Drifter Pale Ale
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Drifter Pale AleDrifter Pale Ale
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Pale Ale - American
Ranked #1,363
Ranked #30,475
3.78 | pDev: 13.23%
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
Very Good
Drifter Pale AleDrifter Pale Ale
Notes: 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
Reviews: 411 | Ratings: 971 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of northwestdr
northwestdr from Washington

4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle, into a pint glass. Somewhat-clear, rust color, with less head than average but with adequate carbonation. Tiny flecks of barley or hops are suspended. A smooth but flavorful brew, with satisfying hoppiness but not particularly bitter. No unpleasant aftertaste. A bit citrusy. Overall, one of my favorite pale ales.

Nov 12, 2017
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Brolo75 from California

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

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a copper, rusty orange with an off white, creamy head, good amount of lacing, beer is clear with a good amount of carbonation as well.

A: Subtle aromas of citrus like grapefruit peel and pine, slight notes of caramel malts, alcohol absent on the nose, fairly straightforward.

T: Up front, notes of grapefruit and lemon peel with pine needles, a little bit of pepper, spicy, herbal note, moderate/low bitterness, finish has lingering notes of citrus peel and pine along with some slight caramel malts.

M: Light bodied with a dry finish.

O: A very drinkable APA that has more caramel malt notes than other APAs I've tasted and can remember, I probably would not seek this out again but I would not refused one if offered.

May 29, 2017
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WortHead from Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pale golden with a hint of red hue gives this beer a beautiful look before even being tasted. A citrusy aroma and creamy mouth feel makes this the best APA ever created. The taste is excellent for the style.

Mar 03, 2017
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Darker than 'pale' this ale comes in a dark gold, almost amber and auburn color scheme, standard 1/2" white head. The nose really pops on these, especially for a Widmer beer, best dry hopping I may have ever had from them, seems Nelson and Amarillo by morning.

I like the crisp hop bit and carbonation mouthfeel on these. As it warms the malt can become a little more heavy, those caramel feels really creep on this one, especially the older the bottle. Fresh though, you're hard pressed to find a more decent widely available option outside of something classic like SNPA, but this is like an updated proprietary newer hop varietal for pale ales.

Oct 05, 2016
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Reddish amber, ½” cream colored head, multi-sized bubbles S: Has rich hop aromas, citrus and some malt in the background T: Starts with a burst of creamy maltiness and then is followed by spicy herby hops and finishes with more hop flavors lingering through the finish than hop bitterness. A little lemony citrus from the hop balanced by malt sweetness. F: creamy, medium body, medium carbonation, no astringency. O: With the whiff of hops up front you expect more bitterness but this highlights hop flavors more than bitterness balanced by the malt. Very well done, drinkable, refreshing and repeatable.

Aug 18, 2015
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mweinrich from South Carolina

3.69/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Has a really nice aftertaste, and "after-fragrance", but not all jasmine-tea flowery (the way regular Bud is). Doesn't have much head, but I don't suppose it's meant to--and I HATE excessive, "show-off-y" head anyway! Wouldn't hurt if the hops were slightly more bitter, but I don't mean that as a criticism; the ale's compatible with its own type.

Jun 22, 2013
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Another from my score out of the cooler at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Altoona! I do not know whether to invoke Clint Eastwood in "High Plains Drifter" or BMCS (SW) Gerard Wargo, my first LCPO in the USN, who routinely used to tell me, "Son, you have a high drift factor." I will go with the latter as the label has a nautical theme and drift or drift factor applies to a ship at anchor. A high drift or drift factor is not good and usually results in weighing anchor, getting underway to shift position and then resetting the anchor. Wargo was definitely NOT paying me a compliment!

From the bottle: "Brewers of Quality Beers".

I got a finger of tawny head from my pour, but it quickly dissipated. Color was a deep copper with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled minty with a caramel/biscuit undertone, much like a Girl Scout Thin Mint. Mouthfeel was medium and the mintiness of the hops was immediately discernible on the tongue. It again begs the question of where does an APA leave off and an AIPA begin. As a self-avowed hophead, I have no problem with this sort of thing, but it surely was hoppy. Finish allowed the caramel/biscuit malts to get a chance to balance things out and they did so, nicely. A pretty good beer.

May 27, 2013
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Smakawhat from Maryland

3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A real wonderful booming four finger light tan head is made, with super even bubbles all around. The head settles with a frothy and big bubbled retention cap, with lots of clingy lace chunks. Body is a crystal clear textbook amber copper color, real nice, but not much noticeable carbonation. Real good looking.

Very light toasted malts, faint sense of caramel. Some soft hop sense but very muted with maybe a touch of spruce/pine and citrus.

Palate is a little uneventful. Very light bodied almost wet with an almost soda gaseous feel. Palate comes with a light Marzen like malt quality and hints of sticky toffee. Most of the taste though is in the finish but it's quite weak. Slight toasty grain a bit, on the finish also.

Overall not awful but not getting that excited about this one.

