Shift Pale Lager - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
Shift Pale LagerShift Pale Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

1,323 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,323
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 14.17%
Wants: 47
Gots: 155 | FT: 1
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,323 | Reviews: 231
Photo of Phocion
4.15/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. can poured into 16 oz. shaker pint. Well, most of it. Pale, translucent, golden/dark straw colored body with a thick bubbly off-white head that doesn't want to break. Big, intermittent chunks of lacing around the edge of my glass.

Whoa. Okay, when I read "pale lager" I'm not expecting to smell this big of dose of Northwest hops. Floral, citrus, and resiny aromas dominate and mix well with the big, bready malt backbone of this beer. Quite a bit of earthy aromas as well.

The flavor doesn't quite hold up to the nose. The hops are a bit more subtle, with big bread dough flavors coming out. Just a touch of sweetness. Overall, pretty well-balanced.

Clean, crisp mouthfeel. Light-medium body and medium carbonation.

Okay, I'm normally rather unimpressed with New Belgium's standard offerings, but this is pretty good. This is what a "pale lager" should be.

Photo of dfillius
3.91/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, thank heavens for tall boys!
A: Moderate pour yields 1 finger of tight white head with good retention. Clear, bright shiny brass colored liquid. I love the head and the color is pretty.
S: Clean biscuit with slight herbal hop. Some metallic flavor is quite strong, maybe it's a noble hop though? Points knocked off for metallic aroma.
T: Pleasantly balanced bread and herbally hopped. Tang of hop is bigger in the finish. Definitely noble, not citrusy enough to be American hops methinks. Almost savory like a nice lof of crusty bread. Nice but not exceptional.
M: Smooth and creamy. Dry, crisp.
O: Glad to see a decent, solid lager from these guys. I would probably buy this again and would order another. A nice beer to bring to a party. I'm glad NB is now in MI!

Photo of CloudStrife
3.97/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into a 16oz nonic pint glass. Best by 30 Dec 12.

A: Pours a clear golden hue with a 1 finger white head. Average amount of visible carbonation. Head settles to a thin film. Leaves a little lacing on the glass.

S: Malty lagery aroma that is pleasant. A fresh hop in the background. Cracker and breadiness.

T: Leads with some biscuity malt, followed by an earthy hop overtone and a sweet fruity finish. Nice hop touch.

M: Light to medium body with average carbonation and a clean finish. Good for a session.

Overall a tasty, easy drinking lager that can be enjoyed by anyone who likes beer.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Photo of Papabear55
3.82/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16 oz. can into a willi tumbler

Appearance: White head with large bubbles. Good lacing for such a light beer. Very clear but a nice golden yellow.

Smell: Citrus-hoppy and sweet malt makes it a bit bready.

Taste: Sweet malt flavor to begin with and slowly shifts to a more central hop flavor as it warms up.

Mouthfeel: Very thin and drinkable. Crisp finish thats very refreshing.

Overall: I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. I was expecting a slightly varied lager that still fell flat but got a unique beer that's well worth the price!

Photo of pburland23
4.02/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz. tallboy can into a standard shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Beer pours a very clear slightly dark golden color with two finger of very delicate white head. Very nice lacing and head retention.

Smell: Citrus fruits - orange peel and lemon. Some wildflowers, graham cracker, cinnamon and honey. Very nice smelling lager.

Taste: Floral and slightly sweet. A touch of honey as well as more ripe citrus fruit flavors.

Mouthfeel: Eminently drinkable at 5.0%. Light in body with sharp biting carbonation. Slightly creamy throughout with a nice, dry finish.

Overall: This is a surprising beer. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I certainly enjoyed. This is a sessionable, hoppy lager and though this one was reviewed from a glass I can attest it drinks very well from the tallboy can.

Photo of Siriusfisherman
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A slightly amber gold with a nice, white foamy head up top. Great lacing and carbonation streaming from the bottom.

Smell: Light tropical notes from the hops, very fresh and just a touch of toasty malt.

Taste: Very much like the nose, some hop bitterness up front and light flavor to follow. The malt is nice and robust tasting with a little toastiness. Very clean, and the hops have this very unique tropical tone that I rarely see in lagers.

Mouthfeel: Thin and lagery, but not as much as most. It is leagues ahead of the macro stuff, just nothing like a typical pale ale.

Overall: This is a tasty pale lager, one of the best I have had. It still has some of the drawbacks that almost all in the style have, and just won't be able to stand up to the broad complexity of pale ales. But still, if you are not in the mood for to much body and want something to wash down some lunch, this would be a great choice.

Photo of CHickman
4.25/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review from 7/11/12: pours hazy gold color with a ton of bubbles racing up the middle and a 2 finger foamy snow white head that faded slowly and left great foamy lacing clinging to the sides.

