Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.: Drifter Pale Ale

Along with Pyramid, Widmer Brothers is probably the main reason for a surge of interest in the Hefeweizen genre in America over the last few years. But while Widmer may have set the bar for domestic hefs, they have been slow to make a name for themselves outside of that one genre. Recently, however, they released their take on the American Pale Ale.

Unfortunately, Widmer's pale is a bit of a disappointment. A la Sierra Nevada and Anchor, Widmer opted to imbue their pale ale with a distinct citrusy taste. However, while the two veteran breweries seemed to appreciate the need to offset the citrus taste with a good dose of hops, Widmer has let the citrus flavors run wild. In the absence of a strong hop presence, this beer takes on an almost sour flavor, which combined with the fruity sweetness makes for a rather odd combination. You get used to it by the bottom of the bottle, but I found the first few sips rather unpleasant.

Otherwise, this beer has a pretty light mouthfeel and is also light on the carbonation, which gives it an almost watery consistency. The malt flavors are perhaps a bit stronger than your typical pale, but that could just be a byproduct of the reduced hoppiness. In conclusion--no endorsement here. There is a glut of pales available these days, so try something else.

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