) are incredible. Its a hot and humid summer day in New England and this is what I crave.

Cheers Widmer Brothers! Great job on this one!!!

08-13-2009 03:25:28 | More by indiapaleale
Photo of tblfan04


3.63/5  rDev -3.2%

Pours nice with a copper/brown appearance with a good summer cherry smell to it. with the first taste it has a good crisp almost fruity taste with a decent drinkabilty and I can taste a nice hint of the Hops which is always nice however not the best Pale Ale I have ever had maybe not even in my top 5 but a good pale ale none the less. I might buy it again if Sierra Nevada is not on the shelf

08-13-2009 01:08:09 | More by tblfan04
Photo of riversider76

New York

3.85/5  rDev +2.7%

Pours amber golden brown I'm going to call it. Thin white head, with some retention and nice lacing. Aroma is of grassy piney hops with a hint of caramel. Body is light with just a hint of carbonation. Taste is light yet full flavored. Good mix of bready malts and grassy hops.Hints of grapefruit too. Very enjoyable.

08-12-2009 00:13:52 | More by riversider76
Photo of morebeergood


3.43/5  rDev -8.5%

Pleasantly surprised to see this on tap at the Atlantic Beer Garden in the Seaport District. Served in a normal pint glass. No head whatsoever. Dark orange in color. Nice carbonation. Can definitely smell some hops. Pronounced hop flavor, but balanced nicely with a touch of malt. Not overly hoppy like an IPA, but I think a decent take at a pale ale. Not overly impressed with the mouthfeel, but I found myself ordering two at dinner. It was just good enough that I didn't mind another. Paired well with barfood apps and a burger.

08-10-2009 23:37:55 | More by morebeergood
Photo of beertunes


2.73/5  rDev -27.2%

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.

08-10-2009 20:30:36 | More by beertunes
Photo of Gambrinus1184


3.45/5  rDev -8%

Served on-tap in a plain pint glass at Boru's in Waterbury, Conn.

A: Poured a dark amber color with a slight head of tight white foam which reduced to a thin lace.

S: Smells a little sweet and spicy due to some oily hop resins. A light aroma, but more substantial that what I expected.

T: Taste is a little thick and sweet at the get-go, with roasted caramel malts and burning, unbalanced hop resins clogging the palate, but it smooths out a bit towards the finish as the sweeter malts thin out the slightly chemical hop flavor which dissipates.

M: Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied for an APA and not really the easiest to drink.

D: Perhaps something was afoul with the tap lines here, but this Drifter was one to let pass me by. Not bad to try, but I'd be hard pressed to session the motha. Not terrible, but buyer beware.

08-09-2009 05:58:16 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of superdedooperboy


3.85/5  rDev +2.7%

Picked up a sixer of this at a Class Six in Fort Benning, GA.

12 oz. bottle poured into a pub glass.

Pours a clear, deep copper hue with a rather disappointingly thin, bubbly head of off-white foam that disappears quickly and leaves behind virtually nothing of itself on the walls of the glass.

I smell dry-hopping! Aroma is a full onslaught of American hop goodness, bright, floral and citrusy, with loads of grapefruit and orange. Quite delightful and very inviting.

Light-to-medium in body with a bit of a lively carbonation. Sadly, the flavors aren't quite as delightful as the aroma. Slight caramel sweetness shows itself up front, moving into a mildly bitter middle with rather one-dimensional herbal hop notes; develops into a slightly bittersweet, medium-dry finish with a bit of lingering caramel sweetness.

Quite drinkable, though not the most complex Pale Ale out there. Still, it is quite a cut above the mediocre-at-best "Hefeweizen" that is the brewery's flagship beer; this one should be bumped into that status, as the nose alone is enough to win out over the Hefeweizen any day.

08-09-2009 02:07:38 | More by superdedooperboy
Photo of Tone


3.63/5  rDev -3.2%

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.

08-07-2009 02:09:38 | More by Tone
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

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.

08-06-2009 22:23:51 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of projectflam86


3.83/5  rDev +2.1%

A- Pours a deep bronze amber color with a thick fluffy white foam that leaves nice rings of lace.

S- Some light floral hop aromas and caramel malt.

T- Nice crisp hop bitterness initially with some light citrus and floral flavors. Some fairly noticeable sweet malt in the finish that balances nicely.

