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 beertunes
2.7/5  rDev -28%
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%
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 superdedooperboy
3.89/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer of this at a Class Six in Fort Benning, GA.

12 oz. bottle poured into a pub glass.

Pours a clear, deep copper hue with a rather disappointingly thin, bubbly head of off-white foam that disappears quickly and leaves behind virtually nothing of itself on the walls of the glass.

I smell dry-hopping! Aroma is a full onslaught of American hop goodness, bright, floral and citrusy, with loads of grapefruit and orange. Quite delightful and very inviting.

Light-to-medium in body with a bit of a lively carbonation. Sadly, the flavors aren't quite as delightful as the aroma. Slight caramel sweetness shows itself up front, moving into a mildly bitter middle with rather one-dimensional herbal hop notes; develops into a slightly bittersweet, medium-dry finish with a bit of lingering caramel sweetness.

Quite drinkable, though not the most complex Pale Ale out there. Still, it is quite a cut above the mediocre-at-best "Hefeweizen" that is the brewery's flagship beer; this one should be bumped into that status, as the nose alone is enough to win out over the Hefeweizen any day.

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Photo of Tone
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, amber/copper color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Decent retention and slight lacing. Smells of strong hops and slight sweet malt. Fits the style of an American Pale Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hops up front, slight sweet malt, slight grain, and some earthy malt. Overall, a light and refreshing pale ale with decent body, but very little complexity.

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

A: Poured a coppery-sunset orange with a bright clarity and dirty white fizzy pancake head that quickly dissipated away. No visible lacing while a macro bubbly carbonation rapidly rose but quickly faded within the first minute of pour.

S: sweet sugary grapefruit and citrusy tangerines. The malting takes a back seat here while the hopping was sweet, wet with some lemony pine scents on the close.

T: The flavor started out thin, with a wet lemony/citrus hopping, almost juice like before moving on to slightly more drier bitterness of grapefruit peels. The malting was light and bready with hints of toasted sweetness. A light floral bitterness of lemons and a crisp munich malting adds some overall dryness to an otherwise wet and sweet start. Overall not bad, the flavor wont wow you, but the bitterness is enough for you to take note, with better then average results. A decent lingering lemon fade finishes things out. The hopping was wet and juicy, finishing slightly dry, but lacked a crispness in delivery.

M: light and slick with a good tingle of carbonation on the tip of the tongue. Not much else noting here, okay.

D: Decent drinkability with moderate enjoyment. Goes down fairly well enough, with an overall worthy recommendation.

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Photo of projectflam86
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep bronze amber color with a thick fluffy white foam that leaves nice rings of lace.

S- Some light floral hop aromas and caramel malt.

T- Nice crisp hop bitterness initially with some light citrus and floral flavors. Some fairly noticeable sweet malt in the finish that balances nicely.

M- Medium body with ok carbonation.

D- Nothing spectacular but a nice easy flavor and feel.

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

Polished copper pour with a one finger head that faded to a ring rather quickly. Some lacing left behind.
Big citrus hoppiness on the nose. Hard tack candy come to mind.
Bites of orange, sour grapefruit seem to dominate this one. Decent malt backing, but seems to be left behind. Bitter eges burn on the tongue.
Feel is average. Not bad at all.

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

Out of a bottle this beer was a clear copper color with a little rising carbonation. The one finger of rust-colored head displayed mediocre retention and acceptable lacing. The aroma was wild! Sweet and tropical fruits most notably papaya and guava with only hints of malt behind the gushing, fruity hops presence. The flavors were equally hop oriented but much less fruity and floral. I tasted the hops again first followed by some sweet, doughy malt and a little wood followed by the tropical and citrusy hops that made for a clean finish. The mouthfeel was good, the body medium and the carbonation solid. I enjoy sweeter beers and this definitely was one; for my palate it was sessionable and enjoyable.

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Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a shaped pint glass.

Drifter Pale Ale poured a nice dark copper with a three-finger head that didn't stick and disappeared quickly.

Fruit popped in the smell and taste, with hints of grapefruit and peaches. The feel was bubbly and weak, with only slight bitterness. It was very refreshing.

Drifter Pale Ale is a good summer ale with a great deal of flavor; however, it leaves nothing behind--on the glass or the palate.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice deep copper color, thick tan head leaves a serious lacing behind. Pretty!

Nice caramel sweet malt aroma, with grassy hops. Good balance to the aroma and it is very enticing. Taste has a nice lemony grass hop profile, The hops only turns subtly bitter in the end, as the sweet caramel blends nicely with the lemon for a nice balanced finish. If anything it is a touch sweet. THis is a nice tasting APA.

Medium bodied, a nice round feel mildly syrupy in the finish. Carbonation is on the low side.

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

Draught: This one pours a clear amber color with a decent sized off-white head. It leaves some lacing down the side of the glass. The aroma is interesting. There are grassy, earthy hops and another aroma in there it too. Others have said spruce, but I think it almost smells like a whiff of mint. The same characteristic translates into the taste. It is slightly bitter, with a decent body. The earthy and grassy hops are there, but so is the other hop note. Maybe it is psychological from the aroma, but I get a faint taste of mint.

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

Poured from brown bottle born in mid june. A clear dark amber / orange with thin eggshell head. Smell: bready malt with a piney, lemony, vaguely grapefruity hop character. Taste: sweet bready and caramel malt with a light citrus kick, and a touch of an odd musty astringency. The hop character is fine but the malt is too sweet and a bit funky. A little on the thin side too. Not bad but won't return.

