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Shift Pale Lager - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
Shift Pale LagerShift Pale Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

236 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 236
Hads: 1,337
Avg: 3.66
pDev: 33.06%
Wants: 52
Gots: 163 | 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
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Reviews: 236 | Hads: 1,337
Photo of bnes09
4.8/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beautiful golden copper color with excellent clarity and large visible bubbles. Big head on the pour and coats the glass in creamy lacing.

Fresh aroma of pine needles, spinach leaves, herbs and flowers.

Solid malt backbone of mild wheat and rye. Spice hop character follows the aroma. Exceptional balance.

Light to medium body and ample carbonation brings the flavors to life.

I love seeing breweries come out with a fresh, flavorful lager for a change. Lots of malt character in this one adds heart to the brew. Tasty, refreshing and highly sessionable.

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Photo of HappyPappy2X
4.75/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

App: Pale Orange Yellow. Clear. Dense head with medium retaining.

Smell: Bread Yeast, Citrusy hops.

Taste: Dry malt, hops bitterness, lagerfunk yeast, ends slightly toasty and more hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-high carbonation. Medium body for a pale. Creamy.

Overall: A favorite of mine. This is what BMC wish they could have been. A refreshingly dry pale lager.

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Photo of joecalderoni
4.68/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a beautifull golden/yellow color! Good fluffy Head!

S: Amazing hop aroma well balanced by pilsner malt on the back of the nose!

T: Sweet grainy taste with a well balanced bitterness! Some amazing hop taste at the after taste!

M: Light to medium body! high carbonation that accentuates the hop bitterness!

O: an amazing pale lager! suit for every occasion! perfect presentation! Cans mean you can drink them everywhere!

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Photo of woodychandler
4.67/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Where The CANQuest (TM) is CANcerned, you CAN forget Quinn the Eskimo. It's tone77 who makes this boy jump for joy! He is my local CANTrader and this was part of a recent drop-off on his part. Let the madness reCANmence!

From the Royal Blue & Silver CAN: "When your work is done [...] You'll want one[.]"; "Alternatively empowered/Employee owned".

The Crack & Glug was music to mine ears! The two fingers of thick tawny head began to fall pretty quickly, leaving some pretty, sticky lacing in its wake. Color was a deep golden-yellow with NE-quality clarity and both King Midas and Croesus called to express their jealousy. Sorry, fellas, but you gotta score your own CAN, dig? I recently listened to Greg Koch rail against fizzy yellow beers (again) and all I CAN say is, more for me! The nose made me weep for what Prohibition has wrought. One adverse aspect of The CANQuest (TM) has been the plethora of AALs from a CAN and I have more than had my fill of them, although there is no end in sight. This smelled not just of the expected malt sweetness, but there were also hops readily evident on the nose! Be still, my heart. Mouthfeel was full, almost creamy, with a wonderful intermingling of biscuit malt initially, followed by a brief rush of minty hops on the tongue. Finish was quite dry with the biscuit malt and hops combination acting nicely in tandem. Great Caesar's Ghost, but this is definitely cooler-worthy and just in time for summer! Get some!

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
4.55/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 1 PINT can into a pint glass. BEST BY 10FEB13. I was really excited to try this when I first bought this about a week or so ago. I loved the Nelson Sauvin hop profile in Burley Oak Brewery's Bulletproof Tiger.

Appearance: Pours a rich, golden pale lager body. Beautiful. Decent head for the style with doughy pockets that exhibit plenty of staying power. Lacing is fantastic.

Smell: Floral bouquet of hops. I pick up the fruity mango of the Nelson Sauvin hops. Sweet green grapes. Plenty of rich bready maltiness. Slight sour lager yeast aroma.

Taste: Nelson Sauvin up front (mango, lychee, honeydew). Fades to a crisp, almost Saaz-like spiciness. Tasty bready pale malts. This lager has a lot of flavor on both the hop and malt sides of the equation and has managed to be an extremely balanced brew at the same time.

