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Shift Pale Lager - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
Shift Pale LagerShift Pale Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

238 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 238
Hads: 1,342
Avg: 3.66
pDev: 13.93%
Wants: 53
Gots: 170 | 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: 238 | Hads: 1,342
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.

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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...


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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.32/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

New Belgium Shift has a thick, fluffy, off-white head and a clear, bubbly, old-gold appearance, with lots of heavy lacing left on the glass. The aroma is faint, but one can detect bit of piney hops and tap water. The taste is of pine, citrus fruit (think lemon), tap water, and a shade of sweet grain. Mouthfeel is light and watery, and New Belgium Shift finishes crisp, clean, refreshing, drinkable, and dull. This is just another over-priced, flaccid, exceptionally dull failure from New Belgium, a company that seems to have a penchant for producing these depressing offerings. If you want to waste some money, this might be a fine choice.


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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a New Belgium globe glass.

Look: Copper amber, very clear. Foamy eggshell colored head that hangs around forever. Huge lines of lacing.

Aroma: Woody, spicy, hops, black pepper.

Taste: Starts off with some malty sweetness but soon a peppery, woody note comes in. Very hoppy and herbal. Faint fruits .

Mouthfeel: Medium, bright.

Overall: Very pretty, tastes good. Very New Belgium, tastes like a lot of their brews. Like a band that writes every song in the same key.

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Photo of BeerDocT
3.54/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I have to give them points up front for putting the brew in a full pint can. Nice!

Appearance 3.5: Nice, fizzy CO2 head. Color is a medium gold. Definitely above average appearance.

Smell 3.75: I really enjoy the bouquet of this beer. Light hops and grains, but a certain depth of scent, which probably comes from the Cascade hops.

-Taste 3.5: Front is gone, nothing there but cool liquid. Middle is very slightly sweet and then it fades into a lightly hopped finish. Aftertaste brings out more of the combination of hops and I really enjoy the light touch of the Cascade hops.

-Mouthfeel 3.25: Slightly better than your average macro brew. There is a depth of flavor present in this beer.

-Overall 3.5: Good, basic beer. I guess the "shift" thing is New Belgium's attempt to appeal to the "common man" with this beer. While I find that condescending and a bit insulting, nonetheless, the brew itself is pretty good. Certainly not a prize-winner, but that is true of most beer coming from the self-important and (I suppose this goes hand in hand) "wind powered" brewery.

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Photo of bmwats
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz can, into a pilsner.

A: Pours a golden hue about a 2 finger, frothy, white head. Effervescence rises throughout. Settles slowly and unevenly leaving lots of dry, sticky residue around the glass. Plenty of thick beer ring lacing.

S: Nutty, buttered bread, a little clove, and grass.

T: Bready malt with a fairly pronounced pungent bittersweet hop bite, accentuated with a little savory spice and walnut (maybe).

M: Lightly pungent and bitter throughout. Light and crisp with a bit of a dry finish.

D: Goes down easy, but worth savoring.

Atmosphere is very nice. Great head and tons of lacing. Plenty of persistent effervescence too. Nose is Bready and nutty with a little spice. Very well-balance and pronounced. Flavor an equally well-balanced combination of bread, spice, and some punchy hops. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

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Photo of alexrichman
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I've had a few of these in 16oz cans, but my neighborhood Freddys had 6-12oz cans for $6.99 I can't pass up cans for $6.99 so here I am!

A> Poured into a pint glass, this brew produced a 3/4 finger head that quickly dissipated but left some decent lacing. Crystal clear with plenty of carbonation, although a little darker than your run of the mill lager.

S> Not much of a smell. Light pilsner malts with a bit of lemon.

T> Light pilsner malt backbone with a bit of lemon & pepper. Finishes with a slight bit of hop bitterness, which I think keeps things interesting.

M> Good mouthfeel, It's got a bit of thickness but also has lots of carbonation which cuts through everything nicely and leaves the mouth feeling refreshed. I imagine this would be delightful on a hot day.

