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Shift Pale Lager - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
Shift Pale LagerShift Pale Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

238 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 238
Hads: 1,342
Avg: 3.66
pDev: 13.93%
Wants: 53
Gots: 170 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 03-14-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Shift Pale Lager Alström Bros
Reviews: 238 | Hads: 1,342
Photo of StoutHunter
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a four pack of New Belgium's Shift Pale Lager a couple days ago for $6.99 at Meijers. While doing some grocery shopping I saw that the store just got a bunch of New Belgium beers in that just now became available in Michigan, I don't know much about this beer but it seems like it's suppose to be pretty drinkable and that's the kind of beer that I'm in the mood for right now, so lets see how it goes. No visible canning date, but it has to be pretty fresh. Poured from a tall 16oz can into a imperial pint glass.

A- I like the way this can looks, the gears and chains look nice and go win the New Belgium's constant bike theme. It poured a very clear golden yellow color that I would expect from a Pale Lager. It had two and a half fingers worth of creamy white head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and left lots of nice sheets of lacing. This is a good looking Lager, the color and clarity were true to style and the creamy head was nice, no complaints here.

S- The aroma starts of with a nice malty presence, it has a medium amount of sweetness to it and imparts some bready and grainy aromas along with a little bit of earthiness and grass. Up next comes the hops, which are nice and citrusy with lemon zest sticking out the most but I also picked up some slight floral and spicy hop aromas towards the end. I like the aroma of this beer, its hoppy and has more citrus to it then I thought it would, but the hops don't overpower those nice bready malts.

T- The taste seems to be almost exactly the same as the aroma and it starts off with a slight bit of bready malts that have a lower amount of sweetness, they are quickly followed by a good amount of hops that are are mainly citrus with lemon zest still sticking out the most. Up next comes a little more bready and grainy malt flavors. Towards the end comes some spicy and slightly floral hops that impart a nice spice hop flavor on the finish and impart a light amount of medium bitterness with a pretty spicy aftertaste. This beer tasted good, I really liked the balance between the bready malts and the citrus and spicy hops, it was nice.

M- Very smooth, refreshing, crisp, light bodied, with a nice amount of slightly higher medium carbonation. The mouthfeel worked well with this beer and was very true to style.

Overall I liked and was impressed by this beer and I thought it was a very good example of an American Pale Lager and so far the best one I have tried. It had really good drinkability, it was really smooth, crisp, refreshing, and the flavors did a great job at holding my attention, I could see taking out a four pack on a nice warm summer day, this beer is pretty much the definition of drinkable. What I liked most about this beer was how nice the hop aspect to this beer was and how nicely it was balanced by the bread malts, the balance is really impressive and the drinkability was really nice. What I liked least about this beer was nothing, there isn't anything that I would want to change with this beer, it's great just the way it is. I would for sure buy this beer again, in fact I already got two more four packs before the store jacks the price up, I highly recommend this to anyone and this would make a great choice for someone just getting into craft beer. All in All I was flat out impressed by this beer and it could be one of the best lagers I have ever had, New Belgium hit it out of the park with this one, they gave the people what they wanted, a lager that doesn't suck, great job guys this beer just earned a spot in my beer fridge.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a can of this at the US Pro Cycling challenge before I realized there was another booth with Ranger. Can't comment on the appearance since I drank it straight from the can so I'll just assume and rate it good. Smell is sort of "beery" typical lager smells. Flavor has a nice grassiness followed by malt and lager yeast. This must have been pretty fresh. Honestly though I would never but this beer at a store because its completely overpriced at $9 per four pack. This needs to be in six packs of 12oz cans for like $8. not sure why anyone in Colorado would ever pick this up over OB Mama's Lil Pils...

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Photo of jjboesen
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the can into a Sam Adams lager glass. it opens in a giant fluffy froth that settels into an active amber body alive with a smattering of shiny bubbles. There is a noticable nose of straw and lemon; the palate is teased with mild hoppiness along with a few blades of grass, and concludes hurriedly.

This is a light-bodied sessional to say the least, an excellent "lawnmower" beer worthy of several pours. However, it will not overwhelm and could become tiresome after a few. Still a pleasantly drinkable lager and one worthy after a hard day at work.

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Photo of southeastmat
3.33/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A nice almost cloudy orange. A good head on the pour that sticks around and produces some nice lacing.

S: Not a lot going on here for me. Hops on the finish, a bit of sweetness.

T: Great example of what an every day beer should be in the US. It's clean, drinkable and doesn't batter your taste buds with aggressive hoppiness.

M: Clean. Almost light.

