Drifter Pale Ale | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

very good
409 Reviews
Drifter Pale AleDrifter Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

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: 409 | Ratings: 963
Photo of dfillius
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled this at a festival and loved it, let's try out a bottle.
Poured into a water glass
A: Gentle pour yields thin layer of white head dissipates to a thin ring - more please. Hazy reddish amber liquid.
S: Nice citrus hop aroma with bread and caramel underneath. hops are not as vibrant as I remember. Tropical fruit.
T: Light hopping seems a tad stale. Sweet, slight man candy. A bit bland and not excellent.
M: Smooth, an odd feel, not very pleasant.
D: Okay, I would not buy again or order another. Sort of good session beer.

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Photo of Kiwano
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - orange a little bit opaque with a bit of head that fades out to a thin head after a bit of time

S - yeast and citrus a litle sweetness

T - has some citrus - sweet fruit -- a little bit of yeast

M - slight carbonation

O - not a lot of complexity but nice and refreshing

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Photo of flyingspatula
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice brownish color (yet clear). Surprising for a pale ale (unless you count my home brew pale ales). Has a nice one finger creamy head with a sweet hops smell. Lots of bubbles, looks interesting. Taste is also unique for a pale ale. Not bad though. Has a fruity taste, but I'm not sure what fruit. Maybe apricot or something. Definitely not a tart citrus taste. This beer has a rounded, for lack of a better word, taste that makes it easy to drink. This is my second time drinking this one. I knew I thought it was decent, but couldn't remember much about it. It's pretty good overall. I may try it again some day.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Part of the Brothers' Best Variety Pack. Pours a translucent dark amber color with very little head. Some lacing. Spicy aroma of floral and citrus hops. Smells a bit sweet. Tastes basically how it smells. Not as hoppy as I thought it would be but still has some floral and citrus as well as some caramel flavor. Fair amount of malt flavor along with some sweetness. Slightly bitter at the end. Has an overall bready taste to it. This beer is alright in a mix pack but I wouldn't get it on its own.

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Photo of MaxBrewell
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this one on-tap at Madelein's on High Street.

A - Clear, medium, amber. Off-white head that faded rather quickly.

S - Citrus hops and some floral notes blended with some bready malts.

T - Tastes like a ruby grapefruit, which is ok if you like that sort of thing. Bready malts become more apparrent as it warms. A decent Pale Ale.

M - Medium body and carbonation.

D - A very drinkable beer. Initially the grapefruit took me by surprise, but I warmed up to it. I would certainly try this one again, maybe from the bottle next time.

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Photo of Groomsy
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass, I picked this up as a mix-six pack several weeks ago. Bottling date of 01/11/11. Wish I had caught this when it was a little fresher, but hey, it is what it is.

Appearance: Very nice body: Amber/caramel color with hints of honey and copper, topped by a tight one-half finger head of off-white foam, eventually fading to a nearly complete cap of lace and bubbles, leaving some rings of lacing down the glass. Ample carbonation rises to the top of the glass. Nice looking APA, a bit darker than expected in color.

Smell: A little tame compared to other APA style beers I've had, but there's something different about this brew which makes it stand out. Aside from the usual citrus and pine characteristics in the aroma, there's a noticeable, earthy tone of caramel/biscuit (bread) malts to offset some of the sharpness from the hops. This causes the beer to walk a fine line between pale ale and amber ale in the smell, which carries over into the taste. The only detractor here is a slightly medicinal/metallic note in the nose, which probably has to do with the fact that the beer is three months old.

Taste: Starts with a pleasant fusion of herbal, floral, and pine characteristics from the hops which is washed away with citric flavors of lemon and grapefuit. The finish is where the malts come through with a pleasing and slightly warming bread flavor. An ever-so-slight medicinal/aspirin edge lingers in the finish. Very balanced and drinkable, even for the fairly assertive hop flavors going on.

Mouthfeel: This is where the beer falls flat. For such flavor and balance I expected more heft, but the body of this is actually fairly thin and clean - almost too clean. There are virtually no flavors lingering into the finish, and the crisp, snappy carbonation leaves no trace of the flavors behind.

