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Drifter Pale Ale | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

very good
406 Reviews
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Drifter Pale AleDrifter Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

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

Added by madtappers on 12-23-2008

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Reviews: 406 | Ratings: 959
Photo of hustlesworth
2.72/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- clear copper colored with golden highlights. Oddly tan head is thin and unimpressive. Not much lace to speak of.

S- decent grapefruit and orange herbal spicy hops with some berry and toasted malt aromas.

T- a little toasty, a bit of wet dog, mild hop flavor and bitterness. Tastes diluted. Burnt grapefruit and grains in the finish.

MF- low end carbonation, dry rubbery feel, lighter than medium body.

D- finding a positive point, it's easily drinkable and refreshing due to the lack of flavor. the remainder of this bottle will go into a foil packet to keep a brisket moist while I reheat it.

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Photo of TheFlern
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber with white head. Head dissipates into small layer and leaves little lacing.

Smell: Citrus hops and sweet malts. Hop aroma is citrus heavy mostly grapefruit and lemon.

Taste: follows the nose but a little more sweet than the nose would lead me to believe.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy. Good amount of carbonation.

Overall: This is a pretty freakin' good pale ale from one of those "sellout" breweries. Widmer makes some good stuff and don't discount them just because they are owned by a bigger company. Give this one a shot if you have the chance.

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Photo of hopfacebrew
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from brown 12oz bottle to pint glass the beer is a translucent lighter amber/copper color with a nice 1 finger head, some retention and lacing. A nice citrus nose with hints of grapefruit, orange, tangerine and a hint of piney resin. A light malt background. The taste again begins with a nice citrus character, mild bitterness, sweet crystal malt flavors. Finishes clean and crisp with a lingering citrus bitterness. Nice. Very approachable and drinkable, on the old drinkability score this beer would shine. Lighter bodied with good carbonation. Overall, a good APA. Perfect for a summer day, would be easy to put several down in a sitting.

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Photo of tdm168
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale amber with a quarter of an inch of soft, foamy, white head that has decent retention. The nose has a citrusy, piny, resiny aroma. The taste is light and mildly malty but heavily hopped; there are notes of citrus, primarily grapefruit, as well as some very faint bread notes. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, smooth, and perfectly carbonated.

This is a well hopped, balanced, sessionable, enjoyable beer. In the APA category in my opinion it is among the most refreshing and drinkable.

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Photo of edfish
4.49/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a pint glass about 1/2 inch head dark golden color, head fades fast, thin lacing.
S-Fantastic! Piney and light citrus. Fills your nose with anticipation!
T-Starts off the same as it smells, not as rich as the smell but good, leads to a light malt taste and finished crisp and dry.
M- Is decent the flavor and carbination are good
O-One of my favorite Pales. The hop character of this beer is its best feature, the smell starts you off just right!

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Photo of Yoda22
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a fairly clear light copper - 1 finger head, light lacing.

S- Mmmm smells great. Citrusy, some grapefruit maybe even something resembling mango/tangerine? Also a hint of pine.

T- Taste leads to a more pronounced tropical citrus/grapefruit/mango like flavor. Nice lingering bitterness.

M- Light body, very smooth. Medium carbonation that leaves a little tingling on the tongue.

O- Delicious scene and taste. Not the best at anything and but above average on everything. Definitely among my favorite pale ale's.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Transparent copper color with a finger of head. Lots of bubbles visible.

Muted grapefruit smell with some lemon backup. A cotton candy smell too... odd.

Clean taste, crisp body, moderate carbonation. Mild malt, quick bitter bite, smooth ending.

1, 2, 3 "simple" good beer.

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Photo of kjritt
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served from a bottle into a glass.

a. poured a short head with a bit of lacing. slightly murky red orange color. not as attractive as it tastes.

s. average at best. very little hop and the low ibus certainly supports that.

t. not as mild as many many other pale ales i have encountered, and much more character. exciting on the tongue and the back of the mouth. almost fizzy. a very strong pale ale.

m. carbonated and brisk. kind of dances around in the mouth. very exciting.

o. when i first discovered this several months ago, it immediately became my favorite pale ale. with flying dog and bass in the same conversation, it yet remains my favorite.

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Photo of russwbeck
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber pour with hints of orange along the edges to deep brown at the middle. The beer pours into my Deschutes Tulip without much head at all.

S: Pretty fruity aroma here. Nice blend of caramel malts and citrus, mango, and other tropical fruits. Touch of hop bitterness.

T: The taste is a bit on the malty side. The tropical fruits are noted, but just aren't strong enough to provide a good balance. The hop bitterness on the end is quite nice and curbs the sweetness of the malts and fruits.

