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Drifter Pale Ale | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

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very good
407 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: 407 | Ratings: 962
Photo of rodbeermunch
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.

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

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.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a little dark for a pale, approaching brown territory. Lovely Amarillo hop aroma on these.

Taste, good hop crispness, it does degrade at times into a woody mouthfeel, haven't been able to tell whether due to age or not. A warm up for hopheads and fans of good warm weather beer. Seen the price vary wildly for this, but is a good deal @ $7 I would say for a 6 pack.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served at 53 degrees in my SA Perfect Pint. Apr 25 11 indicated on the label. Pours a translucent amber with a half inch, frothy, off-white head that dissipates into a fairly consistent skim. Some spots and strands of lacing are revealed during the tasting. Nose expresses caramel malt, a faint citrus character and perhaps a trace of earthy hops towards the back. Malt is much less pronounced in the flavor profile and citrus intersperses throughout. Earthy bitterness comes out at the finish and gradually dissipates between quaffs. Mouthfeel is light-medium with a crisp carbonation that leaves some residual tingles on the roof of the mouth. There's also a slight acidity and a light oiliness to the texture. Overall, a fairly drinkable and accessible APA.

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Photo of cbutova
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Orange-amber with a frothy white cap. Good head retention and some spotty lace from a nice ring and cloud.

S- Nice fresh tropical fruit on top of a light caramel malt backdrop. Leading to hopefully good things here. Some floral notes as well.

T- Much maltier than the nose. It starts out with citrus hop notes and some fruit. Finishes with a blast of huge bready malt, a bit of caramel too. Flavorful.

MF- A bit thin/watery right off the bat. A bit of creaminess and low end carbonation. Just a little bit weak. Low bitterness.

DB- Sessionable flavor. Not very bitter or tiring. I have had this one a few times and am still satisfied by it. Refreshing and nicely priced.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.51/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, pours copper in color with a thin beige head that leaves no lacing on the glass. Aromas are fruity and sweet with floral hops and caramel malt. Tastes are similar to aromas - fruity, overly sweet caramel maltiness, still floral and refreshing. Thin body and low carbonation, but smooth. Overall, nice meld of flavors, but could have used a bit more bitterness to balance out the sweetness. Still pretty good though, altough I wouldn't seek it out again.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Pours clear and copper colored, thin cap of foam. A hoppy pale ale aroma, a little citrus and maybe cat pee (just a little), some caramel malts beneath. Malty tasting, sweet and grainy, with some bread and grapefruit in equal measure, but not too much of either. Middle of the road flavors, not objectionable at all but not memorable either. Light bodied, fairly easy to quaff but nothing really stood out for me.

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Photo of champ103
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky reddish/brown color. A very small white cap forms and leaves light patchy lace.
S: Citrus and piney hops. Fruity aromas of orange and lemon peal. A malty sweetness balances out the nose. Very enjoyable.
T: Follows the nose. At first a fruity and citrus hop bitterness. Sweet caramel malt for balance. A lingering hoppy bitterness in the finish.
M/D: A medium body, but thin and watery. Over carbonated for my tastes. Smooth and easy to drink. I quaffed a few of these at the bar.

Enjoyable and balanced is the name of the game. I would recommend this.

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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 BeerFMAndy
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial pint. Bottled on 062009. No other info.

A - Crystal clear with low bubble action after a rough pour. The color is a beautiful orange-amber but the overall appearance is tarnished by a weak off-white head that settles to just a tad more than a ring and only leaves a little wave of lacing on the glass.

S - The aroma of a freshly cut grapefruit squirts out with a touch of orange citrus. Light pine notes around the edges. No hint of malt as the grapefruity hops overflow!

T - The unbalanced yet delicious smelling aroma takes a bit of a different turn in the flavor. The powerful grapefruit aroma mellows out a bit as the malts are brought forward; a good balance of pale and maybe just a pinch of caramel? The pine and orange citrus are still both evident.

M - Initially smooth, it turns crisp and dry as the citric hops and fair carbonation balance out this medium-bodied beer.

D - Not too shabby at all. It's an easy drinker with a nice aroma and a good, subtle flavor that balances well. A six pack of this wouldn't last long around me especially if I wanted to session a few brewskis.

Also, the label is very cool. The selling point of this beer to me when I first saw it. Very well designed.

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

Appearance is pale bronze with an off-white head leaving scattered lace.

Smell is bread dough and limes.

Drifter has a huge citrus hop flavor, distinct and unique tropical notes that are nicely accentuated by the biscuit character of the malt. Not much bitterness, nor overly sweet, clean and quaffable.

Mouthfeel is lighter, leaning to dry.

Drinkability is pretty high if you like citrus hop flavor, a real nicely balanced, tasty Pale Ale from Widmer.

