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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 thecarster1
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a- one finger of head fades quick to a spotty layer of lace, orange amber coloring.

s- all malt here, some sweetness, maybe a touch of vanilla and a hint of hops.

t- malt heavy pale ale, some slight citric hops kick in on the back end.

m- medium body.

d- this is an average pale ale, nothing sticks out as being really great, i wouldn't seek this one out.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
2.67/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is an interesting beer. It pours a dynamic, clear copper color with no head. It's aroma is an odd mix of vanilla, pine, biscuits, and some other stuff. It's very strange. The flavor again is odd with molasses, licorice, and metallic notes. This beer has a light mouthfeel with a light alcohol warmth. Original Drifter Pale Ale could be a session beer for some. It was just ok with Mexican food. Slightly recommended.

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Photo of shand
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass, manufactured 7/1/10

Appearance: Pours a wonderful orangish amber with a nice half-inch head with good retention.

Smell: Citruses dominate the smell, with just a hint of appealing malt.

Taste: Wonderful. A hoppy citrus with just a hint of tropical fruits dominates the start, giving way to a slightly yeasty malt. The aftertaste lingers for a while and is great, with a perfect balance of hops and malts. It's very crisp, and is great in warmer weather. I do sometimes get a bit of a metallic taste which puills this down just a bit.

Mouthfeel: Just the right amount of carbonation for the style.

Drinkability: Goes down very easy. Could down a few of these no problem. The wonderful after-taste forces me to drink these slowly though.

All in all this is an exceptional american pale ale, and it's cheap too! For the 7 bucks a six-pack I can find this for locally, it's a no brainer. It's probably not quite as good as Sierra Nevada, but it's still great if you want a little more citrus in your pale ale. As it is it's a wonderful warm-up beer for a great session.

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Photo of nukem5
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice copper pour with a 3/4 cap of tan foam which dissapates within 2 minutes.

S: Great aroma of hoppiness and light malts with traces of some piney and mostly citrusy.

T: Very crisp and clean and great with a nice sharper cheese I enjoyed it with a Dubliner.

M: Nice the way it quickly dissapears from the tongue, but very good flavor while there.

D: Very drinkable and smooth could drink a few of these easy!

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Photo of cbutova
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
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 SteelKettle
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: copper color with nice thick head with good retention and nice lacing
Smell: hops with hints of citrus and pine
Taste: hops with a malty and citrus flavor with a clean bitter finish
Mouthfeel: good carbonation and medium body with a clean feel
Drinkability: very very drinkable enjoy a lot drank out of a pint glass.

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Photo of ExtraStout
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thin white head but with good retention and lots of big, popping bubbles, not much lacing. Red copper color just deep enough to hold your gaze and get past transparency, nice fade to burnt orange hues along the rims. Admirable mix of pink and white grapefruit in the nose, floral with chamomile tea notes, spoonful of pine sap, no herbaceous nor ultra-sweet elements, stays within itself and on message, you could sniff it for some time. Medium-bodied, however, most of it is palate pressure and a sense of marching forward rather than flavor. The grapefruit and tangerine citrus starts things off well, after that there's momentary pine, green hay, wet stone aspects. But after that it's evanescence leads to homogeneity. Credibly, the carbonation ratchets it down to fit the body profile. It's drinkable enough for a bottle or two before your mind starts to wander. If the palate could match the nose, that would be something.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
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 biboergosum
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a hazy medium orange-amber colour, with one finger of sudsy light beige head, which leaves some sparse specks of lace around the glass as it quickly abates. It smells of tropical fruits - grapefruit, pineapple, and kiwi, and bready malt. The taste is sweet caramel/toffee malt, some orange and pineapple fruitiness held over from the aroma, and herbal, floral hops. The carbonation is below average, the body medium weight, smooth, a bit gritty, but mostly creamy. It finishes off-dry, the sweet bready grain getting a run for its money from the herbal, earthy hops.

I like very much the exotic fruitiness, but the hops don't quite keep up in the end. I could see the herbal sweetness becoming tiring after a few rounds.

