1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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 Overlord


3.63/5  rDev -3.2%

This is ... not terrible. Not terrible, at all. Why can't this be offered instead of their hefeweizen everywhere? While Sierra Nevada pale ale has saved me from a wretched beer selection many a time, this could serve the same purpose when the former isn't available. Alas, I am too often stuck with Widmer Hefeweizen instead.

Pours a bright coppery amber. About an inch and a half of quick dying head.

Smells like caramel and a bit of grapefruit and citrus. Taste is much the same, straightforward, yeasty, caramel malt with a bit of sticky grapefruit to it. The hops aren't so much bittering as they are citrus-ing. Hahahaha that barely makes sense.

Pleasant, quaffable. Darn. I was gearing up for hate.

07-20-2009 08:03:46 | More by Overlord
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.6/5  rDev -4%

On-tap 7/10/09 at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light coppery brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, hops and fruity citrus.

T: The taste starts with a strong fruity citrus sweetness that remains dominant the whole time. There's a decent hops presence that comes in but the sweetness continues with a caramel flavor in the background. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The after-taste is also sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, the sweetness kind of over-powers everything else in the beer, but overall it's a fairly good beer that is worth drinking for a while.

07-11-2009 03:25:52 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of cjgator3


3.4/5  rDev -9.3%

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.

07-10-2009 02:52:07 | More by cjgator3
Photo of rtratzlaff

North Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -16.5%

Pours with a body of an amber ale rather than a pale ale with an off white creamy head. Aromas are sweet caramel maltiness with a background of hops that come off as slightly citrus.
The flavor is a good mix of bittersweet with some grape fruit characteristics, but there's some lingering harshness to the hops that isn't pleasant. Nothing crazy going on here. It could be much better, I would rather have Sierra Nevada, but this is much different with a much different malt bill. Plenty of flavor going on here, but it seems a bit of a mess.

07-10-2009 02:06:31 | More by rtratzlaff
Photo of jeremyd365


4.13/5  rDev +10.1%

Pours a pretty, dark amber with only a hint of head. Not much haze and smells of a solid, fruity hop. It's got a solid body with good mouthfeel, and the flavor is delicious. It's crisp and piney with overall good hop character to finish. This was a very enjoyable pale that I would definitely recommend!

07-09-2009 23:55:58 | More by jeremyd365
Photo of far333


3.98/5  rDev +6.1%

Balanced and sessionable pale ales seem to be in short supply lately, or else I'm just not finding them. This one seems to fit the bill.

Pours a crystal clear apricot color with streams of fine bubbles rising up to a sizzly head that fades out quickly.

Aroma of bright tangerine citrus, some ripe pear and honey, some floral notes.

Flavor fairly matches the nose, non-assertive citrus and floral hops, low bitterness, bready malt with light brown sugar mixed in, some toffee and honey, hops remain upfront, finishes with a flourish of doughey malt and tingle, buttered corn lingers.

Very tasty without trying too hard, well-balanced, great poolside beer.

07-04-2009 16:43:13 | More by far333
Photo of Tballz420


4.1/5  rDev +9.3%

amber bodied brew with a good sized cream colored head thats the result of a little cascading action. Good amount of lacing left behind on the glass. Pale malt nose dominated by a nice citrus hop note. Standard pale malt front with a very nice floral hop background, slightly bitter. Creamy medium mouth. Not a bad pale at all.

07-01-2009 01:31:09 | More by Tballz420
Photo of armock

New York

3.6/5  rDev -4%

A - Poured a copper color with an off white head that fades quickly

S - Is of piny hops on a decent malt backbone

T - Starts with citrus hops then gets balanced out some by the caramel malt

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - Not the first beer that I'd order but at those bars that only get things from AB distributors its a good stand by

06-30-2009 19:03:28 | More by armock
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.78/5  rDev +0.8%

I was a little aprehensive about buying this because I havent overly impressed with other Widmer products but this was pretty good I have to say.Poured into a standard pint a clear medium golden with a nice tight formed 1/2 finger white head that had good lasting power.Aromas of caramel/biscuit malt with a firm toastiness,a tinge of citric hop comes thru as well.Pretty balanced on the palate,a big sweetish caramel base with some dough up front that yields to a citrusy lightly piney finish.A real summer quaffing pale ale,it blow your mind but its pretty solid.

06-29-2009 22:49:37 | More by oberon
Photo of HalfFull


3.78/5  rDev +0.8%

Pours an orange amber with a touch of haze from a 12 oz. bottle. An inch of slightly off white head offers good retention and can be easily regenerated with a bit of a spin

Smell is of citrus yet without the overwhelming richness of Cascade. A nice balance with some pine notes mixed in. A certain balance is present though rather malty.