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Photo of ZAP
4.64/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Heavy orange color, almost amber and a very small head, maybe my glass wasn't clean enough. The smell is very subtle but sticky oranges, not bad. The taste is sweet citrus, a little bread, only a little bitterness on the finish. Overall, not a bad offering from wider brothers.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice semi-transparent mahogany with a decent pale beige head. Aroma is strongly hoppy and almost evergreen. Flavor is hoppy, slightly spicy and slightly floral with a subtle undertone of sweet apple. Smooth, lively, fizzy texture leaves a fruity and hoppy finish.

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Photo of Durge
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.37/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear bright ruby color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes into a small cap of lacing. The aroma is of floral hops, tea, hints of citrus. It is very nuanced. The taste leans towards the hops, but it is quite balanced. Tea, flowers, cirtus, and nice caramel notes throughout. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation, and a smooth texture. Overall, this is a very good APA. I was really not expecting something this good from Widmer Brothers so kudos to them. I will certainly drink this again.

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

Pours a clear amber color with a large white head that had excellant retention. Nice lacing is left on the glass. Has a nice citrus hop aroma. A little biscuit malt sneaks past the hops. The flavor starts out very good. Nice bitter, citrus hop flavor. Hints of grapefruit and orange. The malt is not really detectable. Unfortunately things diminish quickly leaving a medicinal aftertaste. Bitterness is on the high side for an APA. Has a nice body and carbonation. A surprisingly good APA and sessionable.

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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 RoyalT
3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - This came out a nice shiny copper in color with a decent head that actually left a little lacing.

Smell - The classic PacNW hop profile is here albeit muted but the grain is a little cheap at the nose.

Taste - The hops don't carry over well into the taste losing their complexity and taking on a really one-dimensional citrus flavor. The grain unfortunately tastes like it smells. It's not bad but just not good. It's really not anything just kind of a mediocre effort at a grain backbone.

Mouthfeel - I enjoyed the sprightly carbonation of this ale but it was too thin and watery for the style.

Drinkability - This was OK to drink but it really lacked substance.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours brilliant bright amber with very little initial or resulting foam. Sharp malt smell, lighter grassiness, some citrus. Bready taste, very mild hop keeps some sweetness in check. Touch of caramel. Mild carbonation keeps the smooth feeling. Subtle pale, good beer.

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

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. Freshness date on front label. Purchased as part of variety 24-pack from Sam's Club (Charlottesville, VA) for $23.72.

A: Honey-gold with 1-2 finger rocky off-white head with good retention but minimal lace.

S: Delicious spicy orange hoppiness is matched with solid pale and light caramel malt backing.

T: This brew's flavor is substantial with exceptional pale and caramel malt sweetness coupled with a unique orange dominated and spicy, herbal hops component that rounds out this very nice beer.

M: The maltload must be more subtantive that the taste belies as the body is medium-plus with low carbonation.

D: A really good APA with solid malt backbone and a unique hop profile which provides big flavor. This would be an exceptional session brew.

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

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume III, Issue II:

Dark copper color with a perfect clarity. The head retention is solid, with a lacing that holds its own. The blood-orange and evergreen hop aroma is very inviting, especially when hints of caramel and toasted malt reach their height. Super smooth, with a slick medium body. Oh yeah, it's on. The malt and hops are battling it out. Each time one throws a layer of flavor on top, the next one rises to do the same. Big hop flavor of fresh wild herbs, sweet citric and tropical fruit. Malt drops a thick layer of caramel, then more of a toasted grain and then a dry breadiness. Long-lingering finish of hops and malt (more hops though).

Good call on making this one a year-round beer from the get-go--a lovely beer to be had. Looks like Widmer was trying to raise their own bar and accomplished that task.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drifter Pale Ale has a creamy, off-white head, which would probably be thick and fluff,y had the barmaid poured it in a manner to build such a head (this was on draft). Lots of thick lacing rings are left down the pint glass. The aroma is initially almost nil, but as one drinks down the glass, the citrus and pine really show out. The taste is pleasantly hop forward, with strong citrus and piney aspects. Some say it has grapefruit taste in it, but I’m not sure I found that. There is a good bitter aftertaste with this. Mouthfeel is medium, and Drifter Pale Ale finishes mostly dry and has a relatively crisp finish. Overall, this is a very enjoyable and delicious beer. RJT

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Photo of Reidrover
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

New one from Widmer here in Salem.
In appearance, amber,clear with a nice sized frothy eggshell white head.
very strong hop aromas, citric mainlly but a touch of pine.
Again the hops dominate the flavour, making it seem somehow like a lemon flavoured ale!!! Odd. Some small malt in the undertow but not much.
I found that the palte let it down, slightly too thin.
Its drinkable OK..like an IPA lite. . Good stuff

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.16/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap 2 Miller's Alehouse-Destin, FL.

Poured nice near clear sunny color with a finger of off-white head.

The aroma was faint with some earthy hop tones and a crisp malt profile.

I'm not sure the temperature was right for this...it was cold. Felt colder than the ice water I was drinking. Bit of maltiness, with a crisp earthy hop profile, though again, like with the aroma, it was mild.

Light to upper light in body

It was decent. I will definitely still grab some bottles if I ever find some.

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Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 962 ratings.
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