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 avalon07
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a can to a pilsner glass. Had a golden yellow color and a clear texture. There was an inch of creamy, fairly long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: Hoppier than I expected, with a definite grain presence to be had.

T: Tasted of light hops, malt, a little citrus (lemon), and some grain in the finish. A light, refreshing flavor that seems more like a pilsner than anything else (not bad thing in this case).

M: A good amount carbonation with a smooth, lively finish. Light-bodied.

O: The American Pale Lager style doesn't lend itself to complexity, and this beer won't win any prizes for that. However, it's an easy to drinkable likeable beer. (659 characters)

Photo of bsp77
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from can into Frankfurter mug.

Appearance: Rich golden color with nice sized head at first, and some light lacing.

Smell: Light hay, grains, citrus and spice. Needs a little more oomph in the aroma department, but still nice.

Taste: Hay and apple form the backbone, with a nice hoppy counterbalance of citrus and a light spiciness. Despite the hops, there is virtually no bitterness; just balanced flavors.

Feel: Medium body with moderate carbonation. Crisp, clean and smooth with a dry finish.

Overall: This is essentially a Helles but with New World hops. Surprisingly, I enjoy this almost as much as Surly Hell. I also think that other than the Lips of Faith series, this is the best standard New Belgium beer along with Belgo. Very happly surprised by this. (788 characters)

Photo of chugalug06
3.09/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Huge white foamy head come from this typically styled NB CAN. Decent outer ring of bubbles surround the foam. Brew is crystal clear orange-yellow. Looks like pretty low carbonation, very little bubbling. Nice lacing, good job NB.

Not too much scent, typical NB; not aggressive. Smells like a Bud Light, wheres the craft? Seriously, are there any Hops in here? Smells like: corn, slight chile, white pepper, biscuts, and bread.

Well carbonated. Very light and session-able. Not too much to report on flavor other then it greatly reminds me of BMC... Tastes a bit like a farm would (corn). Bread-y and biscuit-y.

I think it's safe to say NB came out flat on this over-hyped brew. If they tried to brew a Bud Light clone using a slightly different recipe, well, they succeeded. There is zero complexity to this brew. This brew never quite shifted my gear to become recommendable. It's far from craft and closer to Macro, drinks great from a can and very poor from a glass. Give ME an Avery Joe's! (998 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 isualum12
3.29/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

LOVE the can. Looks so cool. Love the little saying on the rim. Extra cool.
Look clear with lots of activity and a lacy head. Golden clear.
Smell skunk kinda gross
Taste hops but not overpowering. Just the right amount of hops if your not a hop head but like it every now and the. (me)
Feel high co2
Overal nice beer. It will stay in the mix.

Thanks (353 characters)

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

NB’s second major lager offering is a pale lager (no traditional styles here) in a 16oz can.
Straw golden – nice head and retention, too.
Hops hit the nose first. Not really traditional noble hops either. Slightly citric and earthy hops. I know this is using Nelson Sauvin as well as some continental and UK variety hops in a blend, so you get a little of each. I’d say the NS’s might be the strongest note as they’re a little bit orange-peel like. The malt note is there, but it’s mild and more of a support player.
The flavor continues with that theme. A little bit of breadiness on the front of the palate and hops on the back end. It’s definitely not a hell or pils, but is charting a unique path. The NS hops give it just a little bit of lemony flavor, although there’s a tiny hint of onions I get from certain hops. There’s no DMS or diacetyl, but there’s also a very subdued malt note. I wish it had a little more body as right now it seems to be more of a supporting element for those hops.
Not bad, and probably a beer that macro fans would appreciate. It actually reminds me a tiny bit of an “Imperial PBR” although obviously hoppier.

