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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
Reviews: 236 | Hads: 1,337
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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-

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the source, on to the beer:

Sometimes simpler is better, and New Belgium get it with thier Shift Lager. It's a golden colored beer, leaving a good proportion of lace around the glass. The nose is no-frills but does the job, bringing floral, crackers, and bread to the mix. And while the taste may also be no-frills to some, there's something about the way this beer seduces me that I can't help but like. Its taste is lead by honey, bready, and floral flavors, and pair that with the flavors having harmony with one another, it wins. Light bodied and moderately crisp, this lager is very easy to drink and very refreshing without boring your palate.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

There's something about certain lagers, American, that is distasteful for me. It's like a stale grain, or odd sweetness. I don't really know how to describe it--but it's in all macros and most AAL styles.

Here we have NB making a lager...a pale lager. But that staleness tastes remains. However, the yeast and hops do well to calm this off taste (for me) down quite a bit. It's there up front, but the hops clear it up and give the brew a nice zing on the end.

It's light in feel and carbonated. I'd have it again on certain moods, or if it's really hot outside.

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

Overall, a pleasant, easy-drinking lager, not crisp but quite smooth. The aroma has a mix of fresh bread and mild fruity hops. The hops character is an easy mix of earthy tangerine and grapefruit with only a hit of bitter rind in the finish. This beer remind me more of cream ale (like a dialed back Sixpoint Sweet Action) for the gentle hops and light barley with a more medium body. Still, I wouldn't mind having a few on a hot day, or any day really.

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Photo of Zorro
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear Golden colored beer with a small white colored head.

Smell is cracker malt with some scorched sugars in there. Strong noble hop scent spicy and soapy. Distinct odor of peach in this.

Starts out slightly malty with a herbal hop after taste. Hop asserts it authority but not in a harsh way. Slight peach flavor. Herbal funk with a slight burned sugar taste.

Mouthfeel is good and full for a lager.

Overall a good lager. It does have that New Belgium signature burnt sugar trace in it.

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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 Wasatch
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Enjoy By: 30 Nov 2014

Pours a very nice dark golden color, very nice carbonation, two-finger creamy white head, which leaves tons of sticky lacing behind. The nose is hoppy with a nice touch of malts, some citrus, very slight yeast note. The taste is very nice hoppy, with some maltiness, nice touch of citrus. Medium body, with a nice bitter/dry finish. Overall a pretty tasty brew, would buy again.

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Photo of plaid75
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep straw hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured soft pale malts with a balancing herbal hop.

The taste was very well balances with round bready malts and light herbal and grassy hops.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side of the style.

Overall a tasty quaffable lager.

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

(Served in a footed strange)
A- This beer pours a deep dark yellow body that is clear body with a gentle carbonation and a thick creamy head of egg cream that turns bubble but lasts.

S- The dry woody green hops are gentle with a slight dried citrus note and some green leaf hops aroma growing in the finish.

T- The clean crisp taste has a slightly musty dry grain and biscuit malt note with some pineapple weed hops that linger as a gentle bitterness in the finish.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a crisp little fizz.

O- As it opens it becomes a bit bitey and dry but it is well lagered with the malt a little soft the hops come through and grow in bitterness more than flavor but some woody hop notes start to add a bit of depth as it opens.

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