Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

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
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 236 | Hads: 1,337
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by 9/9/12.

Pours a clear orange with a 2 inch foamy orange-white head that settles to a thin cap on top of the beer. Foamy patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of metal, grain, and some herbal hop aromas. Taste is of tangy malt and some herbal hop flavors. There is a mild bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good lager but I was expecting a crisper level of carbonation.

 513 characters

Photo of metter98
3.74/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at 12 Bones Smokehouse, Asheville, NC

A: The beer is clear yellowish amber in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high creamy white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of toasted malts and citrus hops are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that the flavors of hops seem to be stronger; these also contribute a light to moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and clean on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very flavorful for the style and also easy to drink.

 708 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

definitely not my stlye of beer, but i appreciate this one a lot for what it is. it pours a mostly clear wheat beer color, with an active white head that lasts a few minutes before fading down to froth. it smells very malty, without much hops to speak of. the flavor is distinctly czech as far at the malt profile goes. its dry and biscuity, sturdy for such a light brew. it also has a touch of sweetness and a little more hops than the nose suggests, with a bittering conclusion. mouthfeel i like, it has more body than most beers from this genre, and the carbonation is just right. stays bubbly even as it warms, although this is a beer to drink quickly. refreshing and appropriate in any season. this is a pretty decent can of beer, although i liked the mothership wit that it replaced a lot better.

 802 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz glass at Craft Beer Market - I somehow missed out on grabbing a can of this at the New Belgium Denver Beer Week event last fall - oh well, now they've come to Alberta.

This beer appears a clear, pale golden amber hue, with a thin cap of weakly foamy and bubbly ecru head, which leaves some bleeding striated lace around the glass as things fall away.

It smells of lightly bready pale malt, a faint caramel sweetness, middling citrus and drupe fruit, earthy yeast, and soft leafy, earthy hops. The taste is semi-sweet pale malt, some grainy caramel, white wine, tame melon, fruity yeast esters, and floral, weedy hops.

The bubbles are fairly low-key, but supportive enough, the body an adequate medium weight, and generally smooth, with a mild tackiness. It finishes off-dry, the bready pale malt and floral, leafy hops squaring off for redemption.

A rather good amalgam of styles, very altbier-esque. Fruity, vinous, and pretty enjoyable - I hope to see the canned version available up here by summertime!

 1,014 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can is dated "02 SEP 12" on bottom of can.

"Pale" bright orange with languidly rising carbonation. A sizable head of foam rises and leaves seafoam lace inside the glass. Retention is good, and it takes awhile for the skim to break on the surface.

Subdued aroma, but there is some hoppy grassiness and orange peel present. It's clean with a slight sweetness.

Flavor is crisp with a bit of hoppy bitterness, orange peel, and crackers from the pale malt. Light bodied and not sweet, it has a crisp bitter dryness that is perfect for hot weather. Supple feel, full flavored, and easy drinking. A lager with traces of IPA citrus, dry and crisp, a perfect summer refresher. Pretty hard not to "get" this... Simplicity is underrated these days.

Regretting not picking up more than a single now, but will get more soon.

 818 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, golden orange color with a two-finger, egg-shell white head of bubbly foam. It left sticky patches of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled floral and grassy with some sweet caramel.

T - It tasted spicy and hoppy with a nice bitterness. Sweet caramel and grains add backbone.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied lager with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is a pretty tasty lager. I'm impressed. I could see people taking this good canned beer on camping trips, etc.

 503 characters

Photo of oberon
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pilsner a clear medium golden with a a thinner white head that didi leave a few broken rings of lace as it settled.Caramel sweetness,lightly toasted grain,and a decent shot of herbal hops in the back end.Caramel induced sweetness upfront on the palate with mild grainy notes,and again a shot of herbal/leafy hops in the finish.It's not a clean lager it's actually a little sweet but the hop profile is nice,above average but not great.

 449 characters

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.

 317 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce can - $2.29 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia. There is what appears to be an expiration date of 16 SEP 12 on the bottom of the can.

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear, deep yellow body with a lofty, foaming, whitish head. Copious amounts of coating lacing on the way down.

