R.I.P. Drifter Pale Ale

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Frankinstiener, Mar 26, 2013.

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  1. Frankinstiener

    Frankinstiener Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Earlier today while I was wasting time at work I stumbled on a couple articles about a new year round pale ale from Widmer. So, after doing a search and not finding anything about it on BA I posted this thread: http://beeradvocate.com/community/threads/widmer-brothers-alchemy-ale.78314/ introducing Widmer Brothers Alchemy Pale Ale. Even though one of the articles I found mentioned that it was replacing Drifer Pale ale I held out hope that this wasn't true.... But I emailed the brewerery and got the follwing response: "Yes, Alchemy Ale will replace Drifter Pale Ale in our year round line up." I know Alchemy Ale comes out in the begining of April so I am hoping the Drifter I have now dated January 30th isn't the last shipment.

    This beer has been special to me ever since I had it on draft in a bar while on vacation about 4 years ago. Since then I have drank more of this beer than any other. It replaced SNPA as my "go to" pale ale and has basically been in my fridge ever since. I have had a lot of wolrd class beer since then but have never gotten sick of Drifter. Ive always thought that at $6.99 a six pack it's one of the best values in beer (along with SN Celebration). The reason I set my avatar to Drifter a while back was because I never thought it got the respect it desvered and I wanted to recomend it with every chance I got. It's not even close to being a hop bomb, and I am a hop head, but I have IPA's for that and this was my perfect pale ale, perfect session beer, and favorite value buy. Despite drinking several cases of it there is nothing I have ever wanted to change about it. The beer is well balanced but I think the unique flavor comes from some sort of euphoric mixture of Nelson Sauvin and Summit hops.

    I am new to homebrewing (on my 4th batch) and I havn't yet tried to clone this yet. Since I thought it was already pefect I didn't think I could match it. Now, even If I brewed up my first batch tonight, it is doubtfull that I would be able to try it side by side with a fresh Drifer.

    Enough of my ramblings. All of you may not apprecaite Drifter the way I do but I am sure you have a beer that is your Drifter or you can remember when one of your favorite brews was discontinued. Good things don't last forever. I raise this glass of Drifter to.....Drifter


  2. dmdoub

    dmdoub Aspirant (264) Nov 5, 2005 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    For some reason I have never tried Drifter, but the Widmer Rotator IPAs are my go-to value beer. I'll have to see if I can find any Drifter around before it disappears forever. Thanks for the tip.
    ufmj likes this.
  3. afrokaze

    afrokaze Zealot (580) Jun 12, 2009 Arizona
    Industry Beer Trader

    Widmer isn't my fav by any means, but they don't get enough respect imo for the work they've done revamping things in the last few years. I've enjoyed almost all the Rotator Series IPAs thus far, and Drifter wasn't bad from what I remember. Always sad to see a good beer discontinued, but Alchemy sounds like it'll be tasty though!
    TongoRad likes this.
  4. DrDemento456

    DrDemento456 Poo-Bah (3,382) May 15, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Only haven't a handful of their offering I have yet to find a place that ever had drifter pale ale. To tell you the truth most of Widmer's offering (except the Bourbon Stuff) I seen always ends up in the dollar discount shelf.

    Hopefully Alchemy Pale Ale is the same recipe at the same price. Then all it is will be a name change.
  5. bayareahustla

    bayareahustla Aspirant (208) Jul 13, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

  6. Frankinstiener

    Frankinstiener Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Alchemy Ale is not going to be Drifter with a name change. Alchemy uses only "Alchemy Hops" which is their house blend of hops. In Drifter it is used as the bittering hop but Nelson Sauvin and Summit are used for flavor and aroma. I am not some sort of Widmer fanboy either... just a big Drifter fan.
  7. VelvetExtract

    VelvetExtract Poo-Bah (3,149) Jan 10, 2010 Massachusetts

    One of the better Widmer brews. Poor Drifter.
    ufmj likes this.
  8. SoCalBeerIdiot