Mouthfeel: I love how full bodied this beer is despite the low alcohol and overall crispness. No aftertaste, unpleasant or otherwise. Near perfect for me.

Overall: I have been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster with this beer since I bought a four pack and then a subsequent case (6 x 4 pack) about a week or two ago. The first sip of the first can was an explosion of Nelson Sauvin hops and I immediately declared this beer my new favorite. After a couple more cans over the next couple of days, I was fighting to detect that strong Nelson Sauvin hoppiness I so love and cherish (especially in a beer like Bulletproof Tiger). But since then, I have been literally pounding this beer on a near daily basis. It is just so damn drinkable, balanced, and great tasting (read: LOTS OF FLAVOR FOR A LOW ABV LAGER), if not delicious. Very satisfying from the can or in a glass. This could possibly be my session, daily drinker, beer for life when Sierra Nevada Summerfest is out of season. The only knock is the somewhat high price - I calculated that this works out to about a $40 standard case (as opposed to $30 for Summerfest in my area.) I would love to see more brewers doing more with Nelson Sauvin hops - my new favorite hop alongside Saaz (with Citra running a close third!)

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

Easily the best of the style. This stuff is amazing. Redefines the style entirely.

A: Clean, clear, and just as it should be.

S/T: Crisp malt, light citrus, very inviting. This is what Bud Light and others of its ilk try to smell/taste like. Maybe they did back in their heyday.

M: Easy and enjoyable to drink. I could have three more tall cans of this stuff without blinking.

O: An exceptional beer that you must try. Well done New Belgium!

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Photo of mathmalicious
4.45/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into clean New Belgium stemmed globe. 3/4" head quickly diminished into a 1/4" head with some staying power.

Nose: Very clean, inoffensive— honey, a bit of yeast and citrus

Taste: Nascent "hoppyness" turns to a more familiar, sweeter fresh grapefruit, finishes the slightest bit smokey with the alcohol presence quite evident.

Mouth: Mild carbonation, "chewy" for a pale lager.

Overall, this offering almost transcends the category for me. It would be a great beverage for a plethora of meals.

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Photo of BierStein711
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Can poured into shaker

Three finger off white head

Amber body

Taste: piney, grassy, and bitter finish

Smell: lager yeast, grains

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. When I see and hear the words "Pale Lager" [sic], I generally avoid. Have this beer, and celebrate a new, and better form of this beer style.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: poured from 16 oz can into pilsner glass, golden amber colored with huge 3" bright white head that slowly dissipates leaving fine frothy lacing, crystal clear with lively bubbles
S: citrus hop nose rounded with sweet malt, floral, cereal grain
T: sweet biscuit followed by a good bitter hop punch, lemongrass, light and simple yet perfectly balanced between malt and hops
M: proper lively carbonation with a crisp clean finish, thinner as a pale lager should be
O: every American pale lager made by the big three should be embarrassed that they don't taste like this beer, if you have shied away from the pale lager style due to the abuse it has received try this to be pleasantly surprised

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Photo of rfbenavi80
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First craft can. Excited about this one.

Agressive pour straight down into a pilsner glass.

A- Pours a very nice clear gold, with lots of frothy, foamy, white head that leaves a thick cap on top of the beer and thick lacing.

S- Some earthy hops. Plenty of sweet malts. Some bread dough, and biscuity.

T- Hoppier than I expected, but the bitterness is moderate. Sweet caramel malts comes out.

M- Medium body, thicker than I expected.

O- Highly drinkable. Bonus points for the whole craft can thing. Very refreshing. I like their slogan about finishing a shift at work and popping one of these open.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Nose: light grain, a hint of sulfur.
Brilliant straw, 2” fluffy bone white foam cap.
Creamy, light bodied, above average carbonation.
Palate: light grains, creamy, slight vegetal, crisp hop finish.
Refreshing with a good balance between the hops and the malts.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can poured into a New Belgium globe.
5% ABV, 02 SEP 12 printed on bottom.