O> A pretty average beer that has a few things going for it. It's a reasonably priced beer that comes in a can (cans are perfect for the summer) and it has just enough character to keep things interesting. Perhaps the strangest thing about this beer is the mouthfeel was the highlight. Although this beer is uneventful and inoffensive (I imagine anyone could enjoy this on a warm day) it's lager, and perhaps even a bit adventurous for the style. All around a good beer and I know later this summer when I'm heading to the river, I will grab a couple of these.

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Photo of raynmoon
3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It looks a little above average. It has a nice yellowish orange color, no haze, very filtered with a good amount of bubbles streaming upwards. The head looks sort of funny.

Light floral citrus smell. A small amount sweet malt in the background, but the hops come through the most, which is a good. I think I smell some Cascade hops in there.

I enjoy the flavor on this quite a bit. It has a really, really balance between Citrus from the hops, some tangerine and some sweetness from the 2-row malt. For the style, very good.

The only bummer really is the mouthfeel. The carbonation needs to be bumped up a bit.

Overall this one is a winner. I'll be getting more of this in the summer when I want something lighter.

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Photo of hardy008
2.26/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

Clear gold with a 1 finger white head with decent retention and spotty lacing. The aroma has grassy and floral hops with some lemon. Also has biscuit malt.

Tastes just like it smells with lemon. floral, and grassy hops, with biscuit malt. Very underwhelming. Not a good combination of flavors in my opinion.

Light bodied with plenty of carbonation. Has an unpleasant aftertaste. I'm glad I only picked up one of these. Not a fan, and I won't be trying this again.

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Photo of obrike
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A buddy brought these over while I was grilling fajitas last weekend.

Poured from a pint can into my Firestone Walker pint glass.

Good looking beer! It's a golden color with a white fluffy head with very generous lacing...big bubbles occassonally streaming to the top of the glass.

Very light grain on the scent... nothing that stands out but nothing smells off either. I get a bit of floral hops to back up the malt. Certainly does not pop here.

Taste is pretty refreshing. It has this slight floral hop bite at first, then moves into a biscuity-like profile and is backed by finish that combines both. Certainly quite drinkable and is quite sessionable with the 5% abv. Overall, this could be a go to pale lager in the summer for sure. This is one you could swap out with your run of the mill crappy adjunct lager to your BMC buddies at a pool party.

Not a style I visit much, but certainly seems like a good representation.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.21/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours, from a 16oz can, a golden color with crystal clear clarity. Some straw colored hues through out. A soft fizzy head with good retention but didn't last through the tasting.

The nose is a bit non-discript. Some soft pilsner notes but more of a generic malt backing. Some minor esters, peaches and a hint of grape. A light white pepper note but very soft.

The malt comes out more versus the nose but overall very limited. Some minor pils notes but less versus the aroma. More of a malt and bready undertone. A hint of nutty that makes me think biscuit malt. Some zesty, lemon balm and herbal spicy hop note. More estery notes that is a bit much. Rose peddles and a hint of green apple.

The body is light to moderate. Not as crisp as I would have liked. The lingering yeast notes are a bit of a distraction as well. Overall a bit muddled and would like more lager/pils notes and less yeast/esters.

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Photo of HappyPappy2X
4.75/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

App: Pale Orange Yellow. Clear. Dense head with medium retaining.

Smell: Bread Yeast, Citrusy hops.

Taste: Dry malt, hops bitterness, lagerfunk yeast, ends slightly toasty and more hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-high carbonation. Medium body for a pale. Creamy.

Overall: A favorite of mine. This is what BMC wish they could have been. A refreshingly dry pale lager.

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Photo of dertyd
3.56/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

16 oz tall boy to a pint glass

A:deep golden color,one finger head that lingers for a few,nice laceing that sticks around,looks a lot like an ipa

S:smells like an ipa nice hop aroma but with a corn presence

T:corn cereal,not to hoppy or as pale as I was hopeing but this is a damn good lawnmower beer

M:realy dry after taste almost like a wine leaves your mouth dry

Overall: overall a realy good drinkable beer like I can pound theese all day wile my bmc buddies drink there light lagers lol I was hopeing for a lil more I had the sam adams double agent yesterday and I was hopeing for something close but this was way diffren a lot of corn taste in this not bad at all just hoped for a lil more going on I willndrink this again at partys and sesion events...live life....drink 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 srandycarter
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Clear honey, as expected, nice white head, TONS of cling lace. Very inviting.