Smell: An aromatic base of pale malts with a small hint of toast and grainy-scented barley, then fragrant notes of spice and white grapefruit and, just lightly, some resins.

Taste: Pale maltiness, a bit of grain, a bit of lightly toasted bread. Citrusy, floral hops with a scant hint of savory spiciness and resin drip. Reasonably bitter. Just a bit more of the sweet maltiness (just a bit), then, the spicy, citrusy finish with a low hint of lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: A fairly fine, tasty lager.

 846 characters

Photo of oline73
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the can into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a clear amber color with close to a finger of fluffy white carbonation that fades to a ring around the pour.

Smell: Sweet malt with some light citrus notes. Not overly exciting but nice.

Taste: Fairly light and easy to drink. Malt forward, but there is enough hop presence to keep things interesting. Some citrus and herbal notes mixed in with the malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation. The bubbles are a bit large. The finish is quite dry.

Overall: This is a solid beer for the summer. Very easy to drink, I would have another.

 623 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear golden copper, with a couple fingers of white head that has a bit of an off look to it. This retains with a thin creaminess that drenches the sides of the glass with a ton of sticky lacing. Nice look. The aroma smells fresh, grassy, and dank, with a smack of tart lemon in the nose and then some more green bitter notes. A tight grainy sweetness and a touch of eggy smelling protein sit along the back.

The taste is leafy and herbal in the mouth, with a crisp citric bitterness and that same smack of lemon that I picked up in the aroma. This melds into that tight sweet graininess of the Pils malts, which do a nice job of propping those hops up. The finish is dry and pithy with some lingering dankness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and sharp on the tongue which works itself into more of a smooth creaminess as this moves out in the mouth. An oily slickness from the hops really keeps this easy feeling.

This was a borderline IPL at times with those American hops really adding a lot of character to this. Maybe a bit too much though, as this got REALLY herbal feeling as things warmed up. I recommend having at this one while it’s still fairly cold, as it’s got quite a flavorful and crisp hop bite before things start loosening up. It’s nice to see New Belgium going with the tall boys now.

 1,352 characters

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

Golden amber in the glass with the classic head. A little more substance to the body than the usual lagers. A touch of resins in the nose.

Pleasant touch of hops with a slight bitter aftertaste, but nothing like the usual hop-centric Pale Ales. Enough malt to give it a toasty taste. Kind of a winey touch. Not much to distinguish it, but comparing with some other craft lagers might be educational. Seems well made and clean in its modest way.

From the tall can. I'm always glad to see more variety in canned beers. If we can't have reusable bottles for commercial brews, maybe we can have less weight and easier recycling. This seems like a good choice for a picnic beer.

 675 characters

Photo of LXIXME
3.03/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Big white head quickly settles into a decent lacing above a clear rich golden colored beer.

Light citrus to piney hops aroma with a little yeast and grass like hints.

A light soapy sour citrus hops with a a little bit of grain in the taste.

A dry aftertaste with a slight bitter almost soapy hops sticking around on the light to medium bodied beer.

This beer starts out looking really good with a very nice light nose and it seems to go down hill some with the taste and aftertaste.

 486 characters

Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz tall-boy can with a freshness date on the bottom.

LOOK: Healthy looking froth, bright golden color show a perfect clarity

SMELL: Bread crust, ripe peaches, biscuity, herbal, passion fruit, spice, clean

TASTE: Very smooth, medium body, crisp snap, biscuity, malt sweetness, herbal, spicy, mild fruitiness, dried grass, clean drying finish

Does this mean that 2013 will be year of the lager and New Belgium is just ahead of the curve on this one? The did get it right with opting for tall-boy size and at 5.0% it is still within the "sessionable" range. Very well balanced and great use of hops here which makes this one of the most interesting pale lagers on the market today.

 684 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.55/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

500 ml can served into N'Ice Chouffe stemware in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I've historically been underwhelmed by this brewery but I tried La Folie last night and it blew me away.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 2.5 finger head of nice fluffy cream, decent thickness, beige colour, and standard retention for the mere 5% ABV. Colour is a transparent yellow. Standard fare for the style, but generally appealing.