Apr 19, 2013
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Frankinstiener from Illinois

5/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This has been one of my favorite beers for the past 4 years. Since it is going away I decieded to write down some notes while I still have a relatively fresh one in front of me.

This pale ale is not pale in any way. Closer to a light copper in color. Perfectly see through with a little bit of white foam on top. Occasionally I get a few small floaties (perhaps hop particles) but none in this glass.

The smell isn't overwhelming but is really enjoyable. You get both biscuity malt and citrus zest in the same whiff.

The taste is glorious as usual. This is not a hopped up pale ale that borderlines an IPA. It is well balanced, but the hops do slightly shine through. This pale ale definitely has a distinct taste. You get some tangerine flavor that eventually is balanced out by caramel malts. It finishes a bit drier than you would expect. When people say they taste onions I can kind of understand where they are coming from, but only after specifically looking for it. This is not a distraction for me, I think the taste of this beer is perfect. It doesn't leave me wanting anything else. There is a reason why I have purchased so many cases of this over the years

Overall this beer is very drinkable but yet distinct. I’m not the greatest at putting words to flavors so I will just say that I wouldn't change this beer in any way. For years it has been my favorite pale ale. It is also very affordable at $6.99 per six pack and $26 dollars after my case discount. I have always thought its the best beer for the money. RIP Drfter…. You’re a legend as far as I’m concerned.

Apr 18, 2013
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SSSBR1509 from Florida

3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Apperance - coper like color not hazy at all with a white foamy head
Nose- biscuity on the front and a slight caramel like sweetness almost a apricot or dark fruit note slight pine hop presents and a little grapefruit
Mouthfeel-medium bodied with nice carbonation
Taste- pretty much like the nose but not as muted pretty much a basic pale ale. very nice drink ability
Overall- nice sipping beer wouldn't seek it out but i would drink if offered

Apr 12, 2013
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RyanTeeter from New York

3.11/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

a: A vibrant ruby red, transparent color. A nice head however its retention was not long.

s: An easy apricot hop aroma. Nice to the nose, not very potent but strong enough to really make drinking it more enjoyable.

t: Smooth intake. Heavy flavor however does not smack you in the mouth. I am getting fruitiness (apricot, plum) along with the hop undertone. There is enough hop, however to linger on the back of my tongue.

m: Light, quick lasting. Water complexity.

o: I enjoyed drinking this however it does not stand out from the crowd. I would certainly have it again sometime should it show its face.

Mar 28, 2013
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LiquidAmber from Washington

3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium red coppery amber. Thin white head dissipates slowly to a film with light lacing. Aroma of grassy, slightly piney hops and biscuit malt. Flavor follows, biscuit malt and light grassy hops. Light bodied with decent carbonation. A good sturdy pale ale that looks a bit more like an amber, but the flavor is on style for a pale.

Mar 10, 2013
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brewskifan55 from Mississippi

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

Poured into a snifter

A: Opaque amber with a tan half finger head that leaves fast. Light lacing.

S: Light piney hops, grapefruit.

T: Tangy, citrus. Very light hop finish. Smooth. Sessionable,.

M: Medium, good carbonation.

O: This is one I'd drink again. Light and crisp. Not over-hoppy.

Feb 08, 2013
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bondjedi from Washington

3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Drank it straight from the bottle, actually drank three, one right after the other while watching football. BAP BAP BAP! Pleasantly surprised - Oregawn brew is usually too hoppy and the various brewers down there are in an arms race to outhop their competitors.

Jan 17, 2013
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jimmah120 from Minnesota

4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

No time for a full review, so some quick notes should suffice.

Lightly hopped, light body, rich amber color. Smell is very pleasant; light grassy hops, with sweet honey-like malt. The crisp full malt taste compliments the earthy hops well. Maybe it's just my taste, but this could pass for an amber.

Superbly drinkable, without sacrificing taste. Excellent beer that I wouldn't mind having again.

Dec 18, 2012
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Ethanol4one from New York

4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent balance of hops with rich, if slightly muted and slightly over attenuated malty flavors. I like this beer.

The head looks bottle aged, with those awesome micro bubbles you'll find on Guinness or in a bottle aged Belgian ale that uses Champaign yeast to top it off. I just got served a second, which looked flat, and within 30 second, it's got a head like a Guinness (but tasting nothing like it).

It's deceptive, almost like a big, thin, rice brewed commercial lager but with twice the flavor and punch, or kick in the chops, however you like to think of ABV. Not very hoppy on the nose either, so you still may think you're going to get a basic lager flavor until the malt meets hops toward the back of the mouth.

Compares well to Sam Adams and blows away Shock Top sitting next to it on tap, like a vainglorious David Lee Roth posing next to, say, The Killers. Drifter's Tap handle is pretty cool too, like a clean, cartoonishly retro life saver resting on deck, there for you, in case you need it.

It's all over Florida, so it's there for you if you're lurking around the sunny-rainy "Sunshine" state. Unlike Florida, this beer always appears to deliver.

Dec 11, 2012
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

4.14/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle marked 1548-NH-JUN1912. Sampled on December 9, 2012.