    SoCalBeerIdiot Defender (631) Mar 10, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    Noooooooo! I'm with Frankinstiener on this...Drifter is a GREAT pale ale and it will be missed. It has always been a staple in my beer fridge ever since I first tried it a couple years ago. I already kinda hate Alchemy because of this and I've never even had it!
    ufmj likes this.
  9. amnesia85

    amnesia85 Initiate (0) Mar 31, 2012 Connecticut

    It's been quite some time since I had a drifter. I too used to nurse the drifter like OP, and also thought for 10-11.99 a 12pack it couldn't be beat!!! I will also remember how the hint of lemon quenched my thirst on the hot summer days by the lake. It was one of those beers that drinks great in the am hours as well (last of the night/first of the day). RIP.
    Frankinstiener likes this.
  10. ufmj

    ufmj Initiate (168) Feb 15, 2013 Florida
    Beer Trader

    If you master this recipe, send some my way, kind sir.
    Frankinstiener likes this.
  11. StarRaptor

    StarRaptor Initiate (0) Jun 8, 2010 California

    Drifter was one of my wife and mine's favorite pale a year or so back. More toward the so. I might have to track some down for my weekend in Washington
  12. nniicckkww

    nniicckkww Aspirant (244) Dec 25, 2005 Florida

    Alchemy Pale Ale. The Alchemist. Heady Topper. Is Widmer capitalizing on another brewery's hard work and popularity? Consumer confusion. Trademark infringement.

  13. leokbelo

    leokbelo Disciple (327) Jul 12, 2006 Florida

    I remember the first time I had a Drifter. Had no clue about it, didn't know the brewer, was out of town on vacation and decided to try the pack. Man, was I pleased! This news SUCK! Will miss it dearly.
    Hope the new one is as good as.
  14. kuhndog

    kuhndog Disciple (331) Sep 6, 2011 New York

    That SUCKS! :slight_frown: I love drifter. One of my favorite pale ales. Although for some reason, where I live in central NY, I've only seen it a few times. I would only see it available 1 or 2 times a year. Definitely have to see if I can find some before it's gone. RIP.
  15. Frankinstiener

    Frankinstiener Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Don't forget Great Lakes Alchemy Hour. Not to stick up for Widmer but they have been calling their house blend of hops "Alchemy Hops" for at least a few years now. But yeah it seems weird how popular the term has been in craft beer lately.

    Edit: "The Alchemy hop blend was developed by a local hop merchant and Widmer Brothers brewers in 2006, and has become a key ingredient in every Widmer Brothers beer" from http://beerpulse.com/2013/03/widmer...nches-as-companys-newest-year-round-beer-072/
  16. BlowstotheBody

    BlowstotheBody Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2012 Florida

    Drifter was tasty. Maybe Alechemy will be better. I'll give it a try.
  17. El_Zilcho

    El_Zilcho Initiate (70) May 3, 2012 Virginia

    I drank the shit out of Drifter at a local fair a few years ago, it was the only decent beer they had, and it was pretty damn good.
    ufmj likes this.
  18. BrewTasting

    BrewTasting Initiate (0) Dec 8, 2010 Nevada
    Beer Trader

    My soccer team is named after Drifter, we drank it every week... sure will miss it.
    smutty33 and ufmj like this.
  19. BlackDragon

    BlackDragon Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2013 Michigan

    Great Lakes also makes a beer called Alchemy Hour if the alchemist thinks they can trade mark a everyday word one that has always been associated with beer they've lost their minds in addition to making one of the worst and most overrated beers I've ever had.
  20. BlindSalimander

    BlindSalimander Initiate (93) Aug 16, 2010 Texas

    Used to have it at the Twin Peaks by the house here. Had quite a few of those 25ozers while watching Rangers and Bears. They took it off over a year ago though for Landshark. :rolling_eyes: Hope the new stuff is good.
  21. shawnohall

    shawnohall Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2009 Texas

    Why would Widmer scuttle one of it's most popular brews? If it wasn't doing squat and didn't have much of a following, I'd understand it, but Drifter? Doesn't seem to make much business sense to me.
    Onenote81 and jcb7472 like this.
  22. ufmj

    ufmj Initiate (168) Feb 15, 2013 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Amen, brother.
  23. RayYanks23

    RayYanks23 Initiate (157) Aug 23, 2008 Connecticut

    One of my favorites! It will be sorely missed...
  24. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    They do not have a monopoly on the word, although someone may have trademarked it. [paging jesskiddin]

    In actuality, The Alchemist could be called out by Pictish of Lancashire in the use of the name

    Tell that to Monster and Rock Art. Now there's an RIP.
    ...always associated with beer?
  25. DarkDragon999

