Drifter Pale Ale | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

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Drifter Pale AleDrifter Pale Ale
Very Good
967 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 967 |  Reviews: 411
Photo of beagle75
3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
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 hopman333
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sometimes I want an APA with alot of Hop flavor and not alot of IBU's , well this is it folks. This Brew hits the nail on the head.

The appearance is a very deep copper color with an almost reddish hue. And a very beige 1 and 1/2 inch head / lacing that lasts for quite sometime.

The smell is a very welcoming fruity and floral Hop blast along with some very rich malt scents to counterbalance the hops. Very very appealing aroma. It almost reminds me of juicy fruit gum.

The taste starts of with a decent amount of bitterness which in turn slides into the fruitiness of the hops balanced by a very nice malty profile that brings a totally balanced feel to this beer. One does not overpower the other, a great balance of malt and hop flavor married together make this a superb brew.

Now I know some of you Hopheads, ( I'm one too ) are going too say it's not bitter enough, but this is an immensely drinkable beer that is extemely enjoyable to drink, in other words, drinkability is off the charts with this one yet it never gets boring. This is a great session beer without blowing up youre pallette with IBU's. Do not let the Widmer Bros label fool you, this is one hell of a pale ale that you should definately try. And this is coming from a guy that loves Stone, Three Floyd's, Bells Ect Ect !!! If you see this on sale as I did ( $ 6.49 a sixer ) definately pick one up, you will not be dissapointed. Over all a wonderful Pale ale.

Just trust me on this one fellow B'as, this brew Fu$%# rocks....

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Photo of richkrull
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one in my poker winnings from AlCaponeJunior. Thanks bud.

Poured an amber/copper color with a relatively small head on it. Not a lot of lacing staying with this one.

Smell was pretty balanced. Nice citrus hops on the back end of the caramel malts.

Taste was pretty good. Really enjoyed the citrus hop flavor.

Mouthfeel was light-medium. This beer went down very smooth.

Overall a solid beer. I was really happy with it. I wouldn't mind having this one again.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

tons of yard work all week leads me to this one! served cold and into a pint glass

Poured a cloudy amber with no real head and no significant lacing. Smell was very grainy, almost like cereal. Grassy and earthy tomes as well. Taste followed suit nicely. Hoppy but not citrusy, more of a grainy, grassy type of taste. Very mellow and different. Nice carbonation and easy drinkability make this another good brew

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Photo of Kegatron
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, with a finger of bright-white head. This retains with a foamy ½ finger, leaving back a good bit of spotty froth that dots the sides of the glass. The aroma is an even mix of grass and spice in the nose, with an underlying mix of fresh leafiness, sweet fruit, and toasted grains.

The taste has a bitter and leafy feeling citric bitterness to it that spreads out into the mouth. This is buffered by notes of softer fruit and some grains, which lend this a sweeter character. The hops give this the most push though, coming through the finish with a dry pithiness that lingers. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a lively sharpness to the carbonation that dances around in the mouth. The feel smoothes out a bit as things lessen in the mouth, giving this an overall creamy crispness.

This was a decent APA from Widmer that drank very nicely for close to 6% ABV. I had no idea that they used Nelson Sauvin in this and I liked what it brought over; giving this a soft fruitiness that helped balanced the more aggressive aspects of those bittering hops. Nothing mind blowing here but this was crisp and flavorful enough to keep me happy.

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Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice one finger head, it’s very see through though. The body is amber in color and it has lots of carbonation. It looks like a pale ale, but not quite as thick as I would like, it looks decent though. The smell is nice and hoppy with a little malt sweetness. It doesn’t smell like a weak pale ale at all, it smells legit. Yeah, nice hoppy flavor on the taste. Not too overwhelming, but good and hoppy with a nice malt balance on it. This beer is very drinkable, not too watery though. The mouthfeel could be a little bigger, but it’s not too bad. There really isn’t anything wrong with this beer at all. Overall a good pale ale!

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
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 VaTechHopHead
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nothing special or out of the ordinary. SRM is right on, nice and clear, but the head might be a tad thin for my liking.