O: A terrific go at what beer can be to those folks who may never reach for a barley wine or an imperial stout. It's exactly what it aims to be: a tasty beer after a long day on the job.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a nice golden color with with a creamy thick head that lingers

S: Grass with a light citrusy note

T: The slight taste of caramel comes though from the grains with a slight pine hop bitterness. Really well balanced with a dry finish.

M: Light bodied, well carbonated

O: Pretty good, refrshing and easy to drink down.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pale lager in a can? Sounds a little average for American beer drinkers. Thankfully, though, New Belgium is well above the norm in terms of pleasing the palate.

More than a month or two away from the best by date (“07 OCT 12” is printed on the bottom of the can).

A: Yellow and fizzy, but with a thicker head and a darker body than anything from a Budweiser can. The eggshell head is supported by a barrage of bubbles from the nucleation site, coming down slowly to just a paper-thin layer over the body (typical for most canned beers I’ve seen, for some reason). Tons of filmy lacing.

S: Hop-forward, but not hop-heavy; this is a mild-smelling beer. Citrus juice, lemon peel, and a crisp floweriness characterize the bitters in a unique and pleasing way, while biscuity malts lays a foundation of caramel and breads underneath. Clean, fresh aromas with a full dose of breads: definitely what I like in a lager.

T: Smooth bread crust and cracker tastes are on the forefront, though they are well-mixed with familiar flavors of pale ale caramel malt; this beer tastes like a cross between an APA and a pilsner, malt-wise. Hops aren’t explosive, but they lend a bright, rindy spiciness that livens up the palate with lemon, grapefruit, orange peel, and light pine. Tart and clean bitters. Finishes with moderate-strength malts and lingering rind flavors.

M: This beer is more slick than chewy; not as thick as I’d like, but pretty drinkable, nonetheless. A bit fizzier from the can, which brings out the brighter metallic flavors and makes it not as palatable; drink this one from a glass.

O: Good beer – that’s really all I can say. After the first taste, it becomes more and more underwhelming, but I could see myself session this for a while.

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Photo of TheSarge
4.5/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this one into a .5l dimple glass, and Shift makes a good three finger thick off white head, and the body is copper in color with perfect clarity.

The aroma is floral and citrus in character. Lots of lemon zest, with perhaps a hit of grapefruit. Some saltine cracker, and light caramel aromas are perceptible too

Taste wise it's got a lemon tea flavor to it. Some hints of toffee, and perhaps some brown sugar.

Even with all this complexity, this beer is very quaffable and sessionable due to the mile ABV percentage it holds. Also
makes a good sipping beer too, due to its complex qualities.

This is a pale lager that I'd liken to a pale ale. Very fruity and floral altogether. Quite interesting...

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Photo of BikingDutchman
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Has a two finger white head that stays for a while. The lacing sticks to the glass very well. Beer is a very clear golden color.

S - Smells like bready malts that are overpowered by a citrusy hop smell.

T - Surprisingly large amount of citrusy hop flavor is in balance with clean bready malts. There is more flavor here than I expected.

M - Moderate amount of carbonation. Not much to say here. Not bad, but nothing spectacular.

O - Very easy to drink, but it has more flavor than I expected it to have. A very refreshing beer, and a pleasant surprise.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Gold. Clear gold. Head is bright-white and drops to a spotty cap in short order. Some nice notches of lacing. Moderate carbonation.

Smell: Slight grass. Earthy. Some lingering citrus. Pale malts. Crackers. Straw and a tiny hint of raw honeycomb. Bread crust. Mildly floral. Underlying spiciness.

Taste: Earthy and herbal with a nice bright, mellow fruit flavor. Something akin to apples with a brighter fruit in the back. Crackers and bread crust. Pale malts. Mild, and I mean very mild, roasted element. A touch of husk and grass. A mild spiciness on the back that gets all tied up with the herbal thing.

Mouthfeel: Clean, crisp, and just this side of light. Mild creaminess with a bubbly, yet moderate, carbonation. Touch dry on the finish.

Overall: A solid drinking lager. It has enough flavor to be interesting. It has the same drinkability as every standard beer from New Belgium, which is to say, a lot. Clean and refreshing.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shift Pale ale is a good beer. The beer poured golden clear with frothy white head that is lacing nicely. The smell has a nice malt character. The taste includes the typical New Belgium Belgium malt. The mouthfeel is light to medium in body with good carboantion. Overall....I like it.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Golden in color with a white head. Nice clean lager aroma with floral hop notes and a hint of citrus. A bit of yeast and bread, maybe a touch of biscuit in there, too. Flavor is somewhat sweet with a touch of hop bitterness. Good floral notes, light citrus, and a bit of grass. Mild yeast and esters. Well done lager.