    DarkDragon999 Aspirant (272) Feb 13, 2013 Rhode Island

    One of my first craft beers and I ended up drain pouring it because it was too hoppy lol. Pretty sure I can handle it now.
    smutty33 likes this.
  26. ChanChan

    ChanChan Devotee (469) Dec 12, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Their Double IPA will now be called Heady Toppery!!
    El_Zilcho and Dizbro21 like this.
  27. jampics2

    jampics2 Meyvn (1,475) Dec 19, 2008 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Great Lakes was sent a C&D by Widmer and their "Alchemy Hour" name will be retired after this year's seasonal. It's quite an open/shut case, Widmer has also been using the term "Alchemy" for their boxed, cellarable line of beers.
  28. TheSixthRing

    TheSixthRing Poo-Bah (2,409) Sep 24, 2008 California

    Drifter was a solid PA, but I can think of a good 10 or so other Pales that I'd rather have.
  29. BlackDragon

    BlackDragon Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2013 Michigan

    If i was great lakes id tell widmer to go screw themselves
  30. jampics2

    jampics2 Meyvn (1,475) Dec 19, 2008 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    But that's not how business works. Widmer filed a trademark for the term. They have used it extensively and have to protect it. Great Lakes didn't do their homework...it's business 101 stuff here.
    ufmj and jlpred55 like this.
  31. Longstaff

    Longstaff Initiate (0) May 23, 2002 Massachusetts


    Finally found a non-SN pale ale wannabe that is a well crafted, unique, drinkable, reasonably priced, easy to find pale ale and they go and take it away. And yet flailing hefeweizen stays? Great.
  32. Longstaff

    Longstaff Initiate (0) May 23, 2002 Massachusetts

    I know in my area distribution for Widmer is very poor - and I live within an hour of its east coast brewery. You would think with its ties to A-B, distribution would be much more wide spread. Most shops only carry one brand, if at all - most of the time just hefewezen or just drifter and/or the expensive bombers. I don't think its the beer's fault (except the hefeweizen) that they don't sell very well. I can't even find the IPA since Oryely came out - will probably see it after the next one comes out maybe. Hardly ever see Widmer on tap. Maybe they need to spend more money for more sales people and less on new package design every other year to boost sales?
  33. Longstaff

    Longstaff Initiate (0) May 23, 2002 Massachusetts

    From the surface it looks like they would rather attempt to prop up a dying brand (Hefeweizen) instead.
  34. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (502) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    When I lived in NH my usual weekly 12-pack rotation went: Smuttynose IPA, SN Torpedo, Widmer Rotator IPA, and Widmer Drifter. I bought whichever was the freshest/cheapest each week. Drifter was a really good beer, but I don't know if I even seen it on shelves since I moved to Mass. I think Porter Belly's in Brighton has a tap dedicated to the Widmer Rotator IPA (great idea), but Drifter is hard to come by. Hopefully the new brew is just as good, and better distributed.
  35. BlackDragon

    BlackDragon Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2013 Michigan

    Yes but you also can't trademark common terms and especially in the middle ages alchemy was associated with beer. What if I decided to trademark the word BEER we all know no one would follow that trademark.
  36. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    You seem to know much more about these things than I.
    However, I can't find any information regarding your statements. Do you have a reference for us?
    And are you sure you're not thinking of distillation, and a time other than the Middle Ages? They were fairly focused on gold about then.
  37. Frankinstiener

    Frankinstiener Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

  38. daysinthewake

    daysinthewake Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2010 California

    Man, I used to kill drifters all the time.
    ufmj likes this.
  39. WidmerBrothersBrewing

    WidmerBrothersBrewing Initiate (0) Mar 28, 2013

    Thanks for the kind words about Drifter -- we really appreciate it. We know that there are many Drifter fans around the country and we appreciate the support and enthusiasm that Drifter fans have shown us over the years. Replacing Drifter with our newest release, Alchemy Ale, was not an easy decision. It's never easy to discontinue a beer, but we're very excited about the introduction of Alchemy Ale, a beer that features our proprietary Alchemy hop blend. While we use Alchemy hops in all beers that we brew, we had never released a beer that was brewed specifically to celebrate the unique hop blend that we developed in 2006, until now. We hope that Drifter fans will give Alchemy a shot when it starts making its way to markets around the country starting in April. And as always, we'll look forward to hearing the community's feedback. Prost!
  40. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (3,520) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    Didn't Drifter used to have Simcoe when it first came out?
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