Taste is dry and slightly bitter. Not bad and somewhat sweet for its own good. Decent feel and drink yet a bit bland when first sampled due to low carbonation. A revisit with a fresher bottle shows better carbonation and better balance.

06-26-2009 03:00:45 | More by HalfFull
Photo of bcm119


3.88/5  rDev +3.5%

Clear copper with a bubbly head that dissipates. Has a light, candied orange nose. Light, flowery orange flavors up front; slight sweetness from a light malt body balances a hint of minerals. Hops are mild but distinctive, bringing more orange and floral flavors than bitterness. Well integrated flavors and light carbonation make this a fast-drinking beer. Finish is quick and clean, with only a faint lingering flavor of soft leafy hops. A real summer afternoon beer, but not quite complex enough to inspire a long session. A good value at $5.99/sixer.

06-26-2009 02:18:16 | More by bcm119
Photo of PapaJ


4/5  rDev +6.7%

Served from mobile tap at the West Bank Summer Solstice Festival in Independence, Oregon, the afternoon of 20 June 2009.

a: clear amber with thin head which quickly subsided
s: hoppy aroma with complex citrus references
t: complex/light mild hop taste with grapefruit finish; distinctive/unique
d: very drinkable, particularly out-of-doors on an Oregon Summer afternoon

Overall I found Widmer Bros. Drifter exhibits a complex/distinctive taste and was very drinkable on tap; I would drink again when offered on tap.

06-24-2009 13:37:57 | More by PapaJ
Photo of katan


4.05/5  rDev +8%

12 oz bottle into a pint, dated 042209

A - Pours a brown with an amberish hue. Very well filtered, no hazing whatsoever. Very little head formation, with only a small white film left behind.

S - A roasted and nutty malt base leads the way, with only a light amount of american hops in the background. The hops note is more piney and edgy.

T - Surprisingly to me, this beer was all hop bite. The nuttiness I thought that was on the nose was all American fresh hops. Very piney as noted in the smell. Towards the mid-stream the bitterness builds, which then draws in some grassy notes. Certainly has a west coast flair to it. Aftertaste maintains a "fresh hop" flavor.

M - Moderate to high body - beer is well built with a combination of alpha acids and unfermentables. No alcohol warming to note. Carbonation is light.

D - In the land of west coast APAs, this beer lines up very well fo rme - the flavors are smooth, well integrated, and not overbearing. ABV is manageable. Not filling.

Dang, just when I thought I had Widmer pegged as a brewery that didn't fit me, I run into a beer I find to be pretty dang solid. Reminds me quite a bit of a OB Dale's Pale Ale.

06-21-2009 20:12:41 | More by katan
Photo of RedChrome


3.73/5  rDev -0.5%

Beer was clear and copper colored. Three quarters of an inch of white head faded to a slick quickly. A few small carbonation bubbles rising slowly. A minimal amount of lace.

Cereal grains dominate the initial nose full. A second whiff has a distinct fruit presence but not enough strength of any one fruit to identify. A light hops aroma.

Fruitiness coats the base grains and bends nicely. An overall hops bitterness is also pleasantly strong. Nicely balanced taste on the tongue.

A bit watery as it runs off. Taste linger nicely on the tongue. Carbonation is a bit active.

A solid offering. A great hamburger and fries brew. A definite beer to session with. This is a great choice to bridge people into the craft brew world.

06-21-2009 05:50:29 | More by RedChrome
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

4.28/5  rDev +14.1%

Widmer- Drifter Pale Ale

A- Deep amber copper brown with a big thick creamy lacing head.
S- Creamy bready malt with a nice sweet grapefruit and citrus hop twang.
T- Solid sweet caramel malt with buttery biscuit and grainy bread malt. Mildly sweet citrus and grapefruit hops never overpower. Finishes off with a nice fresh hoppiness.
M- Very creamy and smooth. Perfect balance of sweetness. Hops appear fresh and juicy.

Overall- Smooth and fresh tasting. Nice balanced Pale Ale. Widmer's best offering!

06-19-2009 22:33:40 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of ZAP


4.63/5  rDev +23.5%

A-Deep bronze color...very nice look.

A-Top notch...one of the best aroma's for a pale ale I have smelled. Juicy citrus...oranges, tangerines, sweetened grapefruiit, pinneaples and more...Better than Itasca Pale Ale from Rock Bottom which to me was always the standard.