Sm: Full pleasant barley and some fresh floral hops. An average quality moderate strength aroma. I'm looking forward to trying it.

T: Barley with fresh floral hops. Simple and somewhat bland, but fairly enjoyable. Not subtle or layered. Pretty boring. There's very little to say about it.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some cream. Far too wet and thin. Weak. Doesn't quite support the flavour profile, minimal as it is.

Dr: A boring bland beer from New Belgium that I won't be getting again. Might make a decent beer pong beer; it's pretty drinkable if overcarbonated. Priced alright.

Low C-

 1,212 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

BBD of 24 Jun 2012

Pours a super-effervescent gold/bronze color with 4 fingers of fluffed up pearl colored head. Great lacing & above average head retention

S: Serious bready notes, grassyness & lemons as well

T: Grassyness, faint lemon rind, crackery notes along with some bready sweetness. Some mineral & soapy hoppyness as this warms along with more grassyness & some grainyness. Finishes grassy, citrussy & fairly crisp

MF: Medium bodied, crisp carbonation, alright balance

I'm sure a few of these will go down great out on the lake or chilling this summer; but this is a little too stripped down for me, give more hops & or malt please. I doubt this will even make my summer canned beer rotation this year...

 718 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.04/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pale golden fresh cut hay with a bit of an orange copper glow, brilliant white head forms thick and fills the chalice with love. Aromatics offer up biscuit malt, mild grassy citric notes crisp blend of malts, hops, water...almost a pungent tartness in the nose. Flavor perfectly complex drinking lager, all malted barley goes along way with flavor...biscuit malts bring a bready resilience with the herbal/mineral/citric notes coming from the hops very clean snappy finish. Those hops stick around more than the average end of shift lager that this country knows all too well. I saw it labeled for 16.99 a 12 pack, which I didn't jump on however I did grab about four cans for $1.69 just enough to wet the whistle. Crisp even carbonation perfect mouthfeel semi dry finish linger hops accent the breadiness perfectly it's a true American Lager thank heavens for New Belgium. Overall I will definitely grab more of this class expression of true drinking beer.

 957 characters

Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 ounce can into pilsener glass, best before 1/27/2013. Pours slightly hazy golden straw color with a nice 1-2 finger dense white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of lemon zest, apple, pear, cracker, bready grain, floral, grass, pepper, and herbal earthiness. Damn nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and strength. Taste of lemon zest, pear, pepper, apple, cracker, bready grain, floral, grass, and herbal earthiness. Lingering notes of light fruits, pepper, cracker, bread, floral, grass, and herbal on the finish for a bit. Very nice flavor balance and good complexity of hop/malt notes; with zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice pale lager. Very nice balance of hop/malt flavors; and extremely smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable and refreshing offering.

 1,125 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Giada's Trattoria in Kernersville, NC

A: Pours a clear deep golden yellow in color with moderate amounts of visible carbonation as well as some apricot and lemon yellow highlights. The beer has a finger tall off-white head that reduces to a medium patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of toasted and pale malts along with some light aromas of floral and citrus/grapefruit rind hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of toasted and pale malts with a light amount of grainy sweetness. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of floral and citrus/grapefruit rind hops which contribute a light amount of bitterness in the finish which fades quickly.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Easy to drink and pairs well with most foods - a little more interesting than the average American lager as there is a light to moderate presence of hops.

 1,022 characters

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

Thanks to Kegatron for gifting me with a 16oz can of this. Poured into a pub glass, the brew appears a light copper to golden color with a finger of yellowish tan head. Rising bubbles of carbonation maintain the cap and some strings of webby lace stick to the glass. Through the body is some fine particulate keeping this brew from looking polished in clarity.

The aroma is sweet with a scent of caramel to buttery toffee. A light amount of citrus to herbal hop inclusion mixes with a touch of floral quality. There is a minute amount of trace mineral character present towards the back. Overall this is a typical smelling pale lager.

