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Drifter Pale Ale - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Drifter Pale AleDrifter Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

948 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 948
Reviews: 406
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 13.64%
Wants: 22
Gots: 32 | 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:
Beer added by: madtappers on 12-23-2008

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
View: Beers (75) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 948 | Reviews: 406
Photo of thartman
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of drtth
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of indiapaleale
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!!!

Photo of tblfan04
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of riversider76
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of morebeergood
3.42/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of beertunes
2.7/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.89/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Tone
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of projectflam86
3.81/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of dmamiano
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of thekevlarkid
4.09/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Boto
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of babaracas
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Durge
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of raninator84
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap @ Cork & Vine in Dayton Ohio. Drifter is a surprisingly solid pale ale, solid but not amazing. Pours almost amber and darker hue than most PA's I've drank. Smells of hop infused with a bit of a caramel and bitters but the smell is weak. Tastes like a traditional pale ale. Hops aren't overpowering and malt character although not perfectly balanced is present. Overall a solid Pale Ale Session brew.

Photo of BeerPhan86
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought quite a few six packs of this on sale this summer. I have really enjoyed having such a good beer at a great price.

A - Darker than most pale ales. I would say it is a very dark golden color, almost reddish. The head was nonexistent at first, so I feared I had gotten a flat batch. With some swirling in the pint glass a nice off-white foamy head appears, but quickly evaporates.

S - Smells of sweet, citrusy hops. Not a bitter scent like with most pale ales.

T - Fruity and very hoppy. Not as bitter as my old standby, Saranac Pale Ale. Some burnt notes in the finish. Very refreshing!

M - A bit watery and not too thick.

D - This is a great session ale. At 5.7%, I could see myself going through a lot of this when amongst friends. A great beer to just have one of on a hot day as well.

Overall, this is a great sessionable pale ale that I was pleasantly surprised with for the sale price of 5.99/sixer. I will definitely be buying this up before it's gone! My favorite offering from Widmer so far.

Photo of Overlord
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of cjgator3
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of rtratzlaff
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 948 ratings.