Drifter Pale Ale | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

very good
965 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

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Ratings: 965 |  Reviews: 410
Photo of Seanibus
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

For a Pale Ale, it's not all that pale, but it is quite tasty.

Pours a surprisingly reddish amber with a thin but satisfying head that drops a little too fast, but does leave good lacing. The aroma is pleasantly hoppy - strong with grapefruity hops. The flavor is even more grapefruity, with a sweet, almost candy-like finish. Bitterness is muted both on the tongue and on the finish, though there is a little citrus-like bitterness, like the oil on an orange rind. The mouthfeel is insubstantial, which is the one clear flaw in what is otherwise quite good.

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Photo of rolf17
5/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

At 12 bucks for 12 u cant go wrong here. An awesome IPA,
I drink these between the more spendy beers in my cellar (victory storm king, bells expedition stout, founders breakfast stout...). Widmers Bros (aka Brewmasters Bros : ) have created a niche - bringing an excellent beer to the masses while keeping cost down. Bravo!

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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 Spineypanda
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is definitely a notable pale ale!

It has a pleasant hoppiness that is just enough, followed by a hint of sweetness.

My first experience with the Widmer Bros. seemed less than enjoyable, but they have obviously redeemed themselves and are making higher quality beers!

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Photo of brdc
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another interesting find at WDW, poured into a pint glass.

Golden brew, thin white head with some retention.
Aroma, and the flavor follows suit, seems a nice combination of biscuity malts and grassy hops, although nothing special. Bitterness is minimal, but this was quite refreshing on an extremely hot day.

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

A- Dark Golden colored ale. Good lacing, very dainty.

S- Hoppy in smell, very grapefruity in smell.

T- The taste is that of an IPA, only more on the malty side. Sort of a caramel taste.

M- Good mouthfeel to say the least.

D- Easy to drink, very tasty.

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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 beer348
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

my beer ratings are kind of dull. either i like the beer or i didn't . so i am still new to this and not that picky with the ratings. LIke here I gave all 4's becuase i liked it. I guess i could of varied it with a 4.5 here or there but oh well.. wow i keep needing to write more on these things jeez.. isn't it enough already ??

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Photo of TheMadJack
2.62/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz Bottle into Pint glass. Beer is deep orange with some foam and a thin head. Decent lacing that fades to thin.

Aroma is similar to bourbon without the alcohol scent - an oaky base - on top of which are pine, raspberry, grapefruit and apple peel. So far so good.

First sip brings moderate hops, piny and slightly citrusy. Not a whole lot of depth here, the bittersweet bite fizzes out with the carbonation and leaves just a sensation of bitteness on the tongue. I had some brie on hand while drinking, and it didn't enhance the experience much beyond bringing out a cayenne pepper aroma. The grapefruit and oak flavors in the nose come out in the taste as the beer warms, and the beer gains some depth with caramel coming through.

Mouthfeel is thin and fizzy, and the carbonation fades fast. The beer is easily drinkable. Definitely a laid back brew that will go with just about anything. Unexceptional, though that can be a good thing if you're not looking to overwhelm your tastebuds.

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Photo of gatornation
3.27/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a medium to light amber /orange color with a thin head and little lacing.. smell is pine and grass and grapefruit wth some sweet malts all on the slight side taste is fainter then the smell im not wowed with this pale ale from the color to the pour and taste its on the light side the hop profile is light... there are so many ipas and pale ales out there that this one just gets lost for me on the flavor and drinkability..its just a bit above average

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Photo of seand
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a light orange-ish amber, with a small frothy white head. Just a bit on the surface sticks around, but enough to leave decent lacing.

S: Citrusy hops, with a slight malty sweetness.

T: Citrusy hops, hints of grapefruit. Also has a slightly sticky sweetness to it.

M: Medium to light bodied, medium amount of carbonation.

D: A nice session beer.

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Photo of ChopperSmith
4.19/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark amber with a thin white head.

Smell: Floral and pine hops are the main scent for this one.

