Widmer Brothers Brewing Brings Back Drifter Pale Ale

Widmer Brothers Brewing Drifter Pale Ale 2017. (image courtesy of Widmer Brothers Brewing)

Drifter Pale Ale, a fan favorite that was originally introduced over 10 years ago that then went on a recent four-year hiatus, now returns from Widmer Brothers Brewing in 2017. Look for Drifter Pale Ale in six and 12-packs of 12oz bottles as well as on draft.

To honor the return of Drifter Pale Ale, Widmer Brothers Brewing will host Drifter Days from May 1-4, 2017 at its pub at its brewery in North Portland. During this four-day celebration there will be Drifter-themed food pairings, swag giveaways and throwback pricing of $3.00 pints. The special pricing, an ode to the beer’s inception, will be available Monday through Wednesday during open hours at the pub, and culminate on Thursday, May 4th from 4:00 to 6:00pm.

But the Drifter celebrations will expand beyond the Widmer Brothers Pub as there will be three consecutive days at various bars around the Portland area. On Monday, May 1st Widmer will be at Henry’s Tavern, then on May 2nd it’ll move to Dave and Busters in Clackamas and will return to Portland to Nob Hill Bar & Grill on May 3rd. Each of the offsite events will take place from 4:00 to 6:00pm with special pricing on Drifter Pale Ale and swag giveaways.

Widmer Brothers Brewing Drifter Pale Ale 2017. (image courtesy of Widmer Brothers Brewing)

Here’s more info on the return of Drifter Pale Ale from the brewery’s press release…

The story of Drifter’s origins dates back to the innovative “W Series,” Widmer Brothers’ yearly experimental series of the mid-2000s. When the Widmer Brothers brewing team first started brewing with Summit hops as part of the series, they created a pale dubbed Brewmasters’ Pale that won a silver medal in the American-Style Pale Ale Category of the 2006 Great American Beer Festival (GABF). At the time, popular examples of the pale ale style were brewed primarily with Cascade hops, but “Brewmasters’ Pale” showcased Summit hops, a relatively new hop varietal at the time known for delicate undertones of tangerine, mandarin orange and grapefruit.

In 2009, the beer originally known as Brewmasters’ Pale, joined the year-round lineup as Drifter Pale Ale – fast becoming a favorite and one of Widmer Brothers’ most popular beers from Oregon to Florida.

“Like Widmer Brothers, Drifter has quite the tale of experimentation and innovation,” said brewer Joe Casey, who helped develop the original version of Drifter Pale Ale. “Rob and Kurt always push the boundaries of beer, and often zigged when others zagged. That was also the case here with the use of Summit hops and Drifter,” he added.

Despite its popularity, Widmer Brothers retired the beer in 2013 to pave the way for Alchemy Pale Ale, but fans made their voices heard in the ensuing years about their love of Drifter, and now Widmer Brothers is answering that demand by bring Drifter Pale Ale back as its new summer seasonal.

“We really felt that Drifter was unlike any other pale ale when it was first released,” said founder Rob Widmer. “The beer perfectly balances Summit’s unique hop profile that beer drinkers love without the lingering bitterness,” he added.

“When we first talked about bringing this beer back, we wanted to remain true to the original’s signature hop qualities,” said Tom Bleigh, Widmer Brothers’ innovation brewmaster. “The result is a smooth, citrusy pale ale with the signature Drifter hop profile using those distinctive Summit hops – something Drifter fans will immediately recognize.” 

Drifter Pale Ale Stats:
Drifter Pale Ale, a fan favorite since its first inception in 2007, started as an experimental beer that grew to become one of Widmer Brothers’ most popular beers. After a three years hiatus, Widmer Brothers brought back Drifter with the same signature Summit hops, resulting in a citrusy, easy-drinking pale ale.

MALTS: 2-row pale and caramel
HOPS: Summit, Alchemy, Nelson Sauvin, Chinook
OG: 14 P
AE: 3.2 P
ABV: 5.6%
Color: 20 SRM
IBU: 50