The flavor of this brew has the previously described notes of butter that come across with some biscuit maltiness. However, before the buttery notes have a chance to linger on the tongue, some herbal hop bitterness comes into play to clean things up a bit. The herbal aspect of the hops carries with it a touch of minerals like the aroma led on. There is a mild fruity aspect of this brew tasting somewhat floral as it warms up. This brew plays quite the contrasting role inside the mouth from buttery to herbal to toasty with grain. Overall not bad.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is light and lively inside the mouth with a crisp finish that you expect from the style. What keeps this back from being above-average for me is the way the buttery notes do not easily transition into the hops and then malt quality. Instead, each aspect seems singular and does not really come together. Overall, it is not a bad brew. It does however include a bit more of an alcohol punch than you would expect for the listed 5% abv.

 1,692 characters

Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - clear, see-through, gold with a mountain of dense, white, foamy head with great retention

S - light, bready malt; herbal, spicy; great hop character

T - toasted malts, faint bread, herbal hops, a hint of onions, little lager yeast, a slight spicy hop finish

M - light bodied, smooth, crisp, well carbonated

This is a really solid pale lager. It has a great hop character and great balance and flavor for the style. This would be a great trade off for the usual BMC drinker.

 481 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a golden orange color with a white head. The aroma is a mix of resin and orange citrus from the hops, as well as some biscuit. The flavor also has a good amount of bitterness. I get some lightly toasted malt, as well as some pine, resin and orange citrus. There is also some biscuit malt. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 344 characters

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!

 1,463 characters

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

Poured from the can into a Pokal style glass.

A real nice brass gold, yellow to orange edges and crystal clear. Hits with a nice foamy white top and some faint lacing while drinking. Nice rising bubbles, quite good looking here.

Nose is a biscuity malt, faint sort of lemon and sour grass hop. Strange yeasty quality to this also. Somewhere between earthy and grassy hop quality, which seems fine.

Taste is interesting. Lots of white baked flour, with a strange hop finish no doubt to Nelson Sauv?. Sticky yeast quality and a faint light astringency mixing with the malts on the aftertaste. Dense but clean, somewhere in between. Not too carbonated either.

Overall, beer does what it says, but it reminds me of eating white cake flour at times with a yeasty bent. But I am usually not a fan of New Belgium, but this is a pretty easy going and enjoyable brew.

 862 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.84/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A vigorous pour into my Gulden Draak tulip produces a three finger thick, just barely off-white colored head. The beer is a bright, gold color that shows a brilliantly clear, pale gold / yellow hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of dried hay-like grain, sweet pale malt (with touches of honey-like grain), and a supporting, but increasingly noticeable tropical fruitiness that smells like a mix of orange-scented grapes, lychee, guava, pineapple and bright fruit blossoms. After a short bit a more herbal character starts to become noticeable; slight dank, not really pine, though not full blown marijuana character either.

Dry seeming, but somehow has a sweetness to it that is accentuated by the tropical & ripe citrus hop character. There is a nice pale malt middle to this beer that contributes more body than one might expect from something labeled a Pale Lager; a touch of malt viscosity is here, but ultimately this is a very quaffable beer. Cracker like malt notes are noticeable from beginning to end, but are on the soft side of things. There is also a dried hay, almost dried grassy like note to this beer and the pale malt has a honey like character that is accentuated by the fruity hop notes.

This is a subtle beer all around. I drank it on the warm side of cool, which seems to have brought out a lot of the flavors & I find that I am quite enjoying this beer. We’ll see how I like it at a bit cooler of a temperature (around 50°F) tomorrow. The hop character, while not over the top, has that raw & fruity hop character that at a much larger amplitude would be appropriated for a hoppy Pale Ale or IPA. Much better than I expected.

At cooler temperatures the bright, tropical fruit notes fade a bit and this becomes more herbaceous and green in its hop character, but that Sauvignon Blanc like grape character also starts to come out, which wasn’t noticeable previously. I definitely like this on the warm side of cool 55°F or a bit warmer is better for this particular beer; this is certainly a bit atypical for a lager.

 2,059 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Shift Pale Lager from New Belgium Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 236 ratings.