Taste: I was pleasantly surprised at this one, much more flavorful and a nice floral and grapefruit hops flavor. Not a lot of malt here, but the hops are the star in this APA.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A decent flavorful American Pale Ale. Would definitely seek this out and drink it again.

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Photo of biggred1
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark cinnamon orange with a fine creamy tan cap that leave sheets of lace behind on the glass. The nose is fresh and hoppy with pineapple, toasted grain and plenty of caramel maltiness. Caramel slathered toast with a mild resinous hop bite that lingers into the finish. Medium bodied and mildly carbonated. This is far and away the best WBBC offering I've had. A pretty spot on PA and perfect session ale.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.69/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, fished from a mixed 12-pack that's been in the office fridge for a few weeks. no markings on the bottle, though the box shows 'Packaged on Jun0409'.

Under the cap: A PROST: To Being Tall Enough for the Ride!

A: Hazed auburn/amber, a gentle swirl of fine silt, really no carbonation visible. Head is minimal, a squat ivory cream that's quickly reduced to a gauzy film and thin ring.

S: Nice aroma: sugared caramel sweetness, roasted nuts and a fairly strong dose of piney and lemony/citrus hops. Actually really nice; the more i sniff, the more wonderful it becomes.

T: Cakey sweetness with a rounding-out hop zest. Quite lemony, not sure what to make of it; an iced scone, maybe? Cereal grain holds a honey sweetness, hops pull their weight but seem subdued but for that tangy lemon zest.

M: Fairly bland feel, not sure whether this is 3 months in the bottle talking (not unreasonable), or just a boring mouthfeel. Going with the latter. Low carbonation, mild zest, sweetened finish.

D: Decent enough; when I first tried this back in late winter/early spring I was more impressed than I have been in subsequent tries. Not sure if the newness wore off, later batches were lacking or what exactly. All I know is it's easy enough to drink, but doesn't do much to set it apart from the pack.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wasn't really wowed by Widmer's Drop Top Amber, plus I'm aware this is a craft brewery bought out by the big guns so I was weary of this one. To my surprise, this was a pretty good pale ale. Pours a copper sort of color with not much to it, very little lacing. You can actually detect some hops in the aroma.. good start. Nice mouthfeel and a nice medium body to this one. Some light hop bitterness and definitely some citrus notes in there. Nice smooth and easily drinkable beer. I've had better pale ale's but I've had a lot more sub-par ones compared to this.

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Photo of beachbum1975
2.98/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle. Per the label, bottled on 05-20-2009. Neat old school label. The label makes me wanna go to the Pacific Northwest and fish or something.

Poued into my tulip, a clear, medium brown with blonde highlights. Average tan head with average retention.

Smells like your average pale ale. Light to moderate pale malts with a light citrus tinge.

Slightly watery mouthfeel echoing the nose in flavor. Surprisingly low carbonation.


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

Rusty pumpkin with gem-like clarity, even after all 12 ounces were squeezed into the glass on a single smooth pour. The tight-bubbled crown of golden beige foam looks pretty damn good and is sticky enough to coat the glass with scattered sheets of lace that resemble spray-on snow.

The aroma is softly caramel malty and has an intriguing hoppiness. Summit adds an earthy citrusiness and Nelson Sauvin adds... something else. NS is a New Zealand variety of hop that is supposed to smell and taste like Sauvignon blanc grapes and gooseberries. Even though I can't identify either of those, the nose is APA enjoyable.

Drifter is a rock-solid American pale ale. There's just enough that's different about it that it's interesting as well, which never hurts. Drinking it at approximately four months of age makes me wish that I had cracked the crown closer to one month (assuming it was in my possession then). A sharper hop bite would make it even tastier.

The malt is a near equal mixture of pale and caramel (plus CaraVienne and Carapils), with very little of the toasted-earthy-nutty flavors that malts like Munich or Vienna tend to add. Summit may not be my favorite American hop, but it's citrusy enough to be in the second tier. Regarding the white grapiness... it's hard to say for sure. Balanced and drinkable? Yes and yes.

Due to a slight shortage of heftiness and a tendency to wander away on the back end, the mouthfeel falls a little short. Not seriously so, but a 'good' score can't be awarded in good conscience. A few more bubbles might have helped.

