Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

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: 13.93%
Wants: 52
Gots: 165 | 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 Foyle
2.08/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: significant 3” head that settles slowly leaving lots of lacing. Dark straw color and clear. Significant carbonation.
Aroma: piney and citrus hops, toasted grains, bread.
Mouthfeel: light (though not as light as macro lagers). Slightly sticky with a dry finish.
Flavor: Bitter hops dominate. There is some sweet malt in the start and middle but the bitterness dominates the flavor throughout the taste. It also lingers in an unpleasant way (like when you eat something bitter and want to get the flavor out of your mouth).
Overall: Disappointed. There are many better lagers available at much lower prices.

 623 characters

Photo of chad_e_martin
3.49/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Setting: My home, cool Spring night.

Serving type: Chilled can, poured into a glass.

Art: new art for this beer. Navy blue and beige can, with multiple gear shifts and belts.

Beer: Golden color; no distinct flavors, but hints of wheat, honey, vague malt and citrus (very vague). I don't know if I taste much of anything here, still it has a nice taste. Strange, but totally enjoyable. A lingering taste.

 407 characters

Photo of JeffH
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16oz can into a tulip glass.

Golden amber pour with a bright white a frothy head. This beer is crystal clear with lots of carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass. The lacing is fine but irregular but does stay with the glass. The aroma is classic lager- biscuit and grassy, mild hops. There are hints of tropical fruits, but they are illusive at best. The body of this beer is heavier than expected from a lager, but the difference is welcoming. The palate is crisp and clean with nice malty notes balanced nicely with a piney hop bitterness. The hops continue through the finish and linger for a good 20 seconds. Overall, a very well done lager and a fantastic sessionable beer.

 702 characters

Photo of marzenfannm
3.51/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Unremarkable but pleasant enough aroma. Gorgeous, classic head with considerable staying power. Blond appearance belies a tasty beer. Medium body with clean finish.

[I am copying these notes over from RateBeer ... it does not require as long of review. I tasted this some time ago so I can't add anything.]

 307 characters

Photo of Omnium
3.31/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can > Mason Pint

A - Nice clear gold with one finger of soapy white head, very small dotty lacing.
S - Grainy, a little dark dirty earthy hops.
T - Biscuit dough malt, a little citrus, grain.
M - Medium, ok.
O - Bleh, one note kinda beer. Just is grainy and malty

 267 characters

Photo of ZoomanCru
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Shift – Pale Lager (5%) – New Belgium Brewing Co. (Colorado)

App: Deep golden color with hints of copper in direct light. Rocky white head throws up one finger, settling to a half that retains well with a constant stream of bubbles feeding it from the bottom.

Smell: Aroma is light and bready and slightly metallic, with some subtle noble hops character.

Taste: Essentially follows nose. Foretaste is light and cereal with some hops bitterness coming through, especially on the aftertaste. A lot maltier and more in line with a Bohemian Pilsner in terms of flavor, but with significant hopping that balances it well. This beer is super easy to drink and probably one of my favorite lagers. Perfect for the lake or lawn. Actually prefer this out of the can rather than draft.

Mouth: Light and crisp. Flavors linger lightly, but do not coat the tongue. Carb is spot on.

Home tasting, 16oz can into Pilsner Glass. 2/28/14.

 945 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 wvsabbath
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Can

Appearance - Copper tan/ruby brown with a foamy 1 inch head, plenty of lacing.

Smell - Sweet citric hops, pale malts, added sugars, a little caramel malt note near the finish.

Taste - A nice mix of sweet hops and pale malts. Plenty of orange, peach and pineapple in each sip. Sweet and fruity with a slight pale caramel malt flavor near the finish. Some spices provide a grainy flavor.

Mouthfeel - Fruity citric hops coat the tongue with sweetness. Palate gets pale malts and spices. Aftertaste is crisp, a little biscuity and grainy.

Overall - Decent beer, has a nice sweet citric flavor mixed in with pale malts. I guess the only knock about the beer is none of the flavors jump out at you, and you are left feeling a little unsatisfied. Great price, and its in cans, so its worth a drink for sure.