Overall: I would call this a drinkable, mostly enjoyable APA. It's not bad, just standard. A mild but pleasing APA, it straddles into amber ale territory as it warms because of the lack of hop forwardness. Ho-hum.

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Photo of Azntaiji
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.

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Photo of Mechphisto
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I wonder if the bottle I had was from a different batch than average, based what I'm seeing from other reviewers.
Mine poured a reddish amber, although nice and clear. The lacing was insignificant and quick to dissolve, but it had a nice carbonation.
The taste was a bit sour. Sharp and sour. Actually, it started out pretty sour but then became more malty as it went on. So, in a way, while it had an after-taste I wasn't that impressed with, the aftertaste actually improved my impression of the beer.
It felt a little heavy for its appearance. It had a touch of citrus and a bready base. I'd drink it again, but I wouldn't chose it over something else.

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Photo of PintOHops
3.37/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance/Smell - Appears amber with an orange hue, and a thin head that's basically just a ring. Quickly reduces to a broken ring as well, has lite-medium carbonation and leaves some spotty lacing. Smells of pungent to mild pine and citrus notes, but more on the mild side. Wonderfully fruity pineapple and raisin aromas. Lots of hops, and some nice orange zest. A little dry as well.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Tastes of zesty citrus like hop bitterness, finishes with a wonderful pineapple fruitiness. Malts on the finish as well, and the hop bitterness lingers on the palate just a tad. Some orange peel, again pretty balanced. Mouthfeel is smooth but a little thin, with some lively carbonation on the palate. Has a lite-medium body.

Drinkability/Final thoughts - Not my favorite APA but affordable & extremely drinkable. I could enjoy about 2-3 of these on just about any day. I liked the zesty fruity flavors of this beer. Pretty sessionable, not bad. Worth a try.

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Photo of beagle75
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A: Clear, medium amber color with over one finger of diminishing off-white foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.

S: Strong citrus hops up front--two parts orange to one part grapefruit--that also allow for some esters, fragrant flowers, and caramel to be detected amidst an airy whiff of carbonic acid. Intensity of hops fade over time, leaving carbonic acid disproportionately heavy and out of balance.

T: Begins off-dry, with a surge of acidic and fruity caramel that shows potential but doesn't really go anywhere. Aromatic hop flavors seem very restrained, a shadow of what was detected early in the smell. Malt displays crystal character in the middle but it is watery and disjunct. The finish seems the most well-constructed, tasting floral, toasty, and barely bitter.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, wet and acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This is an unremarkable pale ale that looks and smells better than it tastes. While it is inoffensive, it loses the attention of the drinker with every sip. It reminds of Boulevard's equally uninspired pale ale--drinkable, but not compelling.

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Photo of Duhast500
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Sierra Nevada pint glass.

The color is a clear dark amber with a finger of foamy white head and some thin lacing left on the glass.

The smell is citrus hops with some sweet malt aroma that has some nice balance.

The taste has a spicy hop flavor with more citrus flavor and a little bit of ginger. There is also a bit of a caramel like flavor in the far background.

The feel of this beer is pretty smooth and is easy going down. It has a great drinkable feel with a good amount of carbonation.

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Photo of troutmask96
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very mediocre, yet very sessionable pale ale here. Pours to medium amber with exceptional clarity. Nice fruity-herbal smell with minimal alcohol. Taste is clean and crisp - this would be an excellent, not-heavy amber for a hot summer evening. It's just another beer, but if the price is right, I'll pick it up again...

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Photo of cjgator3
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

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Photo of vdread
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Drifter Pale Ale
bottle to glass

ok, so this review is based on a tasting recommendation by my lady, who is not a beer drinker by any stretch of the imagination. the date on the bottle was two months past, but i don't know if it was the brewed date or the drink by date?

it is a light amber color and frothy on top, smelling of bitter citrus hops. the grapefruit sticks out the most, and comes with an intense hop bitterness that seems out of balance with the rest of the flavors. the malt is soft and stays behind the abrasive hop astringency. grapefruit, orange, caramel malt, and oily hoppiness really stick out.

mouthfeel is slick, nothing offensive about the mouthfeel. easily sippable.

