Widmer Drifter Pale Ale
When Widmer Brothers’ PR agency offered to send us some Drifter Pale Ale to try we couldn’t hit the reply button fast enough. We follow the old rule that if it’s cheap get one, if it’s free get two. So we gladly accepted their offer and got some free beers sent to both Father and Son Beer Love.
The Drifter Pale Ale comes from Widmer Brothers Brewing out in Oregon, the land of the Pacific Northwest hops. The 12 oz bottle sports a 5.7% ABV and 32 IBUs. We used a British pint glass for our test and got a starting beer temperature of 45.9 F.
For our pour we got a large 2 1/4″ foamy off-white head that left a fair amount of lacing as it dissipated slowly. There is a soft amount of carbonation to the clear amber body.
On the nose we pulled caramel, honey, floral, grapefruit, tangerine and ginger. A really strong nose dominated by the grapefruit that we’ve come to associate with Summit hops.
The initial flavors come in with a moderate sweet and a light bitter that evolve in the finish to a light sweet and a moderate to heavy bitter, along with a light tart. The taste comes in fairly true to the aroma with caramel, honey, grapefruit, tangerine and ginger. The floral notes don’t pop through in the taste for us – probably too delicate to overcome the grapefruit and tangerine flavors from those Summit hops. The grapefruit in the taste is strong, but not overpowering. Overall the taste is more subdued than the smell.
The finish length is average to long, the mouthfeel is oily and the tongue hit is in the middle, but also works up to the roof of the mouth. There’s a fair amount of body lacing and on our patented malt to hop scale it comes in 1.5 clicks to the right of balanced on the hoppy side.
For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance and memorable. We got a no to harmony, wow factor and buy again. We say we wouldn’t buy it again for ourselves because we don’t normally seek out pale ales, but we definitely would recommend it to someone who did like that style.
The Summit hops really jazz things up with this one. The press release that came with the beer reads “Most pale ales are brewed with Cascade hops. Ours is truly an original, made with Summit hops known for their delicate flavor and undertones of tangerine, mandarin orange and grapefruit.”
As unique as it is we fully expect others in the marketplace to try to copy the style. The hops don’t bite too hard, but they do hang around for a while on your cheeks and the roof of your mouth. For us, two well known malt madmen, we can say this – it’s a very good summer beer. As American pale ales go the Drifter Pale Ale is pretty unique. For a Widmer beer – we’re very impressed (we weren’t very keen on their hefeweizen). It should run around $9 or $10 for a 6-pack, so the price point is pretty spot on. If you’re a hophead you should feel right at home.
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