Shift Pale Lager - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
Shift Pale LagerShift Pale Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

233 Reviews
THE BROS
87
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 233
Hads: 1,329
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 49
Gots: 158 | 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
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Reviews: 233 | Hads: 1,329
Photo of stakem
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
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 woodychandler
4.67/5  rDev +27.2%
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 Gueuzedude
3.84/5  rDev +4.6%
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)

Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +9%
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 Halcyondays
4.17/5  rDev +13.6%
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. (511 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
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. (565 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
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 DoubleJ
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
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. (660 characters)

Photo of tempest
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
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. (453 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
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. (492 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
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. (329 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
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. (753 characters)

Photo of plaid75
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
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. (347 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
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. (401 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 16oz tallboy to nonic pint glass on 5/7/12
*From notes

A: Daker then expected - more of a 24k gold. A decent pour yields a 1.75 bone white head that fades as expected, leaving some minor lacing.

S: Sweet corn, white bread and what comes across as a trace of whole cone bittering hops.

T: This reminds me a lot of Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, sans the depth and desired complexity. A bit sweet up front, with white corn kernels. The mid is biscuity and bready. The finish displays a mere drop of hop oil.

M: Solid texture. This is a bit thick for the style, which I really dig. The carbonation is spot on.

O: A nice beer, especially for summer evenings on the patio or porch. It certainly seems to accomplish what it set out to. But the question I ask myself is: why buy NB's Shift for $8.99 a four pack, when I can get a sixer of GL's superior Dortmunder for $10.99? (876 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint can picked up tonight at Bier Thirty for about $2... Poured into my slim tulip glass... 3 finger white head... nice lacing and retention..

Nose is clean as expected.. a nice shot of light pale malts help deliver some minor hoppiness.... a bit of citrus... and something that I associate with Summit.. garlic? Damn I hate saying that.

Flavor shows plenty of pale malt....minor toast ... very very clean.... hops are more soapy.. odd but still decent.. a bit of lemon and hints of onion on the finish..

Medium/light body... nice carbonation... great drinkability.

I am very curious to see how NB works this into their stable.. Shift is a pretty much perfect beer to take camping, rafting, hotspringing, etc.

all 3.5 (725 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
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. (285 characters)

Photo of beertunes
3.32/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured a clean, clear straw gold color with just a tin cap of white head that had no retention or lacing.

The aroma was pleasantly grainy and had some nice gentle hops for balance. The taste was the same, mostly grains with some hops to even things out. the body was crisp and clean, although there was a slight bit of sweetness that lingered on the finish.

Drinkability was good, the can went down quick and easy and I could see maybe taking some of these to a cookout or tubing on the Nooksack. Overall, a nice little beer that'll probably find a place in your summer rotation. (614 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 16oz can into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich golden hue with a clear body and nice effervescence. Head is a thin finger of pillowy white foam; nice.

Smell: mild malt aroma with an interesting hop character. Hops are citrusy but dank; they're funky, earthy and last of all spicy. Not at all what you'd expect from a pale lager, and not too badly executed to boot.

Taste: nice malt flavor with some of the same hop characteristics with a heavier tilt to the citrus. The middle of the flavor has a good grapefruity ring to it, which I quite enjoy. Bitterness is relatively low, befitting the style.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a good, effervescent creaminess. I like it.

Overall: this one was a surprise to me. New Belgium does not always produce my favorite beers, but Shift is darn good. I'm glad I gave it a try. (835 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a rich golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts, lemons, some sweetness. Taste is crisp, tart, citrus, some hops, more pale ale like than lager. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an easy drinking and enjoyable beer. (271 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
3.46/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 oz can, best before Sept 9, 2012.

It pours very nice with a 1 finger head of foam and lots of cool lacing. The colour is anything but pale...24k gold, I reckon.

The smell is of lemon and grassy hops with a bit of toasted malt.

The taste is hoppy for the style(American Pale Lager) with nice lemon flavour and just a touch of grass; the toasted malt is a bit stronger in the taste than it was in the smell.

I'm trying to figure out if I need to have this in my regular rotation once the weather gets more predictable. At $8 something a 4 pack for Shift, Schlitz 70s formula and Olympia 95% Malt are about as good though different and a lot cheaper. (654 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
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. (829 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear copper color. Good bubbling, lacing and foam retention. Very good looking pale lager.

Very light fruity aroma mixed with pale toasted malt pilsner malt. Clean, ghostly earthen hop aromas.

Toasty mlats, earthy, a little musty hops. Finish is toasty and a little tinny, and earthy hops. So very easy to drink this beer. Going on my session list! (352 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce can, best before October 7, 2012. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a clear golden/amber color with an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing is both good. Aroma is grainy malt, and grassy and citrusy (orange peel, grapefruit) hops. Taste is pretty much just like the aroma, but the bitter hops stand out a little bit more in comparison to the aroma. The flavors also seem a bit stronger than the aroma would lead you to think. Mouthfeel/body is light, it's a bit slick and very easy to drink. Good carbonation. I think this is a good summer brew (and good brew overall). I keep hoping New Belgium will distribute to Ohio in the near future.... (666 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz Can

Appearance - Clear yellow/amber colour with a large size fizzy/frothy off white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel, noble hops, grass, bread/grains

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel, floral hops, and some herbal grassy/hay/straw notes. There is also a bit of corn, bread, and a hint of lemon. It ends with crisp herbal aftertaste.

Overall - While this isn't my favourite taste to find in a beer, for the style is very well done. Those who enjoy straw/hay/herbal flavours mixed with noble hops will surely enjoy. (704 characters)

Shift Pale Lager from New Belgium Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 233 ratings.