+ grapefruity, hoppy pale ale

+ a solid pale ale, in some ways similar to a SNPA

- the hop bitterness doesn't blend well with the overall taste.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the plastic cup in which it was served at 3 in Charlottesville into a pint glass that I'd saved (and rinsed out) from my previous beer. From notes. Reviewed 21 June 2011.

A: Decent head with a clearish amber-gold colour. Vaguely reddish.

S: Good; spicy. Lots of pleasantly fruity-bitter hops. If only it were stronger, it would be exceptional.

T: Not so good. Generic pale ale with a splash of sweet ginger. Spicy-hopped (floral, not bitter) endtaste.

M: Medium. Neutral. More good than bad.

O: It's okay. I guess I like it. I wouldn't recommend one, but I'd have another. Characterised by its 'sweetishness'.

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Photo of smakawhat
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.

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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 N3rdM3t4l
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz longneck into standard pint served at fridge temp (~45 F) no freshness date.

A: Kind of cloudy golden color with a slight reddish tint. Doesn't seem that pale to me, could be the caramel malt. No head but a decent looking ring and spotty very sparse cap. Looks pretty average.

S: Citrusy hops on the nose and a touch of malt. The malt is very light and the hops drowns out any sweetness that might come through because of the caramel malt. I like citrusy hops smell.

T: Sweeter than expected from the nose with just enough hop bite to balance but no lingering hop bitterness. The slightly sweet malt hits and then a wave of slightly earthy and lemony hops sweeps away the sweetness and it finishes with a twang of bitter that fades very quick. Slightly drying.

M: Medium bodied on the lighter side but that could be due to the temp of the beer. No surprises in this ones mouthfeel.

O: Not remarkable but not at all bad. Balanced drinkable pale ale. Can't say I wouldn't drink it again but would most likely shoot for something a little more impressive when I am buying.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

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Photo of OldIronLungs
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Throws up a couple fingers of nice light tan head over an amber caramel pint. Head dissipates into a thin ring of persistent bubbles.

Sweet caramel breadyness and very light citrus and pine. Nice medium to light carbonation and a bit of malty sweet residual aftertaste.

Feels like a totally reasonable session ale, but it's got to be the darkest maltiest pale ale I've had in a while. Too sweet for me.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a - poured a one finger thick off-white head into a snifter. the head was off-white and left a thin ring that was gone halfway through. the body was an orange-amber color.
s - orange peel.
t - overwhelmingly citrus.
m - bubbly and thin.
d - decent offering but not a great APA.

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Photo of joshuadlight
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty average APA, relatively new, I believe. Grassy citrus notes throughout, but without much of the bitterness that usually accompanies these aromas and flavors. Its drinkable enough, but isn't on the same playing field as SNPA or Dale's Pale Ale, in my opinion. Pick up a sixer and try it out, its a good session beer and you may love it. Or may be like me, and go right back to where you came from.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark copper body with a thin, fine, white head.

Smell: Lightly grainy pale and caramel malt nose with a earthy, fruity, particularly citrusy hop scent.

Taste: Unassuming pale and caramel maltiness with a medium level of sweetness. Tiny tinge of grains. Earthy, citrusy hops imparting a taste of infused citrus peels, though the overall bitterness remains light. Drying finish with a mere hint of lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A decent, simple, but easily accessible American Pale Ale.

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Photo of greybeardloon
3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Marked Feb 15 12

A: Dark red. Some retention, nice lace.

S: Sweet citrus hops. Not much else, but it's nice.

T: The hops are more subdued than on the nose, and there is very little bittering. Some sweet grapefruit does come through though. The sweet caramel malt is much more prominent than on the nose. Fairly uninteresting to me.

M: medium thin and fairly spritely.

O: An overly sweet and uninteresting pale ale.

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Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 963 ratings.
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