 825 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 archyquaffer
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a shaker pint. A half-way aggressive pour produces about 1.5 inches of billowy, frothy head of a snow white color. The head remains billowy for awhile and sticks pretty well. The beer is a moderately pale straw color with a reddish tinge and ample carbonation.

Plenty of grassy hops on the nose along with sweet malt and maybe a hint of corn (?). Also, a distinct fruity aroma on both the nose and palate, rather like a peach or apricot. Lingering hop bitterness on the tongue, along with some residual sweetness. Decent mouth feel and full body for the style.

This is one of the better offerings from this brewery, at least that make it to my area. I can't do their "Flat Tire"- too sweet, too "Beech Nut" tobacco-y, and too biscuit-y, and could really use some hops. This provides one reason why most of my ratings are on the high side- I don't like to drink beer that I don't like! Cheers, fellow imbibers! :)

 946 characters

Photo of kaplunk02
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Poured a very light amber with a substantial white head.

S: Smelled of citris hops, grass and grain. A bit malty as well.

T: Citrus hops, grass and grain much like the smell but also very grapefruity.

M: Nice balanced mouthfeel. Not watery or slick but very smooth with light carbonation.

O: Overall a really nice lager especially to be had at the end of a long day :)

 417 characters

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.

 455 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

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

The beer is a clear golden straw with a strong and vigorous white head that lasts for a while.

The beer has a strong malt smell and some light hop smell as well as a bit grainy.

The beer has a strong caramel taste that dominates the light hop flavor. The malt flavor can be fairly overpowering to the point where it becomes difficult another one but not so much that you can't finish what you have.

The beer feels fairly thick and medium bodied. Biting carbonation with a slightly dry finish.

A decent session lager and worth going through every once in a while.

 613 characters

Photo of carlborch
3.04/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours brilliant gold with an off-white two-inch creamy head. Settling to a 1-inch pocketed head. Hops and cut grass in the nose. Crisp forwardness with a light malt palate. Fresh, bright and delectably sharp with cereal notes (Corn Flakes?!), however, this is all malt!? My palate must be at odds with reality today. Modest carbonation. Broad Belgian lace forms. It is very nice. May not seek it again, but would not decline if offered.

 436 characters

Photo of vette2006c5r
3.09/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shift pours a dark golden color with a nice large lacing white head. There is a sweet and malty aroma. The taste is also very sweet, malty, and almost has a sugary flavor. Drinkable and has a nice feel, but too sugary. Overall its a very OKAY beer, not horrible but a bit too sugary.

 283 characters

Photo of MickeyBeer
3.04/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 oz can poured into a pint glass

A- Pours a clear golden color with about one finger of frothy white head that dissipates somewhat quickly.

S- Not a very powerful aroma with this beer. I am picking up on a little bit of citrus hops and malt, but neither of them are very prominent. Was hoping for more aroma here.

T- Some hop flavor is present and a little bit of malty sweetness. Somewhat citrusy with lemon flavor that tastes a bit soapy.

M- Mouthfeel is rather light and it has a medium-light amount of carbonation. Pretty easy to drink, but not the tastiest brew I have ever had.

O- This is a decent beer, but I wouldn't seek it out. Nothing about it is particularly special, but it is easy to drink.

 711 characters

Photo of JWU
3.91/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. tallboy can, poured into a mug.

A- beautifully clear, deep gold which reminds me of a dortmunder lager. A nice off white head sits on top and laces very nicely.

S- Peaches, pineapple, and a biscuity/crackery malt base.

T- A nice flash of hop bitterness, which is balanced by the nice mild malt sweetness. Hops are very fruity, pineapple, and peach mostly.

M- Medium bodied, and crisp. Dry on the finish for a lager.

O- The most interesting pale lager I've had in a long, long time

 492 characters

Photo of denver10
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a yellowy golden with a off white head. A hoppy and earthy aroma of some straw, some grass, some sweet fruit, and some malt. Taste was grainy, a little caramel malt, fruity, and grassy. Mildly bitter. A active but creamy mouthfeel. Overall, probably the lone beer in their regular lineup I like even if this isn't the most well constructed beer out there. Makes for a nice, easy drinking summer session beer. And as a sucker for just about anything to do with nelson sauvin hops, this one is right up my alley.