Smells of sweet malt, orange peel, lemon zest, caramel, brown sugar, grains and spices like cinnamon and coriander. Spicy and floral, the nose is sweet, airy and quite enjoyable.

Tastes of sweet malt, orange peel, lemon zest, citrus hops, caramel, brown sugar, grains, yeast, grass, pepper and other spices like cinnamon and coriander. Sweet overall with nice citrus and malty flavors complimenting each other.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth and almost watery, with a light body, light zesty carbonation, and high drinkability. A definite session beer, this was light, refreshing, flavorful and very enjoyable.

Shift was great out of the can and in a glass, and the name is quite fitting as this is a perfect quenching beer to throw down after any shift. Outstanding drinkability, I could drink this on a regular basis and always be happy.

Photo of elNopalero
3.86/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tallboys, sessionable, hoppy lagers… this has promise.

I’ve been waiting on this one though because of the price point—I’d rather spend that money on an IPA (Ranger tall boys are the same price).

I like how this looks. It’s clear and golden and has miles and miles and miles of foam on top of it. Even without a vigorous pour (I gave my first can a good kick) there’s a lot of foam. It goes away, and leaves its mark, but for a quick minute it’s there and looks good.

The aroma isn’t what you’d expect from a lager. There’s a light “fruity” note to it, along with a subdued but still present hoppiness. I get just a note of hop spice—and then, like that, it’s gone. Poof! Come back!

Flavorwise this is definitely an easy drinker. It’s lightly bodied and smooth with a clean finish. I get some hints of the hop character on the end, but again it’s there and then gone. This beer ain’t half bad—but next one I have will be to finish a round of drinking rather than the one that gets the fresh palate’s attention. And for the price there’s better options.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

definitely not my stlye of beer, but i appreciate this one a lot for what it is. it pours a mostly clear wheat beer color, with an active white head that lasts a few minutes before fading down to froth. it smells very malty, without much hops to speak of. the flavor is distinctly czech as far at the malt profile goes. its dry and biscuity, sturdy for such a light brew. it also has a touch of sweetness and a little more hops than the nose suggests, with a bittering conclusion. mouthfeel i like, it has more body than most beers from this genre, and the carbonation is just right. stays bubbly even as it warms, although this is a beer to drink quickly. refreshing and appropriate in any season. this is a pretty decent can of beer, although i liked the mothership wit that it replaced a lot better.

Photo of Ryan011235
3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an Allagash glass on 9/12/12

28 Oct 12 printed on the bottom of the can.

The beer is clear and a fairly dark golden color, it has a burnt amber sheen in certain light. The head is a mass of sticky bubbles, two and a half fingers tall. As the head recedes, raised trails of lace are left with intermittent smatterings of speckled foam.

The aroma has a hefty dose of grains as well as a doughy, biscuit-like yeast presence. The hops add interesting notes of lemon, prairie grass, pollen and hints of pine. Overall, the hops have a bit of an edge.

The taste finds more focus on citrus with a prominent orange flavor accented by notes of pine and grass. The pine offers a decent kick that becomes noticeable after a few sips. There are stray hints of herbal hops. The malt bill seems a bit clear, dropping the doughiness in favor of modest, but robust grains.

The feel has a fair shake at being medium body; it certainly isn't thin at all. Carbonation seems is too strong out of the gate, but after a while, it calms and matches the feel nicely. The finish is pretty clean with mild hop and grain residuals.

Overall, this is a good pale lager. New Belgium seldom disappoints. I can't wait for them to come to Ohio.

Photo of jimmah120
3.69/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pint can at Old Chicago

Look is golden orange with a two finger pillowy head. Smell is grains and wheat, with a medicinal hop tinge. Taste is much better: rolling wheat and grains, musty yeast with a bitter earthy hop finish. Mouthfeel is crisp and full, well carbonated.

Nice and easy drinking, with some decent light wheat and hop flavor. NB does it again.

Photo of MIBeerRanger4
3.71/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

These beers have just arrived here in MI. I had Shift at a tasting event. Poured from can into glass.... much too cold but it showed well.
A= Very nice color, relatively little head. Looked very enticing in the glass.
S= Light hoppy aromas of citrus.. mango, orange.. quite a nice aroma that gave up nice nutty and citrus notes when worked around in the glass.
T= This beer tasted great! Very easy going brew. Sessionable and well balanced.
M= light/medium carbonation was nice on the mouth.

O= I enjoyed it. a nice addition to the already great beer selection we enjoy here in MI.