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Photo of WankelEngine
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16oz can into a glass

A: Pours a light orange color. There is an almost two finger head of white foam which disappears quickly on my first pour but has much better retention when I finish the can. A small amount of spotty, layered lacing.

S: Light noble hops and mild lemon zest. A good grain background. As the beer warms I can detect some lager yeast.

T: Grains and light bready malt are the first things I pick up. Mild grassy hops and herbal spice impart a decent bitterness. Aftertaste is somewhat floral. I want to say there is some tropical fruit/melon to the flavor, but it is incredibly mild.

M: Thin and a little watery. Carbonation is mild but what is there is effervescent.

O: A very easy drinking beer. A good alternative to macros when you want to have a few and not not get too full or drunk.

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Photo of dannydetox
4.02/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

shift is, as i reckon it was intended to be, a session beer when you want something simple, yet interesting that you can consume multiple rounds without feeling too full or too buzzed. pours a golden yellow lager color, but leaves rings of suds on the side of the glass unlike the typical american macros. the aromas are my favorite part: chardonnay-like tropical fruit from the nelson(?) hops with notes of lemon peel. maybe a bit of crystal malt in the back. i get more mango as the beer slides over the palate. the drawback? a very thin mouthfeel gives this beer a watery feeling. still, i like it and would definitely bring this one along to a cans only venue or a hiking trip. added bonus - the blue and silver can looks mighty close to a red bull can. this might make for a good street sipper or road beer.

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Photo of mjurney
4.47/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1 pint can.

Golden-Amber color. Some carbonation. Fairly nice head.

Bready, grape skin, a little citrusy.

Bready malts up front. Biscuity, grassy, spicy, slight earthy, dry-herbal finish.

Smooth. Tangy. Medium body. Slight oily. Very soft carbonation.

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Photo of Murrhey
2.92/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a pint can into a pint glass. Reviewed live.

A- Poured a two finger creamy white head. Nice and dense, some foamy lacing and nice retention. Extremely pale straw color, near-water clarity.

S- Light bodied malts, Amarillo hops maybe? Straw and sweet smelling grains.

T- Light flavor, strong pale ale taste with a grainy flavor that must be the lager creeping in.

M- Light yet grainy feel. Not the best.

O- Passable, drinkable beer with a nice American Pale Ale sort of taste, with a Lager body. Nothing special though.

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Photo of EagleTalon
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out to a fluffy everlasting head, sexy lacing and light gold color. Aroma is grassy and spicy hops and faint grain and lemon. Flavor is spicy hops with lemon, coriander and pilsner malt in the backbone. Mouthfeel is sticky and rough. Light body and appropriate co2. Overall, another beer style that has been newbelgified. Not bad but I've had better.

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Photo of adam42381
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16 ounce can into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear medium yellow with a huge 3-4 finger fluffy eggshell white head. Excellent head retention and lacing.

Smell: Sweet cereal grains, honey and a touch of grapefruit bitterness.

Taste: Pale and bready malts up front followed by a touch of herbal spiciness in the middle before ending with a little more pale malt and bitter grapefruit at the finish. Aftertaste is mildly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied with a fairly low amount of carbonation. The texture is a bit oily and slick.

Drinkability: Decent drinkability. If the mouthfeel was better, I'd want another.

Overall: Pretty good beer overall. I think it hit most of the notes you'd want from a pale lager. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.41/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kind of a bright yellow pour, with pretty close to virgin white head on it (i dunno, maybe its one of those oral don't count things that you used to have to go to Utah to hear). Pretty good retention and lacing. Aroma is almost of nothing but soap. Weird.

Mild cereal and like honeysuckle flavor, with a sizeable bitterness. Herbal, grassy and flowery. Light enough body considering the ample flavor quotient. A decent option to take disc golfing with for sure. A little heavy for a palate cleanser though, but relatively speaking, it might do the trick if you've got nothing but huge beers and this around.

Ultimately, I'm not a huge fan of the beer, but it is a lot better than many lagers around. It was an easy second purchase when I went into Total Wine and saw a palate of 4 packs going for only $2.99. No brainer there.

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Photo of herman77
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Crystal clear dark yellow. Fluffy off white head. Decent head retention and awesome lacing.

S: Biscuity, bread crust, some slight hop spice. Getting just a touch of that lager yeast smell.

T: Some semi sweet grains up front along with some mild to medium spicy/herbal hops. Can pick up some faint peaches or nectarines. A lot sweeter than I thought this was going to be. Finishes fairly clean, somewhat of a slightly sweet cereal grain lingering. Thought it would be a little more crisp, the sweetness probably takes away from that crisp factor.