 516 characters

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.

 753 characters

Photo of Vixie
3.57/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear yellow with a large white head. Looks to be a decent amount of carbonation

Smell is malty, a bit bread like and a hint of biscuit as well.

Starts out a touch sweet and bread like. The hops quickly assert themselves, they tend to dominate the back end, although not completely overpowering things. There is a bit of a lingering hop bitterness in the finish.

Decent feel to it, the carbonation does make the tongue tingle on the way down.

I have not been a big fan of New Belgium, but a friend suggested I try this one. I am glad I did, it is one of their better efforts, at least to me. It is drinkable, the taste is pleasant, and is a nice beer for a hot day.

 677 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 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 falloutsnow
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

From: Binny's, Bloomingdale, IL
Date: Best by 6/13/2013
Glass: Standard US pint

With Shift, New Belgium has a solid "mild" American lager. The beer is somewhat hoppy, somewhat of pale malts, neither striking the palate with too much intensity. The result is a drinkable, sessionable beer that won't overpower or saturate the palate into being tired, while at the same time letting one know that he or she is drinking an American-influenced beer (mostly due to the hop choices). This was enjoyable, and one to consider if I'm seeking out a mild, lager-like beer with American-influenced hopping.

The beer pours a 1cm tall head of fairly clean, white foam, with average retention of around one minute. The head fades to a thin ring around the perimeter of the glass, leaving moderate lacing, mostly a scattered array of dots, but also a few larger blotches clinging to the sides of the glass. The body is a golden yellow color, transparent, with light bringing out lighter, paler shades of yellow. Carbonation is visible through the body, and it is both somewhat vigorous and numerous.

The aroma is generally assertive, but not aggressive or blustering: the hops are present, but not dank or heavy, and the malt is consciously tame and in the background. The mix is an interesting blend of mildly fruity (guava, mango) and citrusy hops, arising from the Nelson Sauvin and Cascade, respectively. In this can at least, the hops seem to be most prominent, the slightly toasted and sweet malt appearing as more of an afterthought. A bit one-dimensional as a result.

The overall flavor is generally hoppy and fruity, with the malts being largely relegated to the background. Again, this leads to the beer feeling, at times, rather one-dimensional. Front of palate finds fruit flavors (guava and passion fruit, with a bit of pear) with a mild pale base malt sweetness. Mid-palate finds more "heaviness" to the hop flavors, with continued pale malt sweetness and perhaps a hint of the Munich malt that's in this beer. Back of palate features mild bitterness, slightly grainy and toasted malts accompany the sweet, pale malts, and slight fruit flavors (more pear than anything tropical). Aftertaste is with a somewhat tannic, astringent, dry bitterness, with continued citrus (orange) and marginal tropical fruit (guava, mango) flavor.

Beer is light to medium-light in body, with enough carbonation to gently foam the beer completely upon the palate. The resulting mouthfeel is soft, foamy, and somewhat creamy. Closes mostly dry, with little residual stickiness hanging on the palate.

 2,580 characters

Photo of KajII
3.18/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

[Suggested Glassware: Lager Glass]

The pour was a clear pale golden yellow with a small (less than 1 finger) white creamy head that diminished rapidly, leaving behind a thin film and small collar with very good sticky lacing.

The aroma was mild of a light grain malt, floral and grassy hops and a doughy yeast with a note of citrus (lemon and grapefruit) and a light fruity ester (apple and pears).

The taste was lightly bitter and rather grainy with a mild fruitiness from the start, becoming lightly hoppy with a nice grapefruit presence and a bitter lemon peel taste towards the finish. The flavor hung around for a good while following the swallow, with a bold citrus peel bitterness left behind.

Mouthfeel was light in body with a thin dry texture and a lively carbonation.

Overall this brew was a lot better than I expected out of a Pale Lager. It possessed a very nice bold bitterness along with a slight fruity sweetness, which working together created a well balanced and easy to drink brew...


 1,051 characters

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