Photo of jsanford
3.67/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear gold with a thin white head that fades to a slight haze and soapy ring. Crisp aromas of light, grainy malt, floral hops, and white wine grapes. Love the Nelson Sauvin hops. Taste is similarly crisp, with mild hops, light malt, grass, orange peel, and grapes. Mouthfeel is light and crisp (yes, again), with a medium-thin body and solid carbonation. Overall a lovely session beer, and solid addition to the New Belgium line-up.

Photo of Onenote81
3.45/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz can, canned on 9/2/12, poured into a pint glass. Pours a hazy honey-gold with a frothy head on top. Great sticky lace clings to the glass. Orange zest, lemon, green hops in the nose. The body is crisp, but thins out on the finish. Could use a little more 'snap' to it. NB comes through with big bitter hops as expected. They couldn't just brew a simple refreshing lager, no, this beer is like a MIPA (mild IPA). The bitter character is short-lived though, and there's not a lot else here. It's not the most flavorful beer, other than the oily hops. This was decent, but not what I expected.

Photo of rawfish
3.46/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours darkish gold with a huge pillow white two finger head and oddly of chunky lacing left on the glass but plenty of it. Retention was nice as well.

Grainy and light malt, minimal adjuncts with subtle complexities of hay, canned pineapple and tangerine. Thankful that NB's lager yeast doesn't leave the biscuit quality all of their ales have.

Quite good though very malty. Thick dose of pale malt with some honey, spiced bread and grain husk. Slight edge from orange and pine hops. Slightly bittering with a crude hit of adjunct graincoming out on the finish.

A bit heavy throughout the drink, one can is all I care to have with this body. Carbonation is appropriate. Nicely drying. I liked it better out of the can.

Canned lager, great that craft breweries can get their slice of the pie. Pricewise I'd pass on this, it is a heavier take on a lager with a good balance but not even NB's best. I'd take a Blue Paddle over this any day.

Photo of JackieTH
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes, from the only one of these I've ever poured out of it's pint can into a glass.

Golden colored with a fluffy white head that persisted, leaving nice lacing. Smell was lightly malty/grainy with faint but delicious orange, pineapple notes. Taste followed the nose, cleanly malty/grainy with an array of light tropical elements, oranges, pineapples. Mildly balanced to the bitter side. Light, clean and refreshing in a medium bodied beer with a dry finish.

Session beer I'd drink more if if it was a little less expensive.

Photo of intensify
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clean, clear honey colored body with plenty of carbonation and a head that stuck around for the duration of this review. Nice lacing, but no alcohol legs which wasn't a suprise with the 5% abv.

S- Slight pine, hops and orange peel.

T- Once again, a clean refreshing taste. Identical to the smell, only a slight grainyness that was expected.

M- Medium bodied, dry finish. Nice session beer and available year around. I can drink this without hesitation.

Photo of StoutHunter
4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a four pack of New Belgium's Shift Pale Lager a couple days ago for $6.99 at Meijers. While doing some grocery shopping I saw that the store just got a bunch of New Belgium beers in that just now became available in Michigan, I don't know much about this beer but it seems like it's suppose to be pretty drinkable and that's the kind of beer that I'm in the mood for right now, so lets see how it goes. No visible canning date, but it has to be pretty fresh. Poured from a tall 16oz can into a imperial pint glass.

A- I like the way this can looks, the gears and chains look nice and go win the New Belgium's constant bike theme. It poured a very clear golden yellow color that I would expect from a Pale Lager. It had two and a half fingers worth of creamy white head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and left lots of nice sheets of lacing. This is a good looking Lager, the color and clarity were true to style and the creamy head was nice, no complaints here.

S- The aroma starts of with a nice malty presence, it has a medium amount of sweetness to it and imparts some bready and grainy aromas along with a little bit of earthiness and grass. Up next comes the hops, which are nice and citrusy with lemon zest sticking out the most but I also picked up some slight floral and spicy hop aromas towards the end. I like the aroma of this beer, its hoppy and has more citrus to it then I thought it would, but the hops don't overpower those nice bready malts.

T- The taste seems to be almost exactly the same as the aroma and it starts off with a slight bit of bready malts that have a lower amount of sweetness, they are quickly followed by a good amount of hops that are are mainly citrus with lemon zest still sticking out the most. Up next comes a little more bready and grainy malt flavors. Towards the end comes some spicy and slightly floral hops that impart a nice spice hop flavor on the finish and impart a light amount of medium bitterness with a pretty spicy aftertaste. This beer tasted good, I really liked the balance between the bready malts and the citrus and spicy hops, it was nice.

M- Very smooth, refreshing, crisp, light bodied, with a nice amount of slightly higher medium carbonation. The mouthfeel worked well with this beer and was very true to style.

