At risk of spoiling the review, I have to say that Widmer‘s newest beer, their Drifter Pale Ale (which I received the other day), is a revelation. I’m not kidding; I was frankly expecting a run-of-the-mill pale ale (albeit a very competent one, since it’s Widmer), and I was very surprised.
Drifter is brewed with all Summit hops, which must make the difference here. Their press release isn’t kidding when it says, "taste is unique to the category."
Appearance: Copper colored with a light beige head. Tinges of red to the body and it’s pretty clear.
Smell: Big citrus floral nose, with grapefruit and sticky resins all over, and an almost fresh hop character coming through.
Taste: Grapefruit, and big juicy hop character without being bitter—indeed, it’s light and smooth and amazingly drinkable. Almost creamy; that’s how smooth and not-bitter this is—but at the same time it’s full of subtle hop notes. Malt is light and perfectly balanced to let the hops really shine.
Mouthfeel: Light-feeling but definitely medium-bodied; it almost seems to get lighter in the mouth. Very smooth and clean and soft and juicy.
Overall: Wow, this is eye-openingly delicious. Super drinkable. This is far beyond what you expect a pale ale to be and I’m glad this is a year-round beer.
(Interestingly, as I’m looking the beer up on the review sites, RateBeer indicates that this is their W’07 Pale Ale, which I don’t remember trying when it was out.)