My personal bias is that I’d rather see someone make a good “American helles” instead of all of these hop-forward lagers featuring unusual hopping. To me this is an ale brewer making a lager and as a result you get similar strengths and weaknesses. Hop heads might like this, but I wonder if it’s enough to satisfy them either. It’s an odd one, but who knows – maybe this could be a huge conversion beer? (1,586 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 oberon
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
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 harrymel
3.01/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Best by: 19SEP12
Pours light amber, lots of white billowed foam. Earthy hops and reserved, amber malts. Nice nose for a session IMO. Some corn pops up front, some malts, and some hints of wood. Meh. Thin bodied and hi carb, as expected. Has a semi dry finish. I would say this is great for 80 degree weather honestly, not that bad, but not that great. Slightly sweet. (367 characters)

Photo of alk3kenny
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a slightly dark golden color awesome some grassy notes cereal some hops... Initial tasting slight bitterness not much sweetness can taste some hops and grain carbonation bubbles on the tongue very easily drinkable could put back the whole 4 pk of pints on a hot day off for sure. mouthfeel is light crispy pleasant. (329 characters)

Photo of augustgarage
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16oz can into my Moonlight shaped pint glass.

Clear orange-tinged amber body capped by a soft soapy off-white half-finger. Good retention, soft non-commital lacing.

Sweet mellow aromatics, fairly generic with a hint of crisp green apple.

Crisp gently malty palate entry with a low bitterness leading into the gentle medium-dry finish. Aftertaste is slightly sweet and grainy (corn? or is it the Munich and Crystal talking?) with a touch of quinine. Disappointed that the hop character doesn't come across more, but then if it did, this wouldn't be to style I suppose.

Very light bodied, well carbonated, and brisk.

Clean, fresh tasting, very light lager - maybe not the best value, but worth a try if you want to mow the lawn in style. (755 characters)

Photo of Docer
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: (3.5)

- Pours an ultra clear straw yellow bubbling lager. Couple fingers of white foaming head settle quickly to a chalky thin layer to remain. Overall a pretty standard looking craft lager.

Smell: (4.0)

- Pretty balanced aroma. Crisp grassy hops, light floral and fruit notes. Sweet biscuity grain and common lager aromas. Nice grains and just crisp beer. Liking the smell.

Taste: (4.0)

- Nice light bitter grassy and herbal hops with a nice little touch of zesty and spice. Balanced perfectly with a light bready sweet grain. This is a solid and refreshing drinker.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)

- Light bodied, well carbonated brew with a slight spicy dryness and mouth watering quality.

Overall: (4.5)

- This is a pretty simple review for a simple beer. But this beer is pretty damn good. Perfect for a hot day and as they have noted, perfect for after a shift of work. Very well balanced, and slightly better than other lagers due to their interesting and zesty combination of hops. This just proves that even the simplest of styles can still come out on top. (1,077 characters)

Photo of McStagger
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cans are good now.

A: Aggressive pour leads to one finger off white head. Mild carbonation. Beautiful golden color. Nice head retention, too.

S: Toasty malt with a lot of spiced/floral hop aromas in the nose. Not much on the citric hop notes.

T: Another reviewer commented on the trademark roasty/nutty/biscuity flavor this brewery seems to impart on a lot of its beers. Definitely present in this one as well. This is the first and last component of the brew you taste. In between is a great malt backbone with a good touch of the same spicy/floral hop presence. Touch of stone fruit involved as well. However, that crazy roastiness of New Belgium is all over this.

M: Spot on texture. The mild carbonation and tiny little bubbles give this beer a full bodied texture that I definitely enjoy.

O: Definitely a step above most American pale lagers. If this were in the same price range as BMC this would have gotten 5's across the board. Ah, well. You get what you pay for. (982 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 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 longbongsilver
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saw this at the store recently. I wondered when they first announced it what their purpose was in doing a pale lager -- which is is probably the beer style that comes with the least expectations as far as taste. According to my Try Anything Once rule, grab it. What the hell, I like their other stuff.