Overall I liked and was impressed by this beer and I thought it was a very good example of an American Pale Lager and so far the best one I have tried. It had really good drinkability, it was really smooth, crisp, refreshing, and the flavors did a great job at holding my attention, I could see taking out a four pack on a nice warm summer day, this beer is pretty much the definition of drinkable. What I liked most about this beer was how nice the hop aspect to this beer was and how nicely it was balanced by the bread malts, the balance is really impressive and the drinkability was really nice. What I liked least about this beer was nothing, there isn't anything that I would want to change with this beer, it's great just the way it is. I would for sure buy this beer again, in fact I already got two more four packs before the store jacks the price up, I highly recommend this to anyone and this would make a great choice for someone just getting into craft beer. All in All I was flat out impressed by this beer and it could be one of the best lagers I have ever had, New Belgium hit it out of the park with this one, they gave the people what they wanted, a lager that doesn't suck, great job guys this beer just earned a spot in my beer fridge.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.63/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a can of this at the US Pro Cycling challenge before I realized there was another booth with Ranger. Can't comment on the appearance since I drank it straight from the can so I'll just assume and rate it good. Smell is sort of "beery" typical lager smells. Flavor has a nice grassiness followed by malt and lager yeast. This must have been pretty fresh. Honestly though I would never but this beer at a store because its completely overpriced at $9 per four pack. This needs to be in six packs of 12oz cans for like $8. not sure why anyone in Colorado would ever pick this up over OB Mama's Lil Pils...

Photo of jjboesen
3.38/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the can into a Sam Adams lager glass. it opens in a giant fluffy froth that settels into an active amber body alive with a smattering of shiny bubbles. There is a noticable nose of straw and lemon; the palate is teased with mild hoppiness along with a few blades of grass, and concludes hurriedly.

This is a light-bodied sessional to say the least, an excellent "lawnmower" beer worthy of several pours. However, it will not overwhelm and could become tiresome after a few. Still a pleasantly drinkable lager and one worthy after a hard day at work.

Photo of southeastmat
3.33/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A nice almost cloudy orange. A good head on the pour that sticks around and produces some nice lacing.

S: Not a lot going on here for me. Hops on the finish, a bit of sweetness.

T: Great example of what an every day beer should be in the US. It's clean, drinkable and doesn't batter your taste buds with aggressive hoppiness.

M: Clean. Almost light.

O: A terrific go at what beer can be to those folks who may never reach for a barley wine or an imperial stout. It's exactly what it aims to be: a tasty beer after a long day on the job.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pale lager in a can? Sounds a little average for American beer drinkers. Thankfully, though, New Belgium is well above the norm in terms of pleasing the palate.

More than a month or two away from the best by date (“07 OCT 12” is printed on the bottom of the can).

A: Yellow and fizzy, but with a thicker head and a darker body than anything from a Budweiser can. The eggshell head is supported by a barrage of bubbles from the nucleation site, coming down slowly to just a paper-thin layer over the body (typical for most canned beers I’ve seen, for some reason). Tons of filmy lacing.

S: Hop-forward, but not hop-heavy; this is a mild-smelling beer. Citrus juice, lemon peel, and a crisp floweriness characterize the bitters in a unique and pleasing way, while biscuity malts lays a foundation of caramel and breads underneath. Clean, fresh aromas with a full dose of breads: definitely what I like in a lager.

T: Smooth bread crust and cracker tastes are on the forefront, though they are well-mixed with familiar flavors of pale ale caramel malt; this beer tastes like a cross between an APA and a pilsner, malt-wise. Hops aren’t explosive, but they lend a bright, rindy spiciness that livens up the palate with lemon, grapefruit, orange peel, and light pine. Tart and clean bitters. Finishes with moderate-strength malts and lingering rind flavors.

M: This beer is more slick than chewy; not as thick as I’d like, but pretty drinkable, nonetheless. A bit fizzier from the can, which brings out the brighter metallic flavors and makes it not as palatable; drink this one from a glass.

O: Good beer – that’s really all I can say. After the first taste, it becomes more and more underwhelming, but I could see myself session this for a while.

Photo of TheSarge
4.5/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this one into a .5l dimple glass, and Shift makes a good three finger thick off white head, and the body is copper in color with perfect clarity.

The aroma is floral and citrus in character. Lots of lemon zest, with perhaps a hit of grapefruit. Some saltine cracker, and light caramel aromas are perceptible too

Taste wise it's got a lemon tea flavor to it. Some hints of toffee, and perhaps some brown sugar.

Even with all this complexity, this beer is very quaffable and sessionable due to the mile ABV percentage it holds. Also
makes a good sipping beer too, due to its complex qualities.

This is a pale lager that I'd liken to a pale ale. Very fruity and floral altogether. Quite interesting...

Shift Pale Lager from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,323 ratings.