The color of the pour is medium to rusty-amber with a slight haze and no head to speak of.

There are plenty of sensations on the nose including sweet malts, floral hops, and dark fruit.

The body is about medium and creamy.

The taste is something I can remember with a sweet malt flavor up front and quickly followed by dark fruit like pomegranate then a medium floral hop bitterness to tie it all together at the end. Likable through and through.

Dec 09, 2012
Photo of mckenziac

3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams Boston Lager glass. Taken from a Widmer Bros. variety pack.

Appearance: Pours a dull, amber color. Has a large, foamy head that dissipates slowly and leaves some decent lacing.

Smell: Smells strongly of piney and spicy hops.

Taste: Strong hop bitterness up front. Finishes earthy and piney with a bit of caramel maltiness.

Mouthfeel: A bit on the light-bodied side for a pale ale.

Overall: A fairly by-the-numbers APA, but a decent beer nonetheless. Nothing I'd go out of my way for, but nothing I'd turn my nose up at either.

Dec 03, 2012
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Azntaiji from Washington

3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought in a six pack, 12 oz bottle. Poured into oversized wine glass.

Pours a beautiful amber with a huge head.

Smells decent and sweet, although nothing that stands out among similar pale ales.

Tasted okay, again nothing astounding. Just tastes like a low IBU pale ale. Very crisp, and very drinkable for a pale ale.

Overall not a beer that stands out among the rest, but a good session ale. I probably won't buy it again though.

Nov 15, 2012
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NoCurse2012 from South Carolina

4.46/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is the "go to" beer of choice. In my opinion, it is the best $7 six pack in the grocery store. Widmer does a great job of producing a high quality beer at an average Joe price. This is the working man's craft beer. Great amber color with just enough bite to remind you that it is a high quality beer, without the sticker shock.

Nov 10, 2012
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CHickman from New York

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

Beer review from 10/27/12: pours cloudy copper amber color with a big foamy 2 finger off white head that faded very slowly, leaving very good spotty lacing and a layer on top.

Smells of sweet malt, grains, herbs, tea leaf, caramel, light citrus hops, orange peel and wet wheat bread; overall malty and sweet smelling with light hoppy and herbal notes.

Tastes like it smells, with sweet malt, grains, herbs, tea leaf, caramel, citrus hops, orange peel, floral hops, biscuit and wet wheat bread; overall malty and sweet with enough hop balance to make it flow down like water. No real fruity sweetness, but still pretty good.

Mouthfeel is light and on the thin side, with average carbonation and a medium body that is pretty well balanced.

Overall a good pale ale that was above average with it leaning towards the malty side versus a hoppy pale ale. Easy drinking with just enough hops to let it flow like a good pale ale should.

Nov 10, 2012
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IronLover from Pennsylvania

3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep copper orange in color with good clarity. Poured with a short off-white foam that reduced to a wispy cap that left a ladder of sticky lacings down the glass. Sweet caramel and ripe orange aromas with resinous pine beneath. Buttery smooth feel with slighty subdued carbonation. Sweet caramel and fruity flavors out of the gate that quickly transition to a resinous pine hoppiness to the end. Finishes crisp and dry.

Nov 03, 2012
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yesyouam from New York

4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Widmer Brothers Drifter Pale Ale is a very clear, sparkling, amber ale with a soft, thin, off white head that leaves nice lacing. It has a fresh hop aroma, like pine trees, sweet caramel and a light toastiness. It's pretty light bodied and very smooth with a clean, dry finish. It has a lightly bitter, grassy, floral flavor. It tastes very tea like; very herbal. It's very refreshing. It's clean, but not weak. It's very drinkable.

Oct 08, 2012
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GMB from Japan

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

Widmer's "The Original Drifter Pale Ale" pours a clear tawny body that, when held up to the ceiling light, admits rays of light reds, oranges, yellows. A sturdy pour produces a head with some stamina.

The nose is strong and focused. Grapefruit and hoppy floral aromas dominate.

The first sip is excellent. The hops-derived flavor is clean, and the malt provides just enough sweetness. Notes of caramel and butterscotch complement the main hop-derived flavors of grapefruit and chrysanthemum. Subsequent sips begin to seem a bit watery. This brew would be helped by a bit more malt.

Widmer's "The Original Drifter Pale Ale" manages to be both hop-forward and drinkable. One of the ways it accomplishes this is by offering clean, focused hop tastes and aromas with a light malty backbone. The latter lets it down a bit, otherwise this beer would have earned a solid 4.0.

Oct 05, 2012
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B-Rad from Utah

2.53/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I'm not a fan of this ale. I kept getting this tasted of body odor while drinking it. It looked nice in the glass- a pretty amber color with carbon bubbles rising. Interestingly it didn't smell of body odor; it has a sweet hoppy aroma. The mouthfeel was kind of thin. I just cannot get over the body odor flavor to it. I poured it into a glass to let it breathe thinking that the BO like flavor was from bottle skunk but the flavor didn't change much. I would not recommed this ale to anyone.

Sep 14, 2012
Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 971 ratings