First of all, it's not only a pale lager, but a canned pale lager. I poured some just to be able to see it, but all else I describe comes straight from the can. The pour for appearance evaluation purposes revealed the typical yellow, but a big creamy head more akin to a kolsch. Scent is vastly more citrusy than typical for this style, meanwhile the malt character firmly plays background. The balance of this is IPA style, though the hops themselves are obviously not that strength.

Taste is melon-like, plus a slight cracker backing. The citrus really comes through, almost as if to smack you upside the head with "I am not a typical pale lager!!" flavor. That said, the finish is lawnmower brew clean.

It's a damn good beer. I'd even say it's the best pale lager I've ever had, though that's probably because it tastes like anything but. If taking a pedestrian style and showing what it can achieve with the proper effort was their aim, then they succeeded, and I only have one suggestion: a high gravity variant called Overdrive. (1,340 characters)

Photo of sommersb
2.39/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Tasted On: 04-06-2012
Freshness: Best by 09-09-12
Packaging: 16 oz. can
Glassware: New Belgium globe
Purchased: 4-pack from Midtown, Nashville

A: Clear, dark golden color, with a white head of 2 fingers. Very good lacing and good head retention.

S: Floral and grassy hop aromas, plus some sort of unpleasant vegetable odor.

T: Low bitterness, but the taste is marred by the same vegetable or skunked element as noted in the smell. Seems to be less evident as the beer warms up, thankfully.

M: Medium bodied with hi carbonation. The aftertastes are moderately bitter but also have the off-flavors present.

O: I was looking forward to trying this beer, but now I regret that I have 3 more in the fridge. I can't recommend this one. (735 characters)

Photo of gatornation
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

from a pint can BB 090212

A- pours a clear dark golden yellow color with a fresh white head and collar with minimal lacing

S- was pale malts with baked bread a sweet citrus smell

T- pale malts and floral citrus hops a butter bread and sweet grain taste

M- medium carbonation with a crisp floral hop palate

O- very drinkable smooth and creamy PA (349 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 Kromes
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A crystal clear light gold color with a thin soapy white head and a little bit of lacing on the glass.

S: Biscuit malts and a fruity peach aroma with some peppery and citrus hop.

T: More biscuit malts with a nice citrus fruit flavor finished off with a tame grassy hop.

M: Light with what I would say is less than average carbonation for the style. Makes it very drinkable.

O: A tough style to rate. May not be the best beer ever, but within the pale lager category, this one is excellent. This is definitely a summer beer that has good flavor and is still light and refreshing. Has all the right qualities. (615 characters)

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

A- pours a deep golden color with a half a finger cap of off white head. Pour retention.

S- clean pale malt aromas up front with a nice slightly elevated hop presence of citrus and pine.

T- nice burst of lemon zest citrusy hops up front. The hops soon fall off and leave a clean crisp pale malt flavor with some toasty characteristics and a good amount of bitterness.

MF- smooth crisp mouthfeel with a light medium body. Average carbonation.

D- very drinkable. A solid session brew. (487 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 irrgalaxy
3.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New 16 oz. can from the New Belgium line.

Light gold color and good head. Smell is crisp, clean with hints of ocean. Surprising amount of hops for a lager, but well-balanced. Medium palate.

Excited for future outdoor events of all kinds, but mostly praying this appears at the ballpark at some point. For backpacking, I'll still go with Dale's Pale Ale for a smaller size, but can't wait to bring a four-pack of these to my next car-camping trip. (450 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 cradke
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very yellow golden, not much head but some decent carbonation.

Smell: Straw with some citrus hops.

Taste: Some decent hops with some straw. Pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Some decent carbonation that plays with the intentionally thin style.

Overall. I'm quite conflicted about this. If their goal was the ideal tailgating beer, they hit this out of the park! I can really see myself taking this camping, grilling, tailgating, "bike rides" anytime I need a solid beer that is going to taste good for several cans, and might be ok if it warms up a bit. On the other hand, the beer didn't really impress on the whole scale of things. I wish they could have shoved a bit more ABV into it or made it a bit more flavorful. (723 characters)

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