MF: Medium body with a normal amount of carbonation. Dry finish.

O: Pretty decent malt forward APA. Not the best, but I wouldn't turn it down if another was offered to me.

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Photo of Greggy
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 of 3 in my tour of portland reviews.
Date on bottle: Sept 7th, 2011

A- Pours a slightly hazed orange/red body. No sediment is present. The tan head starts as 1 finger and recedes to a 1/4 inch cap. Sparse lacing is present.

S- Nice big aroma. Grapefruit, pine, a bit of orange marmalade. Good hop aroma.

T- Starts out with a very herbal/medicinal hoppiness. The finish is herbal and has a very medicinal/alcohol finish. I'm searching hard for a description but the finish is almost gin-like (herbacious and boozy).

M- Appropriate carbonation, a thinner body for the ABV.

D- Overall, a drinkable Pale Ale I can see going well with food. I'd like to have this again, definitely with a fresh bottle (maybe in portland).

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes, sampled 12/25. 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Appears relatively clear. Coppery gold, off white head, minimal lace, visible carbonation.

S: Hoppy upfront, with a decent malt backbone; piney, herbal & earthy, a bit pungent, spices, and orange are the prominent aromas.

T: More malty, caramel, a bit of pungent bitterness...some toffee, and a dry biscuity malt presence.

MF: Light-to-medium, lower carbonation, with a light and pleasant dryness.

O: This APA maintains a good amount of pungent bitterness without going overboard; very quaffable and enjoyable.

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Photo of hopsolutely
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A new reason to visit Portland!

Beautiful amber colour, clear with orange and red-hued highlights. Aroma of caramelized malts, along with pine, citrus and pineapple highlights. The pineapple in the flavour is stunning, sweet with a pleasantly dry finish.

A very "different" tasting beer which is well-balanced and a true delight to drink. Wish I'd received more than a six pack, and will definitely look forward to tracking down more...

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Photo of JayQue
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just had a few of these at Cat Cora's restaurant in Disney World. I enjoyed the bottled version, the draft was just a little better...more hoppy. This beer pours a copper color with medium size off-white head. About average retention Good thick lacing in rings around the glass. Smell is of floral hops and fairly pronounced.

Taste begins with floral and citrus hops, more robust for an APA than the bottled version. The taste then fades into slightly sweet malt, with a little bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is rich for an APA and crisp. Drinkability is very good, crisp and tasty, a good candidate for a session beer.

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Photo of portia99
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a crystal clear deep amber color with a frothy finger of cream colored foam on top. Webs of lacing left on the glass as the head dies and continues as the beer level drops in the glass.

S - Plenty of citrus up front with grapefruit dominating. A bit of pine and some sweaty peach aromas too. A bit of a spicy aspect to it too.

T - Tropical fruit, pineapple and grapefruit up front. Nice hop bitterness at a mid-level complements the diverse hop flavors. Some caramelly malt flavors underneath at a low flavor threshold.

M - Medium bodied and medium carbonation. A bit more hop forward than most pale ales...which is good in my book.

O - Nice pale ale...quite drinkable and very flavorful. Should satisfy the hop lovers out there. Should make it into my rotation of daily drinkers.

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Photo of helloglob
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I have a couple 22's of this brew that were gifted to me... my previous experience with widmer was unsatisfying but thought i'd give it another shot.

a: pours a clear amber with pretty decent head retention. a bit lighter than i expected.
s: smells sweet and hoppy. however, not in a pleasing way! the scents seem to contradict each other. i suppose you could say it's balanced?
t: i gotta say... very boring... although i'm not much of a fan of pale ales in general, i think they sweetened up too much. aftertaste is unpleasing.
m: the best part of this beer. it's got a very milky mouthfeel and an overall pleasant relationship with the tongue.
overall: this beer is pretty average.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was in Jacksonville and tried the Drifter Pale Ale at Miller Ale House. A very good pale ale. Pours a copper colored body with an off-white head with good retention. Aromas are a bit atypical from what I'd expect from an APA, but I like them: I get a lot of pineapple and grapefruit notes from the hops with caramel maltiness playing a less pronounced role. These flavors define its taste as well, but the caramel malts are more prominent, making for a well-balanced beer. Well done, Widmer.

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Photo of syrupjoe
4.72/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into pint glass.

Pours a medium-light amber color with a slight amount of haze, one finger creamy off-white head.

Nose gives off juicy mango and pineapple hop notes with slight grassiness and sweet but light honey malt presence.