S - Nice and balanced. Easy to pick out the sweet amber malt character and the hops are clean and earthy.

T - Tips the scales a little to the hoppy side but the balance does remain in a good ratio. The hops are crisp and clean with flavors of citrus and grass. The malt is present in the aftertaste but not too heavy at all. I was actually quite pleased with the flavor of this one.

M - Medium body with just the right amount of carbonation. Nice lasting dryness on the palate from the hops.

Overall I was very surprised from this beer as I find most of the Widmer creations kind of bland and just average. This one gave a renewed faith for me in the brewery. Very nice beer for the season.

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Photo of NickRivers
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A&S - Light transparent copper with two fingers worth of white frothy head. Lots of citrus hops overpowering the nose with some slight caramel malt and some biscuit.

T&M - Very crisp, medium bodied mostly leaning towards the hop side, lots of citrus hops and crystal malt on a dry end.

O - A nice drinker overall, not one of the best in its style.

My second of the Widmer beers and I so far have enjoyed them, the first of course was the ever so popular Widmer Hef, which isn't a favored style of mine. They're lighter beers aren't so complex they tend to lean to one flavor which makes the beer and in my opinion sort of unbalances it. My perfect example of a balanced APA/ARA is NBB's Fat Tire, a beer that even the BMC drinkers can respect. This is definitely a hop heads beer. Its an easy drinker, not to bitter, very fresh earthy feel, but nothing that makes it amazing-ergo- the score. I gave it 3.5 across the board, it came in a lovely sampler which I would pick up again however I could not see myself buying a six of this. Stay thirsty my friends?

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Photo of chicagoabbot
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into a snifter...I've had this straight out of the bottle too and like it that way just fine.

Pours a pale amber color with a decent head, although it doesn't retain as well as the great ones of this style.

Nose has got some nice malt and I like the hop profile of this one. Pretty solid aroma, but not too complex or rich, which is why the score isn't higher.

It carries through the above characteristics on the tongue, malty with a touch of bitterness. Not too sweet, which is good. Decent balance with a respectable finish. Again, not too complex, but respectable and a fine drinker.

Good mouthfeel. Overall, I like it and it was a decent value as part of a sampler 12 pack from this brewery.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3/5  rDev -20%
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 Groomsy
3.36/5  rDev -10.4%
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 JMad
3.57/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I poured a 12 oz bottle into a glass mug...

The liquid was an amber, copper color with a filmy, eggshell colored head that hugged the glass. The smell is mostly lemon, pepper and tabacco. It tastes just slightly bitter with some spicy, lemony hop accents. There is a hint of bubblegum and a bready finish. Feels pretty light and watery with lots of carbonation. This is a pretty average pale ale, still enjoyable though and I would drink it again.

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Photo of sj660
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perhaps the name "drifter" refers to being lost in the vast ocean of American Pale Ales. There are so many with so little variation: some malt and a lot of hops.

This one pours dark brown, with a good white foam and medium retention. Looks good.

The smell is a strong whiff of pine, grapefruit, and other citrus. The taste matches, with good bitterness, but also a smooth malt character that distinguishes this APA from its numerous brethren.

Medium body, medium carbonation, it coats the tongue well.

Overall, the smooth malt character of this APA makes it one you can drink a bit longer than others.

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Photo of flyingspatula
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
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 mattkoon
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this beer was a very very pleasant surprise. The color is a beautiful golden brown. The smell is of grapefruit and floral citrus. The taste of drifter is a very interesting grapefruit combined with complex piney florals. All of this flavor is surprisingly smooth and drinkable. This was the first time I have ever had drifter pale ale but it won't be the last.

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Photo of theperfectGF
3.89/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was my first experience with beverages from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company. Had a great grapefruit scent that carried through to the taste. Was crisp with good hop flavor. Nice amber coloring. Easy drinking and very enjoyable, could definitely have a few of these. Will be sure to look for it again.