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Photo of Durge
3.9/5  rDev +4%
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 raninator84
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap @ Cork & Vine in Dayton Ohio. Drifter is a surprisingly solid pale ale, solid but not amazing. Pours almost amber and darker hue than most PA's I've drank. Smells of hop infused with a bit of a caramel and bitters but the smell is weak. Tastes like a traditional pale ale. Hops aren't overpowering and malt character although not perfectly balanced is present. Overall a solid Pale Ale Session brew.

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Photo of BeerPhan86
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought quite a few six packs of this on sale this summer. I have really enjoyed having such a good beer at a great price.

A - Darker than most pale ales. I would say it is a very dark golden color, almost reddish. The head was nonexistent at first, so I feared I had gotten a flat batch. With some swirling in the pint glass a nice off-white foamy head appears, but quickly evaporates.

S - Smells of sweet, citrusy hops. Not a bitter scent like with most pale ales.

T - Fruity and very hoppy. Not as bitter as my old standby, Saranac Pale Ale. Some burnt notes in the finish. Very refreshing!

M - A bit watery and not too thick.

D - This is a great session ale. At 5.7%, I could see myself going through a lot of this when amongst friends. A great beer to just have one of on a hot day as well.

Overall, this is a great sessionable pale ale that I was pleasantly surprised with for the sale price of 5.99/sixer. I will definitely be buying this up before it's gone! My favorite offering from Widmer so far.

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Photo of Overlord
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is ... not terrible. Not terrible, at all. Why can't this be offered instead of their hefeweizen everywhere? While Sierra Nevada pale ale has saved me from a wretched beer selection many a time, this could serve the same purpose when the former isn't available. Alas, I am too often stuck with Widmer Hefeweizen instead.

Pours a bright coppery amber. About an inch and a half of quick dying head.

Smells like caramel and a bit of grapefruit and citrus. Taste is much the same, straightforward, yeasty, caramel malt with a bit of sticky grapefruit to it. The hops aren't so much bittering as they are citrus-ing. Hahahaha that barely makes sense.

Pleasant, quaffable. Darn. I was gearing up for hate.

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

On-tap 7/10/09 at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light coppery brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, hops and fruity citrus.

T: The taste starts with a strong fruity citrus sweetness that remains dominant the whole time. There's a decent hops presence that comes in but the sweetness continues with a caramel flavor in the background. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The after-taste is also sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, the sweetness kind of over-powers everything else in the beer, but overall it's a fairly good beer that is worth drinking for a while.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
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 rtratzlaff
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a body of an amber ale rather than a pale ale with an off white creamy head. Aromas are sweet caramel maltiness with a background of hops that come off as slightly citrus.
The flavor is a good mix of bittersweet with some grape fruit characteristics, but there's some lingering harshness to the hops that isn't pleasant. Nothing crazy going on here. It could be much better, I would rather have Sierra Nevada, but this is much different with a much different malt bill. Plenty of flavor going on here, but it seems a bit of a mess.

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Photo of jeremyd365
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty, dark amber with only a hint of head. Not much haze and smells of a solid, fruity hop. It's got a solid body with good mouthfeel, and the flavor is delicious. It's crisp and piney with overall good hop character to finish. This was a very enjoyable pale that I would definitely recommend!

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Photo of far333
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Balanced and sessionable pale ales seem to be in short supply lately, or else I'm just not finding them. This one seems to fit the bill.

Pours a crystal clear apricot color with streams of fine bubbles rising up to a sizzly head that fades out quickly.

Aroma of bright tangerine citrus, some ripe pear and honey, some floral notes.

Flavor fairly matches the nose, non-assertive citrus and floral hops, low bitterness, bready malt with light brown sugar mixed in, some toffee and honey, hops remain upfront, finishes with a flourish of doughey malt and tingle, buttered corn lingers.

Very tasty without trying too hard, well-balanced, great poolside beer.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

amber bodied brew with a good sized cream colored head thats the result of a little cascading action. Good amount of lacing left behind on the glass. Pale malt nose dominated by a nice citrus hop note. Standard pale malt front with a very nice floral hop background, slightly bitter. Creamy medium mouth. Not a bad pale at all.

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Photo of armock
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured a copper color with an off white head that fades quickly

S - Is of piny hops on a decent malt backbone

T - Starts with citrus hops then gets balanced out some by the caramel malt

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - Not the first beer that I'd order but at those bars that only get things from AB distributors its a good stand by

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Photo of oberon
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was a little aprehensive about buying this because I havent overly impressed with other Widmer products but this was pretty good I have to say.Poured into a standard pint a clear medium golden with a nice tight formed 1/2 finger white head that had good lasting power.Aromas of caramel/biscuit malt with a firm toastiness,a tinge of citric hop comes thru as well.Pretty balanced on the palate,a big sweetish caramel base with some dough up front that yields to a citrusy lightly piney finish.A real summer quaffing pale ale,it blow your mind but its pretty solid.

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

Pours an orange amber with a touch of haze from a 12 oz. bottle. An inch of slightly off white head offers good retention and can be easily regenerated with a bit of a spin

Smell is of citrus yet without the overwhelming richness of Cascade. A nice balance with some pine notes mixed in. A certain balance is present though rather malty.

Taste is dry and slightly bitter. Not bad and somewhat sweet for its own good. Decent feel and drink yet a bit bland when first sampled due to low carbonation. A revisit with a fresher bottle shows better carbonation and better balance.

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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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