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Photo of Malt
3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is more amber color than the Drop Top Widmer makes. Good lacing(drinking it in a pint glass right now). Minimal carbonation, very thin head and there is hardly any citrus taste to me and my brother(we are rating this as we speak).. My brother says( IT'LL GETCHA DRUNK)!!!! LOL... Anyways we like this better than the other Widmer product... I would definatly buy this one again!!!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Widmer The Drifter Pale Ale, 22 oz. bomber.

Clear and coppery colored, snowy white head, nice lace leaving.

Aroma: floral/herbal hop nose, slightly soapy, too...

Taste: soft, pleasant, delicate malts, ...very mild, did i say soft? yeah...delicate? should I go to the thesaurus?
Also, ho-hum. I said, "mild".right?

I can't find a lot to say about this pale ale, it's drinkable, passable, tastes...well, boring. If they were shooting for innocuous, that's what they got. There's no spark, no hoppy kick, no forward flavor at all.

Pretty blah. Can't recommend much at all. It passes the lips credulously enough. More than that? Not.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
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 Parrotbeak
4.09/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy light amber with a thin, off-white head that fades, becoming patchy. Little bit of lacing.
Smell is bready malts, with assertive citrus and piney hops. Pineapple, lemon peel, orange, and mango notes accompany.
Taste is similar to the aroma. Slightly bready/crackery malts with some citrus hops that have a faint piney aspect. Some pineapple and orange notes as well.
Mouthfeel is crisp, with a bit of bite from the hops. Finish is fairly clean, with a touch of stickiness. Light-to-medium body, and a moderate level of carbonation.
Drinkability is very good. Refreshing and tasty.

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Photo of leokbelo
4.52/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this one while on vacation at Florida's west coast (was able to bring some back home!).
Pours a lively copper, with a nice inch head, that dissipates into a niche half inch lacing. Right away you get a lot of hops on the nose, its bouquet is quite something. Piney and citrusy, made me think of Passion Fruit. Sweet and malty on the tongue, with a very moderate hop bitterness. Again, Passion Fruit!
Extremely drinkable.
This is one great American Pale Ale! Funny thing was that at first, before tasting it, it makes you think of an IPA, right away. So much hops on the nose, but very moderate on the tongue.
Excellent beer, one that I have never seen around the Miami area, so I'll be sad if I can't find it around here...
HIGHLY recommended!

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Photo of Amalak
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had off the tap a Barcade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
A- It has a copper color, basically clear, with a nice head and some lacing.
S- It has a sweet scent, probably caramel.
T- Sure enough, the caramel definitely comes through. It has a hoppy bitterness to it. But I don't know. It lacks a little something. Maybe more of a floral taste would've been nice. The sweet and hops aren't mixing for me. Not bad. I'd like to try again.

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Photo of coastiefish
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12ouncer>pint glass.

A- A crisp copper, very inviting

S- zesty citrus (mostly grapefruit), grassy and a bit floral.

T- a bit of sour on the nose going in for the taste--interesting. Little grassy and plenty hints of caramels floating throughout, for example, I am able to pick up on burnt caramel and creamy caramel.

M- Carbonated body gives it a nice texture.

D- This beer is very drinkable, for all. It serves a purpose. It is a well done American Pale Ale, that would do very well at a function, or just to have around during the summer. Its enjoyable, especially those fun caramel notes.

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Photo of gameface23
2.38/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Hazy amber with a silky, creamy off-white head.

S: Slight citrus hops and a heft dosage of caramel malts.

T: The taste starts off with a tongue coating of thick and rich caramel, which becomes ever-so-slightly cut with citrus bitterness, but not to an extent that prevents the beer from being cloying. I really didn't enjoy this. Looking up the malts on Widmer's website, it says, "PALE, CARAMEL 20L, CARAVIENNE 20L, CARAMEL 80L, CARAPILS." The fact that they use three caramel malts doesn't surprise me.

M: Medium bodied

D: I finished it, but moved on to other selections after the first one. Maybe this would be a good beer to have in the fall or winter, but on a hot summer day, I needed something with more bitterness or less caramel.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.09/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark amber color with a cream colored head. Itself, the head isn't really thick but doesn't disappear entirely, settling down to a thick layer over the brew. Lacing is nice and sticky, but slightly streaky. There appeared to be lots of heavy carbonation after the initial pour but it settled down to fine bubbles that rise slowly.