A - Pouring out a shimmering goldenrod color with vibrant clarity, Shift is capped by a well formed and well retained, faintly off-white head. Rings of open lace circle the glass like delicate chains.

S - Bright, crisp, and simply inviting, Shift has a delightfully delicate aroma of pale and pils malt supporting citrusy hops. Notes of earth punctuate the light lemon zest.

T - Thin lemongrass citrus washes over the tongue briefly before the maltiness takes over with a pale grainy flavor that eventually gives way to a little soapiness across the finish.

M - Light-bodied and easy drinking, this pale lager has a well-balanced level of carbonation to bring crispness and refreshment without being overbearing. Despite it's wonderful drinkability, Shift still seems to remain a little thin feeling. The dry, faintly bitter hops could be adding to that effect but easily drinkable it remains.

O - Hellooo tailgating beer! Well constructed and flavorful, Shift offers a simple but tasty marriage of malt and hops for a summer beer that will refresh wonderfully. Appealing to all masses, the triple hops brewed crowd will shift gears with this great gateway beer while craft drinkers will reach for it's clean lager characteristics and smooth flavor.

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Photo of CHickman
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review from 7/11/12: pours hazy gold color with a ton of bubbles racing up the middle and a 2 finger foamy snow white head that faded slowly and left great foamy lacing clinging to the sides.

Smells of sweet malt, orange peel, lemon zest, caramel, brown sugar, grains and spices like cinnamon and coriander. Spicy and floral, the nose is sweet, airy and quite enjoyable.

Tastes of sweet malt, orange peel, lemon zest, citrus hops, caramel, brown sugar, grains, yeast, grass, pepper and other spices like cinnamon and coriander. Sweet overall with nice citrus and malty flavors complimenting each other.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth and almost watery, with a light body, light zesty carbonation, and high drinkability. A definite session beer, this was light, refreshing, flavorful and very enjoyable.

Shift was great out of the can and in a glass, and the name is quite fitting as this is a perfect quenching beer to throw down after any shift. Outstanding drinkability, I could drink this on a regular basis and always be happy.

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Photo of Arborescence
4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear, golden, pours a nice and creamy ~1 finger head, which is even surprisingly persistent for a lager. Looks fairly carbonated.

Aroma: Fresh and hoppy, with citrus aromas and some spices; orange peel, grass, cardamom? Quite promising!

Taste: Hops are a bit milder than expected, there is also a strong malt background. Not as light and refreshing as I thought it would be, but there's certainly some flavour. Hop bitterness in the aftertaste. The spices in the aroma are not evident, but I'm reminded of freshly baked rolls.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Bready texture.

Overall: For a lager in a can, this is excellent. Not my favourite type of beer by any means, but it's great to see an inexpensive, easy drinking session lager with some originality and flavour. Hopefully it can convert some of the masses into better beer...

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Photo of Megahertz
4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz Can

A: Deep gold, crystal clear, massive white head falls into a thin film. Significant lacing suggesting malt content. Looks like a real beer.

S: Faint graininess with very subltle hint of german-type hops. Smells like a real beer.

T: This is a real beer. Restrained malt sweetness with extremely subtle toasted bread note, very light honey-like sweetness, no flaws noted. Seems very 'lively'. Bitterness is assertive for the style, but within reasonable limits. No major hop flavor. Finish is extremely dry.

M: Crisp, light bodied.

OI: Excellent example of the style, one of the best I've had. If macros could make this, the world would be a better place.

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Photo of jmbranum
4.21/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased in Newton, Kansas. Brought home to Oklahoma.

Poured from a chilled 12 oz can into a wine glass.

Very pretty clear golden liquid with a white head. Nice grainy aroma.

Flavor is nice and crisp. Nicely balanced. Starts dry and finishes sweet. Very bread-like with some hoppy herbal notes. I would describe it as a hoppier than expected lager.