Widmer Drifter is good beer that is probably even better beer immediately after bottling. Of course that's true of pretty much all APAs. This is one of WBBC's better efforts and is an easy recommendation to anyone who enjoy a well-crafted pale ale.

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Photo of thartman
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured form a 12oz bottle dark copper color, decent finger sized head with good retention. some sticky lacing left on the glass and lots of noticable carbonation. Smell of toasted malts, citrusy hops, and hay. Well balance taste of hops and malt, dry on the finish. Body on the light side, some lingering hops and malt on the finish. Slightly sweet. Nothing special, but overall a decent brew.

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

Served in a standard shaker glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a clear bright copper color with a slightly off-white ¼" head that recedes slowly but relatively soon to a ring around the glass with some foam in middle. By the end this is pretty much gone. Sipping initially leaves some nice sheets and speckles of lacing, but soon sipping yields only some speckles of lacing on the sides through most of the beer.

Smell: The aroma is clearly citrus hops with some piney character as well. This is backed up by a nice rich caramel malts component.

Taste: The nose pretty much predicts the flavor, with its caramel malt backbone and sweetness balancing the citrus hops. The flavors are quite crisp, clean, and well balanced as the malt backbone supports the hops and gives them a rich counterpoint without either malt or hops overpowering the other.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied with good carbonation throughout most of the beer. The fairly long finish begins in the balance of the hops and malt stretching out to and ending that is dry and just bitter enough.

Drinkability: I'd say this is good solid APA. I'd be happy to have another and may if it is still on tap next time I'm here, but on the other hand there are some other APAs I'd prefer given my choice

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

Sometimes a beer will surprise you...enter Drifter...r

Pours a VERY dark auburn, amber almost brown color. The head on this is quite thin and the carbonation levels look kinda low, however the color and clarity of this beer look really nice in the glass.

The aroma is ridiculous tropical fruit. It will be your first hint that this is not like all the other pale ales you could have chosen from the cooler. I'd say mango and papaya sum up those smells and I am not kidding at all. This beer has an aroma that beats out a ton of other pale ales. Definitely some hop bitterness coming out but those tropical fruit smells are unbelievable.

Taste is that of lots of tropical fruit, citrusy hops and definitely a nice balance of malt. Altogether its hard to beat a combination like this. Guava? Can I taste that, I think so. I am basically getting a lot of those expensive fruits squashed into my mouth with a dose of hopes just for the hell of it. The balance is great, wow, I love this stuff.

I have to be honest, this is definitely one of my favorite pale ales available right now. The flavors and drinkability (yeah that word sucks, I know) are incredible. Its a hot and humid summer day in New England and this is what I crave.

Cheers Widmer Brothers! Great job on this one!!!

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Photo of tblfan04
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours nice with a copper/brown appearance with a good summer cherry smell to it. with the first taste it has a good crisp almost fruity taste with a decent drinkabilty and I can taste a nice hint of the Hops which is always nice however not the best Pale Ale I have ever had maybe not even in my top 5 but a good pale ale none the less. I might buy it again if Sierra Nevada is not on the shelf

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Photo of riversider76
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours amber golden brown I'm going to call it. Thin white head, with some retention and nice lacing. Aroma is of grassy piney hops with a hint of caramel. Body is light with just a hint of carbonation. Taste is light yet full flavored. Good mix of bready malts and grassy hops.Hints of grapefruit too. Very enjoyable.

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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 beertunes
2.7/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a clear, light brown color (not any of the shades of yellow or gold as expected for the style), with a clean, white head that had some retention and medium lacing.

The nose is greeted with a very sweet aroma containing no hop presence. The taste was very pleasant, not too sweet and had just a slight tinge of hop on the finish.

The body was good, full without being heavy, and well balanced. This is a very drinkable brew, having several of these easy, well balanced, very enjoyable brew would not be a problem. Overall this is a good beer that is in the wrong style category. The appearance, smell and taste would all rate higher if the brewers chose not to call this "brown" beer a PALE ale.

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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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Drifter Pale Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 965 ratings.
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