S- Big time citrus aromas, primarily of grapefruit, but also with milder tones of orange and lemon. There is also some wonderful bitter hop aromas going on here, and I like them so much because they aren't overpowering but are heavy enough that you really notice them. The malt sweetness is there as well but it isn't a dominant smell. A true smelling APA!

T- A very nice balanced flavor overall but not as intense as the aromas let on. The malt sweetness hits the palate right away, followed closely by a citrus combination of grapefruit, and to a lesser extent, orange, lemon and lime. There's a fresh, clean leafy hop bitterness to help smooth out the aforementioned flavors. The bitterness clings to the palate for a short while after the swallow.

M- This is a medium bodied beer, that is a nice balance of clean & crisp flavors, mixed in with a creamy texture that the oils of the hops have brought out well. Carbonation is relatively fine, which help out with keeping the texture smooth.

D- A very nice beer to satisfy a person's thirst....I personally don't think I'd drink it all night though. It's a very nice patio beer and I think that it would do well with a salad dressed with a tart vinaigrette! The acidity and bitterness would also help balance out a spicier dish. A very good example of this style!

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Photo of jdense
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass 7.5.2010.

Clear amber body, prolific amount of carbonation rising from bottom of glass. One finger white head, creamy, slow dissipation with significant lacing. Hop forward aroma, some citrus and floral notes, bready malts more noticeable than caramel, pretty dry nose. Medium full mouthfeel, good effervescence. Taste is a bit sweeter than the nose would appear, hops are floral, grassy with minimal bitterness in finish. Not my favorite APA, but a nice hoppy interpretation. Pretty drinkable. Worth a try.

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Photo of JerseyPaul
3.57/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Hazy, orange/copper color with some carbonation; off white head dissipates quickly, leaving slight lacing

Smell: Sweet malt w/ slight caramel; nice citrus hop aroma, with some floral and pine notes

Taste: Slight caramel sweetness up front, followed by citrusy hops; bitterness is smooth, not overpowering; finishes crisp

Mouthfeel: Medium to light body with good carbonation; crisp & smooth

Drinkability: Mild bitterness, along with the citrus flavor & slight sweetness, make this very drinkable; can easily polish off a six pack of this in one sitting

Overall, Drifter Pale Ale is an easy to drink, yet tasteful APA. This is a nice starter beer for someone who has yet to try this style. Its mild bitterness allows for easy consumption, unlike some of the hop bombs that are produced by other craft brewers.

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Photo of wahhmaster
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Corned Beef & Co. shaker pint.

Appearance: Pours a light brown color with a thin, fizzy head that dissipates quickly and leaves spotty lacing.

Smell: Smells of fruity hops with hints of caramel malts.

Taste: Bitter to begin. Develops a citrusy flavors with hints of caramel malts. This is one really stresses the grapefruit/citrus flavors. It's quite nice...

Mouthfeel: A little thin but still crisp and relatively refreshing.

Drinkability: A pretty enjoyable APA. It's not the most flavorful out there but it has a unique citrus flavor to it that's very appealing. The bitterness is pretty mild which makes this very drinkable. Definitely worth a try.

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

Bottle found at a princess lunch at disney world epcot center. Pours a golden orange with good head that fades quickly and leaves a small lac. Excellent hop aroma. Taste is juicy grapefruit upfront followed by a mild maltiness. Hops are not biting in the least. A very easy drinking pale yet has plenty of hops flavor

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Photo of lofsoc
4.09/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The smell of this beer is really attractive. I generally hesitate buying beer from the left coast(being from the right) but wanted to try a number of new ales. I'm glad I did. I have many friends who, despite my best efforts, drink right from the bottle. Shame on them as they would be missing a great asset of this brew.

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Photo of uustal
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Distinct grapefruit/citrus aroma. Smooth/rich body with a medium amount of malt. Tastes just as it smells. The grapefruit/citrus flavor is evident, but well done. Nice sweetness. Finishes with a taste of citrus hops. Very good American Pale Ale, although a little light on the hops.

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Photo of chickenflea
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12-oz bottle. Clear amber color. Light airy head. Marked citrus aroma with some floral notes. Light body. Medium sweetness up front. Some tanic notes. A dry slightly astringent finish. Interesting but the metallic side notes take too much away from this beer. Needs a food pairing to complement the finish, but I see that as a negative.

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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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