M- Medium body with ok carbonation.

D- Nothing spectacular but a nice easy flavor and feel.

08-06-2009 02:57:53 | More by projectflam86
Photo of dmamiano

West Virginia

3.78/5  rDev +0.8%

Polished copper pour with a one finger head that faded to a ring rather quickly. Some lacing left behind.
Big citrus hoppiness on the nose. Hard tack candy come to mind.
Bites of orange, sour grapefruit seem to dominate this one. Decent malt backing, but seems to be left behind. Bitter eges burn on the tongue.
Feel is average. Not bad at all.

08-04-2009 23:17:46 | More by dmamiano
Photo of thekevlarkid


4.08/5  rDev +8.8%

Out of a bottle this beer was a clear copper color with a little rising carbonation. The one finger of rust-colored head displayed mediocre retention and acceptable lacing. The aroma was wild! Sweet and tropical fruits most notably papaya and guava with only hints of malt behind the gushing, fruity hops presence. The flavors were equally hop oriented but much less fruity and floral. I tasted the hops again first followed by some sweet, doughy malt and a little wood followed by the tropical and citrusy hops that made for a clean finish. The mouthfeel was good, the body medium and the carbonation solid. I enjoy sweeter beers and this definitely was one; for my palate it was sessionable and enjoyable.

08-03-2009 17:48:08 | More by thekevlarkid
Photo of MetalHopHead6


3.8/5  rDev +1.3%

12oz bottle poured into a shaped pint glass.

Drifter Pale Ale poured a nice dark copper with a three-finger head that didn't stick and disappeared quickly.

Fruit popped in the smell and taste, with hints of grapefruit and peaches. The feel was bubbly and weak, with only slight bitterness. It was very refreshing.

Drifter Pale Ale is a good summer ale with a great deal of flavor; however, it leaves nothing behind--on the glass or the palate.

08-01-2009 00:39:19 | More by MetalHopHead6
Photo of ZimZamZoom

West Virginia

3.85/5  rDev +2.7%

A nice deep copper color, thick tan head leaves a serious lacing behind. Pretty!

Nice caramel sweet malt aroma, with grassy hops. Good balance to the aroma and it is very enticing. Taste has a nice lemony grass hop profile, The hops only turns subtly bitter in the end, as the sweet caramel blends nicely with the lemon for a nice balanced finish. If anything it is a touch sweet. THis is a nice tasting APA.

Medium bodied, a nice round feel mildly syrupy in the finish. Carbonation is on the low side.

08-01-2009 00:30:41 | More by ZimZamZoom
Photo of Boto


3.78/5  rDev +0.8%

Draught: This one pours a clear amber color with a decent sized off-white head. It leaves some lacing down the side of the glass. The aroma is interesting. There are grassy, earthy hops and another aroma in there it too. Others have said spruce, but I think it almost smells like a whiff of mint. The same characteristic translates into the taste. It is slightly bitter, with a decent body. The earthy and grassy hops are there, but so is the other hop note. Maybe it is psychological from the aroma, but I get a faint taste of mint.

08-01-2009 00:07:36 | More by Boto
Photo of babaracas


3.6/5  rDev -4%

Poured from brown bottle born in mid june. A clear dark amber / orange with thin eggshell head. Smell: bready malt with a piney, lemony, vaguely grapefruity hop character. Taste: sweet bready and caramel malt with a light citrus kick, and a touch of an odd musty astringency. The hop character is fine but the malt is too sweet and a bit funky. A little on the thin side too. Not bad but won't return.

07-30-2009 21:38:46 | More by babaracas
Photo of Durge


3.88/5  rDev +3.5%

I was very surprised to find this on tap at the down and dirty (but always entertaining) Cousin Larry's cafe in Danbury, CT. This poured cold into a pint glass with a cloudy dark amber color and a goodly light tan head with good lacing. I got a decent grapefruit/lemon aroma with some bready malt. The flavor takes on a sharper but less flavorful bitterness. It warms up with more bready malt, oak and some salty grass with nice, tastefully refreshing carbonation. It is mid to light bodied, quite decent stuff and plenty drinkable. Generally a reasonable pale ale for sure, not the best, but better than most I would say.

07-29-2009 13:37:07 | More by Durge
Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 929 ratings.