T-Bright citrus jumps out at you....same fruits...great hop burps...I love the use of hops in this beer. Just a hint of caramel malt backing evident...it lays down a nice firm but not big backbone for this.

M-Medium bodied at best...not a big beer but not watery at all.

D-This is an awesome pale ale...maybe the best I have had.

06-19-2009 03:41:52 | More by ZAP
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.73/5  rDev -0.5%

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.

06-19-2009 00:02:12 | More by WesWes
Photo of BWMKappaSig


4/5  rDev +6.7%

12 oz bottle, pint glass

A: The pour produces a finger-thick off-white head and a rich, clear, copper colored beer. As the head goes down, it leaves a nice lacing around the glass.

S: Typical pale ale smell of mild malts with a little hop background. A slight buttery caramel smell is evident. On the spectrum of Pale Ales, closer to Bass in the smell than Sierra Nevada. Strangely, the hops become a little more apparent as it warms.

T: The initial taste is characterized by a hoppiness not evident in the smell. After the bitterness, a slight malt sweetness comes through. Well balanced and true to style, I originally thought there was a sweet breadiness to it, but I believe I was tasting the citrusy hops.

M: Medium body, with a moderately dry finish.

D: The dry finish and low alcohol make this a very drinkable beer. Nothing overly complex, but a classic example of the quintessential beer. Not intimidating for beginners at all.

06-18-2009 02:42:14 | More by BWMKappaSig
Photo of ttam281


1.78/5  rDev -52.5%

I had high hopes for this beer as I love Broken Halo and their hefe. But this on just didn't work out for me. The amount of bitterness is perfect for an american pale ale but the type of hops they used disagrees with my palate 100%. Their website said they used summit, nelson sauvin, and alchemy hops in this beer. I'm assuming its the summit or the Nelson Sauvin hops because I like their IPA and it has alchemy hops in it. Would be a great beer if they used something like cascade instead. But then I guess it'd probably just taste like Sierra Nevada.

06-11-2009 18:26:58 | More by ttam281
Photo of drunkboxer1


3.88/5  rDev +3.5%

Pours a reddish amber color. Small head disappears into a thin lace. Smells sweet, a lot of citrus. Maybe some lemongrass. Tastes strongly of grapefruity american hops. Its medium bitterness is enough to balance any cloying sweetness from the caramel/bready malt backbone. Pretty decent, the grapefruit stands out for me in this one.

06-11-2009 15:19:09 | More by drunkboxer1
Photo of barleywinefiend


4.22/5  rDev +12.5%

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.

06-11-2009 00:08:19 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of williamherbert

New York

4.22/5  rDev +12.5%

Pours a clear honey-golden color. Icy wisp of lace. The head is pure white and not bad at all.

The smell is of major sweet citrus and stone fruit hops. Thick tangerine and blood oranges. Also grapefruit and citrus hops. The malt is of the pale variety, but not too prickly.

The taste is a heavy tangerine hop. Only a hint of citrus here. The malt is a tad roasted, which adds a dark balance. The malt is more like rye than pale malt in the taste.

The feel is smooth and buttery. Like silk, and almost perfect. The drinkability is high, because this beer is really impressive. Has an unexpected sweet/bitter balance.

06-10-2009 02:49:23 | More by williamherbert
Photo of Bighuge


3.78/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

06-09-2009 04:13:06 | More by Bighuge
Photo of supercolter


4.03/5  rDev +7.5%

Actually quite a pleasant surprise. I will not lie, I wasn't expecting too much. Appearance is nice copper color, looks somewhat light and refreshing. Smell and taste have very nice hop characteristics. Deep and grapefruity with enough malt to balance it out. Mouthfeel is a bit thin but acceptable. Drinkability is very good.

06-06-2009 04:19:58 | More by supercolter
Photo of Briarscratch


3.48/5  rDev -7.2%

Pours a reddish amber with a thin off white head that fizzed away fairly quickly. It is leaving a bit a lacing halfway down the glass.

This beer smells delicious with a hoppy, sort of citrus aroma like a hint of grapefruit along with a malty sweetness.

Tastes very refreshing with an immediate hop fruitiness that stands out the entire time. Something about this beer other than the color is different than most pale ales. The taste is very mild and only lingers on the tongue for a few seconds. Slightly bitter.

Very thin and easy to swallow. Decent bit of carbonation.

The drinkability is awesome. I finished this beer before I could even finish typing this review and this is the last one of the six pack. (I didn't drink them all today).

06-02-2009 21:08:13 | More by Briarscratch
Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 927 ratings.