Very nice mouthfeel with nice levels of prickly carbonation.

An excellent session beer.

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Photo of Chaney
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is currently ranked #14 in the American Pale Lager category. With a score of only 83%, this is certainly not a popular style.

Served in a Stone Brewing Co. pint glass.

A: Poured a clear, sunflower yellow color with a sticky white head that stuck around for a while.

S: I got some sweet barley and corn upfront along with a substantial amount of fruity goodness considering the style.

T: It totally drank as an IPA once it hit my palate, but once the flavors were fully release, the yeast (as opposed to grapefruit-like citrus) took center stage. Delicious!

M: I like the spritzy carbonation which made this all the more drinkable. There was lots of lacing left on the glass, but the palate came out clean overall, with just a nice bitter kick at the end.

O: I think deserves a higher rating for sure and will keep this one in mind come pool season.

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Photo of CIBoy10
4.19/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - Pours a nice golden lager color. Head is persistent and lacing is very nice.
Smell - Bready lager-type smell with a nice hoppiness. I found it very appealing.
Taste - Piney, floral, hoppiness up front with a beautiful, bready lager finish
Feel - Extremely refreshing with a minimal aftertaste. It feels like a high quality lager with more taste than any AAL would ever ever have.
Overall - To each his own, but I find easy to drink beer with great taste very appealing.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.18/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can into hardywood park tulip. best before sept. 30 12.

A: very rich golden hued body. head is bright white with great retention and thick clumps of lace.

S: slightly sweet, slightly minty aroma. if i had to guess, i would say saaz was used in this brew. a very inviting aroma, even if it is one not typical of american pale lagers.

T: a little eggy. there is an underlying chalky, earthy noble bitterness throughout the entire drink that slightly reminds me of a german pils. the malt is there, but really as a backboard for the hops. smoooth.

M: moderate carbonation on a light/medium body.

D: i really like this beer. good flavor on a very drinkable lager. glad it is in a hogsleg.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.17/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. tallboy can,

A: Pours a pale golden with a medium somewhat fizzy white head, leaves spotty lace.

S: Grainy notes, sourdough bread, fairly pungent and enjoyable for the style.

T: Sweet bready malt, but balanced well by a noble like hopping. Spaten like, reminds me a lot of that beer, with an American flair.

M: Light-bodied, crisp and clean, well made and refreshing.

O: A very good simple pale Helles type lager. This is how the big boys should make them. I was quite impressed by how good this is.

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Photo of Phocion
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. can poured into 16 oz. shaker pint. Well, most of it. Pale, translucent, golden/dark straw colored body with a thick bubbly off-white head that doesn't want to break. Big, intermittent chunks of lacing around the edge of my glass.

Whoa. Okay, when I read "pale lager" I'm not expecting to smell this big of dose of Northwest hops. Floral, citrus, and resiny aromas dominate and mix well with the big, bready malt backbone of this beer. Quite a bit of earthy aromas as well.

The flavor doesn't quite hold up to the nose. The hops are a bit more subtle, with big bread dough flavors coming out. Just a touch of sweetness. Overall, pretty well-balanced.

Clean, crisp mouthfeel. Light-medium body and medium carbonation.

Okay, I'm normally rather unimpressed with New Belgium's standard offerings, but this is pretty good. This is what a "pale lager" should be.

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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 MostlyNorwegian
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Not a big smell on the sniffer here. But pleasant with citrus, perhaps slight pine, faint pear into lemon kinda thing happening.
Big attractive head off a vigorous pour. Atmospheric lacing rings populate the glass, with a murky faint swamp like head which drops off the deeper you get in. Shift is a very sexy beer.
Grassy straw notes. and a bit spicey with resined lingering bitterness for the mouth. Very solid beer and burger beer and a nice drinker.

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Shift Pale Lager from New Belgium Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 236 ratings.