S - malty, grainy, somewhat sweet with a slight floral background.

T - Very similar to smell, as to be expected with a pale lager.

M - Light body, good carb, nice clean balance.

D - Good beer. I would have another.

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Photo of mscudder
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served into a pint.

A - Transparent straw hue with a touch of orange. Large pale head with composition of concise bubbles. Fair retention and lacing.

S - Wheat, straw, pale malts. Like the light lagers,less the funky gross notes.

T - Sweet for a lager. Follows the nose and the flavor is fairly bland. A beer that benefits from a chilled can. Feels exposed as it warms.

M - Light body with moderate carbonation.

O - What I expected: a drinkable lager which is a good substitute for those crappy light lagers you are looking to throw back on particular evenings.

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Photo of mjshearer1
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Like a lager should be. Standard gold color, nothing too fancy.

S: Smells like a lager should be as well. If Budweiser got rid of it's stank and actually was brewed with any amount of effort, it'd smell like this.

T: Muted hops, clean finish, refreshing.

M: Light body, lots of carbonation

O: It's a decent brew, certainly one that I'd recommend to someone looking to get their foot in the door of the craft beer world.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

"When your work is done, you'll want one". New Belgium's Shift Pale Lager is brewed in the American Pale Lager style, and was first made available to the public in 2012 in 4 packs of 16oz. aluminum cans. New Belgium is reportedly looking to expand this beer to draft in the near future. Date stamped on the bottom of the can is 16 Sep 12.

Poured from a 16 oz. can to a New Belgium pint glass. Served upwards of 47º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Beer pours a thick frothy cream white head over a mildly hazy golden yellow body. Carbonation is medium and varied. Retention is good as the head thickens as it recedes, eventually settling within a few minutes to a spotty surface cover. Lacing is thin and spotty but clingy and plentiful. A nice appearance for a simple beer. 4.25

(Smell) Aroma is a clean, crisp cereal pale malt blend, perhaps some biscuity pilsner malts as well, with a mild sweetness. Hop presence is grassy and slightly floral in aroma with a faint bitterness. Balance is nice between sweet and bitter. Potency is very shallow. Overall a simple but approachable aroma which is a good choice for a simple and drinkable beer. 3.75

(Taste) Continued mild cereal sweetness has some slight body to it, followed through with a clean grassy hop bitterness and flavor balance on the finish. Slightly more sweet than bitter, but not overly so. Clean and simple with a bit more substance than macro lagers, it is very drinkable and the bitterness and sweetness don't wear the palate out easily. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Medium thickness with a touch of chewiness and a faint but approachable bitter finish. Body is medium-heavy for the style and light overall. Alcohol presence is well concealed. The thickness of the body is a notable change from what is expected of the style, but it is a welcome variation, if it doesn't drag down the drinkability of the beer a notch. It's a touch more filling than other Pale Lagers. 3.5

(Overall) There's nothing groundbreaking about Shift Pale Lager, but for a drinkable session beer, this certainly doesn't miss the mark. Neither too sweet nor too bitter, this would be a welcome branch over for those who like pleasant simplicity in a slightly heavier-bodied Pale Lager. Certainly worth picking up a can or even perhaps on draft if it hits watering holes later this year. 3.75

New Belgium Brewing's
Shift Pale Lager

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
4.55/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 1 PINT can into a pint glass. BEST BY 10FEB13. I was really excited to try this when I first bought this about a week or so ago. I loved the Nelson Sauvin hop profile in Burley Oak Brewery's Bulletproof Tiger.

Appearance: Pours a rich, golden pale lager body. Beautiful. Decent head for the style with doughy pockets that exhibit plenty of staying power. Lacing is fantastic.

Smell: Floral bouquet of hops. I pick up the fruity mango of the Nelson Sauvin hops. Sweet green grapes. Plenty of rich bready maltiness. Slight sour lager yeast aroma.

Taste: Nelson Sauvin up front (mango, lychee, honeydew). Fades to a crisp, almost Saaz-like spiciness. Tasty bready pale malts. This lager has a lot of flavor on both the hop and malt sides of the equation and has managed to be an extremely balanced brew at the same time.