Taste is also very tropical with a slight grassy/dank bite. Present but not too sweet malt backbone that perfectly balances the hops.

Moderate carbonation with a nice crisp finish. Overall an incredibly fresh, well-balanced, and interesting beer. This one went down fast! Will definitely drink again, and will likely become a fridge staple.

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Photo of ColdBrains
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours golden yellow, with a two finger, billowing head.

S - Pleasant aromas, with a slight crisp citrus smell. But generally somewhat aromatically challenged.

T - Again, pleasant and quite enjoyable but somewhat unmemorable. Great balance of bitterness. Drinkable.

M - Bit heavy on the carbonation.

O - This beer didn't blow me away or change my drinking worldview. However, it did offer a very pleasant drinking experience. If I found one in my friend's fridge, I'd certainly give it a whirl, but wouldn't purchase one myself.

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Photo of timtwoface
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Honestly, this must be my favourite straight-up pale ale these days. It's crisp, has a good amount of bitterness (but not super hoppy...though I like that), has a good bite and no nasty aftertaste at all. I had a few flavours of Widmer's when I was down in Oregon a month ago and everything I tried from this brewery was delicious. I'd definitely recommend - I just hope I can find it in my neck of the woods again some time soon!

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Photo of Philousa
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a thin white head. Sweet caramel malt aroma is balanced with fresh floral hops. Very malty, caramely taste up front. Solid fresh hop bitterness subsides to the original coppery malt flavor.Mouthfeel is balanced well to make this an easily drinkable beer.

I was really surprised when I first tried this one because I wasn't much of a Widmer fan. After tasting some of their other offerings I've come to realize they've stepped up their game, starting with the Drifter Pale Ale. This would be a great beer to introduce a beer noob to the awesomeness that is hops. It's not too bitter, but the hops are definitely in the nose, which is how I got into hops myself. Although this isn't a remarkable beer, something is to be said about its balance and drinkability. A solid go-to beer, I think this beer could easily stand up to be Widmer's flagship.

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Photo of rapayn01
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had a pint of this very nice ale at a local cafe. By the time it was served, the head had dissipated, but it had some lacing in the glass which suggested that the original head was about half an inch thick.

I didn't pick up any distinctive smells, but I caught a whiff of light citrus in this amber-orange ale.

Drifter Pale Ale is a nicely hopped ale, with some citrus flavors carrying the weight. I believe the malts were reflected in some hints of caramel, but to me the hops stood out a bit stronger. I would not call it evenly balanced.

In sum, I found this to be a highly drinkable and satisfactory beer.

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Photo of akk101
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz glass poured into pint glass

A - Pours lght orange amber color, minimum head that disapears quickly. Nice simple bottle labeling

S - Refreshing citrus notes

T - Nice citrus hops throughout with a clean finish. Hop presence isn't overbearing

M - Very drinkable but could use some more carbonation

O - Very drinkable pale ale. After drinking the latest christmas/winter offerings it's great to try something opposite. Citrus notes all around but lacks in carbonation

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Photo of Flounder57
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance: The beer poured a one finger head that has reduced to a thin layer quickly. The color of the beer is a nice orange amber very similar to an IPA. There are also signs of carbonation coming up through the center of the glass.

Smell: Sweet sweet malts and some nice citrus notes.

Taste: There is a very nice blend of grapefruit and caramel malts. Some biscuit towards the end too. Well balance of hops and malt.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, a little chewy, and medium to high carbonation. Slightly smooth and easy to drink.

Overall: This is actually a good APA that I can see myself drinking from time to time. Will have to thank a buddy for leaving this treat in the fridge. Will have to invite him over more often for Sunday football.

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Photo of droomyster
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very good pale ale. Pours a copper colored body with an off-white head with good retention. Aromas are a bit atypical from what I'd expect from an APA, but I like them: I get a lot of pineapple and grapefruit notes from the hops with caramel maltiness playing a less pronounced role. These flavors define its taste as well, but the caramel malts are more prominent, making for a well-balanced beer. Well done, Widmer.

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Photo of birdypowder
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A good example of the APA style with all the right qualities in the right amounts. Well done.

Appearance: Brilliant clear copper in color, capped by a fat finger of off-white foam. Looks the part of an APA. Lacing makes a noble effort.

Smell: Very clean, allowing the fruity/citrusy hops to emerge. Caramel breaks through later.

Taste: Balanced, clean, sweetness not over the top, slight grainy astringency at the end, a bit of a dry finish for style. Medium light to medium bodied.

Overall: Highly drinkable, well made, classic example of style, enjoyable.

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Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 406 ratings.