M: Nice medium body (thought it would be lighter). Average carbonation. Feels good.

O: Good drinkability, though I wouldn't want more than two or so pints. I can see what they are going for for sure, but I would like this to be a bit more dry, crisp and a little less sweet.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.51/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

16 oz can, best by October of 2012. It was poured into my Firestone Walker tulip.

Shift Pale Lager pours a crystal clear orange, with some tangerine and lemon highlights coming through. There's a little more than a finger of white foam, with decent head retention and lacing for the style. The nose is a bit on the dull side, but there is some soft grainy sweetness apparent, along with a light aroma of melon from the Nelson Sauvin hops. The flavor starts of similarly, with lightly bready malt notes. The bitterness that flows through next is perceptible, but just barely. Again, the fruity melon finish is very mild. The craft beer hophead in me wishes is was a bit more "in your face", but as is it works decently as part of an easy drinking lager. The body has just a little bit of sturdyness to it, and the carbonation is pleasantly active. The overall impression of the mouthfeel is definitely very crisp. I was really excited to try Shift Pale Lager because I'm a big fan of Nelson Sauvin hops. Having only had them in hop forward IPAs before, I think my expectation of how hoppy this beer would be could have been a little more tempered. A solid warm weather sessionable beer from New Belgium.

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Photo of thepliceisright
3.42/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Drank this straight from the can.

Have no clue what it looks like, although when I popped the top a white head foam poured over on the top of the can.

Smells great, very fruity and slightly biscuit-y. Heavy pear, grapefruit smell.

I was actually surprised by the taste of this. Definitely a pale ale, but sweeter than I would have imagined. Definitely fruity, a nice forward hop taste, sometimes bitter and a definite dry finish.

Mouthfeel is dry. Thats all I can say about that.

Overall, this is a great beer to drink on a hot summer day; especially if you are looking for a session beer. The 5% ABV will catch up to you sooner than later though, with this beer.

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Photo of lwillitz
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16-oz can into New Belgium globe

A - 2 fingers of white foam atop a crystal-clear golden body, moderate carbonation bubbles, nice lacing

S - grass, pine, fruit (apples, pears, peaches?), light grain, pepper/spice

T - pine, pepper, apple, biscuity malt backbone, dry finish; bitterness is pleasantly complex

M - medium body, medium/high carbonation, refreshing

O - complex, bitter, and refreshing

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Photo of BDIMike
4.01/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark golden color with a slight amount of carbonation. A nice fluffy white head sits on the top of the beer throughout the drink.
Smell doesn't have a ton going on. A bit of nice wheat with a nice under-toned hop too.
Taste has an awesome balance of hoppy goodness, but a good balance and drinkability as well.
Mouthfeel is very nice. A good thickness and a really nice amount of beer that does down nice and easy.
Drinkability is awesome. This beer was designed as the perfect beer to end a shift at work. Could not be more successful. Coming home to one of these beers every day would be perfect. A great beer to drink every day.

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Photo of homohabilis
2.11/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

First off, what the fuck is a pale lager? Sounds like some suspect bullshit to me. Like they didn't want to commit to either pale ale OR lager. I guess the focus groups must have eaten it right up though.
Regardless, this stuff tastes like fat tire mixed with water. Same dirty, decaying hop taste without all the malt backbone.
I drank all four of these bastards today just to get them out of my house and I just got angrier with each one that went down the hatch.
Shoulda saved myself three dollars and got PBR instead. Woulda got two more to boot!

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Photo of iSip
3.03/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

New Belgium Shift Pale Lager: The New Belgium Brewery has a great product set. Their Belgian style Tripel & Dubble are very good and a bargain compared to an expensive imported bomber of the same. So why go head to head with the Buds and PBR’s of the world? The Shift has a darker golden color and a nice billowy head. The aroma of malt and hops is pleasing and indicative of a handmade product vs. the more industrial notes you get from more mass produced products. Good flavor with some bitterness up front, then thinning out into a clean aftertaste. More body than the standard American Adjunct Lager, but still light enough to be easy drinking. So yes, the Shift is a better brew than any of the mass produced lagers from the big brewers. I expected as much from New Belgium, and they delivered. But $9 for four tall boys? The Shift is not that much better than a PBR or a Bud. New Belgium made it big with Fat Tire, which is worth the premium over a Bud if you are in the mood for a good ale vs. a light lager. But if you want a light lager will you pay a premium for a Shift? Not in my book.

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Shift Pale Lager from New Belgium Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 238 ratings.