Mouthfeel: I love how full bodied this beer is despite the low alcohol and overall crispness. No aftertaste, unpleasant or otherwise. Near perfect for me.

Overall: I have been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster with this beer since I bought a four pack and then a subsequent case (6 x 4 pack) about a week or two ago. The first sip of the first can was an explosion of Nelson Sauvin hops and I immediately declared this beer my new favorite. After a couple more cans over the next couple of days, I was fighting to detect that strong Nelson Sauvin hoppiness I so love and cherish (especially in a beer like Bulletproof Tiger). But since then, I have been literally pounding this beer on a near daily basis. It is just so damn drinkable, balanced, and great tasting (read: LOTS OF FLAVOR FOR A LOW ABV LAGER), if not delicious. Very satisfying from the can or in a glass. This could possibly be my session, daily drinker, beer for life when Sierra Nevada Summerfest is out of season. The only knock is the somewhat high price - I calculated that this works out to about a $40 standard case (as opposed to $30 for Summerfest in my area.) I would love to see more brewers doing more with Nelson Sauvin hops - my new favorite hop alongside Saaz (with Citra running a close third!)

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Photo of bnes09
4.8/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beautiful golden copper color with excellent clarity and large visible bubbles. Big head on the pour and coats the glass in creamy lacing.

Fresh aroma of pine needles, spinach leaves, herbs and flowers.

Solid malt backbone of mild wheat and rye. Spice hop character follows the aroma. Exceptional balance.

Light to medium body and ample carbonation brings the flavors to life.

I love seeing breweries come out with a fresh, flavorful lager for a change. Lots of malt character in this one adds heart to the brew. Tasty, refreshing and highly sessionable.

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Photo of imthaschmidt
3.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is one of my go to beers

Pours light, with a great head and leave lace down the side of your glass.

The taste is exactly how it looks, light, crisp, and hoppy. Though it seems to be a bit sweeter than most hopped up beers. not as bitter of an aftertaste

The smell is hoppy

A clean taste in your mouth , doesnt leave a bitter aftertaste on the tongue

New Belgium does it again!

Comes in a pack of 4 cans

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Photo of RedMosquito1
3.84/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Really enjoyed this one out of the 4 pack of cans. Can't review the appearance; drank it straight from the can. Like all NB beers, this one is just solid. Easy to drink with a surprisingly complex taste.

This was my first experience with a pale lager, and it's the first I've heard of one. This was a strong mix of the best of the hoppy bitterness of a pale ale and the smoothness of a lager. I was impressed.

My only complaint is that the cans looked a lot like Red Bull.

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

Picked up a 4-pack of tall cans from Sunshine Liquor in Ocean Beach...can't remember the price -drank it straight from the can (as one should).

A: Being that I did drink straight from the can - I'll average the score based on its other aspects.

S: Very traditional pale lager malt smell right off the bat - grainy, bready and slightly sweet. Faint hit of orange blossom and earthy hop in there too.

T: Taste is pretty much on point with the nose - the hop is cranked up a bit though, especially in comparison to many others within the same genre - hop goes for a while - very nice!

M: Light-bodied but on the verge of medium, crisp and well carbonated, goes down smooth and finishes clean. Hop oils linger a bit.

Overall a super tasty session ale that has enough hoppiness to please the hop snob (like myself) but approachable enough for those of you not buying into the hop craze.

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Photo of acelin
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a tallboy can into a proper pint glass.. you know, one that's actually pint sized.

Pours a golden yellow with minimal head, but decent lacing.

In the nose one can detect traditional pale malts ( biscuity, sugary, bready) and a slight floral hint.

This beer tastes about the same. Pretty average I suppose for a pale lager, i'm just glad this style is making a name for itself. Compared to other lagers, this brew is a bit hoppier. It's a good thing too.

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

A- Clear golden body with a white head.

A- Earthy hops, some very light bready sweetness.

T- Spicy/pepper mix with malt sweetness. Very interesting and enjoyable. Crisp lager finish and aftertaste.

M- Medium body and moderate carbonation. Sticks around a bit.

D- This is one of my favorite warm weather beers, or just a beer to enjoy and not be too serious about. It is a bit on the expensive side, but it is worth trying.

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Shift Pale Lager from New Belgium Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 238 ratings.