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Photo of OldIronLungs
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
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 oldsailor
4.32/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the Brew's Best Craft beer festival this weekend. It was my first taster of the day and was such a good choice. Fruity smell was the first thing I noticed. Crisp feel once it hits your mouth which is a delight on a warm day. Clean taste after you're finished, no lingering after-taste. Overall I would definitely pick this beer up again.

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Photo of KajII
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[Best served in a Lager Glass]

It poured a deep dark orange amber with a thin (less than 1 finger) fizzy white head that dissipated quickly leaving behind a tiny bit of residue floating on top which created some fairly nice sticky lacing.

The aroma was that of caramel malts, citrus hops and an earthy yeast with hints of orange and grapefruit.

It tasted malty and slightly bitter with a hint of caramel and orange at first and finished with a strong bitter hoppy flavor that had a nice grapefruit presence at the end. The flavor stuck around for a nice little while allowing the hops to settle nicely at the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel was light to medium in body and dry in texture with an medium carbonation.

Overall an exquisite tasting Pale Ale that left a very nice hoppy citrus flavor lingering, letting you really enjoy all aspects of this brew.

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Photo of russpowell
4.04/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up as part of a mixed sixer, bottled 12/06/10.

Pours an effervescent amber/copper with a finger of cream colored head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Citrus hops, light breadyness, pineapple & lemon grass

T: Follows the nose, nice grapefruit snap, slight breadyness & some woody/herbal hops hiding in the background up front. Grapefruit, a touch of pineapple & grainy apricot as this warms. Finishes crisp with slight caramel sweetness & a kiss of grapefruit

MF: Light/medium bodied, lively but working for me carbonation level. Thins out a touch as this warms

Drinks very easy, wish I'd popped the top on this 3 or so weeks ago when I got this, although I may have found it too hoppy! Well done Widmer, will revisit this one again

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Photo of BaileysBrew
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

Pours with a momentary head, which quickly dissipates. Some lacing at the edges. Wouldn't mind a little more staying power in the head.

The beer has a very pretty clear, orange hue that is more distinct from other pale ales I've seen.

Smells of tangerines and grapefruits. Fruit essence is right up front on a beer with no fruit.

And amazingly the fruit essence comes through in your first drink. Those Summit hops are amazing when done properly, can really fool you that there was no orange peel addition.

The beer fills your mouth with a good level of carbonation and is pretty smooth . Overall, this beer goes down easy and fast and is very approachable. Recommended for Saturday afternoon on the porch. Enjoy responsibly.

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Photo of notalagerlugger
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this beer at the Cincinnati Beerfest I was really impressed. I loved the grapefruit aroma and taste. It is a good mild beer with a good hop taste. I lean way towards the hop side on a taste scale but I make an exception for this beer. I love this beer and will be my new everyday beer once I can get a steady supply.
A - burnt copper beautiful color white head
S - a little citrus grapefruit
T - nice grapefruit hop finish and light malt start. Not to sweet to hide the awesome hop flavor.
M - good light feel
D - great but strong citrus flavor could interfear with some foods

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

Appearance - light amber to copper, 1/4" to 1/2" head, only slightly opaque, head dissipates quickly (bad pour?)

Aroma - pleasant citrus aroma

Taste - good malty taste, very subtle citrus and pine taste

Aftertaste - noticeable bitterness, some hoppy/citrus flavors. No astringency. Nice and smooth

Overall - mild bitterness for a pale ale. The malty taste nearly overrides the subtle citrus flavor. Very drinkable but not entirely memorable.

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Photo of theboozecruise
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Front Porch Pub in Houston - served in a shaker pint.

This is the best looking pint of the night... a clear deep reddish color with a pretty impressive head. Not bad at all.

The aroma was a good combo of citrus hops and sweet caramel malts. The blend I look for in a good APA was there, and definitely want to give it a taste.

The flavor is more of the hoppy fruit flavors than the malt, but the malt still comes through as well. The sweeter flavors are there when you swish the beer around in your mouth and the beer rolls over the tip of the tongue. On the swallow, the hops come through even moreso.

A good beer, best one of the night, and one I went back for seconds of.

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Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 967 ratings
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