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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 Rhettroactive
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of plaid75
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep straw hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured soft pale malts with a balancing herbal hop.

The taste was very well balances with round bready malts and light herbal and grassy hops.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side of the style.

Overall a tasty quaffable lager.

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Photo of beagle75
3.91/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16 oz. can into a becker glass.

A: Clear, brassy golden color with over one finger of rocky white foam head that collapses to a lofty and persistent pad. Moderate stepwise lacing remains on the glass and diffuse bubbles rise in the column.

S: Hops are revealed most obviously by their herbaceous and citrus notes. A lesser malt presence of crisp cracker is also identifiable.

T: Begins dry, with dynamic hop aromatics that are green and herbaceous; astringent at times. Acidity is very restrained into the middle where mild astringent botanical qualities continue, joined by a touch of complimentary pale malt. Bitterness is mild and herbaceous during the brief and clean finish.

M: Thin viscosity, resinous on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This remarkable beer outshines its modest labeling as a "pale lager" by challenging the palate and forcing the drinker to take notice. The look of it alone demands a recalibration of expectations, pouring a deep and healthy honey golden color, rather than the expected light yellow that is more characteristic of the style. Hop qualities are featured throughout, manifesting their extract-like plant attributes in a way that refuses to apologize or appease the masses. Comparisons to Sam Adams Noble Pils come easily, with this beer's flavor profile being not quite as interesting.

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Photo of mactrail
3.33/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Golden amber in the glass with the classic head. A little more substance to the body than the usual lagers. A touch of resins in the nose.

Pleasant touch of hops with a slight bitter aftertaste, but nothing like the usual hop-centric Pale Ales. Enough malt to give it a toasty taste. Kind of a winey touch. Not much to distinguish it, but comparing with some other craft lagers might be educational. Seems well made and clean in its modest way.

From the tall can. I'm always glad to see more variety in canned beers. If we can't have reusable bottles for commercial brews, maybe we can have less weight and easier recycling. This seems like a good choice for a picnic beer.

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Photo of wedge
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear gold, topped by an airy, yet persistent white head. Grassy, herbal hops are first to the nose...soft, warm, bready grain and some dankness. Crisp spicy hop flavor with mild citrus, clean lager yeast, and dry, almost biscuity malt. There's a nice leafy/oily hop note tying it all together nicely. Medium-light in the mouth - crisp and tidy. They were going for a quality, refreshing, general-purpose lager, and I think they succeeded. I could down a few of these, but the price is a little high from what I've seen.

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Photo of yemenmocha
2.9/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Starts nice with a good appearance - pale golden, honeyed look, with medium sized white head that laces well. Nose was alright too with some floral citrus, which was a bit surprising for a LAGER. Palate though had some soft malt sweetness, but then also this quasi-ureic quality that was off-putting, but also not clearly a flawed or ruined example (it wasn't lightstruck, infected, etc.). The floral citrus just sort of runs into a urea like flavor that isn't so nice. Finishes semi sweet. Seems ale-like in many ways.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.46/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz can, poured into my 20oz New Holland glass, body is golden in color with excellent clarity. Tall white head holds good retention and eventually dissipates into a foam atop the ale, leaving good lacing on the glass. Aromas are overly sweet, with grain, grass, and grape-like scents. Tastes are sharp and clean, with fruity characteristics - maybe apple juice or white grape juice, grain, sweet, with some herbal/grassy/earthy hops to help balance it out. Mouth is thin-to-medium bodied and smooth, finishes just dry enough to warrant another quenching taste of the lager. Overall, good, crafty interpretation of a style I prefer not to drink too often. Good for the try, but probably won't buy it again.

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Photo of beertunes
3.32/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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Photo of Apellonious
3.16/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16 oz can from the 4 pack.

A - golden orange, clear pour. Two finger fluffy head that dissipates slowly. Lace hangs on the side of the glass.

S -bread, malts, some grain.

T - more of the same. Some back end bitterness.

M - standard for a lager. Has some slight stickieness.

O - not overly plussed with the four pack (lagers need six, don't they?), but it is drinkable, and a step above the macros.

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Photo of Beaver13
1.94/5  rDev -47%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

16oz can. Pours clear light gold with a medium frothy white head that goes to a thin film that laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet husky wheaty malts with some vegetal notes and a little stinkiness.

The flavor is earthy, grainy, biscuity malts and some sweetness with some herbal bitterness in the finish. Kind of reminds me of a cream ale. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, better than macro lagers but not my thing. Vegetal notes, too much biscuit malt with earthy notes.

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Photo of emerge077
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can is dated "02 SEP 12" on bottom of can.

"Pale" bright orange with languidly rising carbonation. A sizable head of foam rises and leaves seafoam lace inside the glass. Retention is good, and it takes awhile for the skim to break on the surface.

Subdued aroma, but there is some hoppy grassiness and orange peel present. It's clean with a slight sweetness.

Flavor is crisp with a bit of hoppy bitterness, orange peel, and crackers from the pale malt. Light bodied and not sweet, it has a crisp bitter dryness that is perfect for hot weather. Supple feel, full flavored, and easy drinking. A lager with traces of IPA citrus, dry and crisp, a perfect summer refresher. Pretty hard not to "get" this... Simplicity is underrated these days.

Regretting not picking up more than a single now, but will get more soon.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.23/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

interesting looking lager, tan and clear with wisps of orange and gold, nice head and lace.

Smell and taste to me is almost a lager clone of dig. Very earthy, malty, and with more hops than you'd expect in a lager. Mostly it's just earthy though, almost like dirt. Honestly without putting them side by side, I'd swear this is dig.

It's fairly light and certainly flavorful, but I'd have trouble with this as a summer brew. It's too earthy and a bit heavy for a lager.

I'm giving it a mediocre rating because I doubt I'll buy it again.

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Photo of JupiterJesus
3.21/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tastes like an APA, but with a bit of the stinky lager character.
Richer than most pale lagers, with a good amount of malt character. Too bad half of that malt character is DMS >.<.

Still, the stinky bready, corn-like DMS-y lager character is lower here than in other pale lagers and has a bit more complexity. It's also masked partly by hops.

The aroma is typical nasty lager, but the taste is nicely bitter and has a cool hop character that is unfamiliar but delicious. Good summer brew. I wonder how it would taste with just a bit of dry hop at the end of the lagering period.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright golden color with a quick flourish of white head that settles down prety quickly. NIce, clean aroma of bready malt and piney hops. Crisp, clean taste that's malt-forward and accented with some distinct lager yeast. Finish is a little tart and pleasantly bitter. I'll probably drink more than a few of these this summer.

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Photo of jar2574
4.07/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 16-ounce can.

Ends up with a decent pale white head over golden yellow highly carbonated beer. Smell is mild citrus hops over sweet honey malts, very pleasant.

Taste is a nice easy-drinking blend of slight hop bitterness and smooth honeyed malts with a dry crisp finish. Not too dry though - the creamy head retention supplies a nice counterpoint to the dryness in the finish. Good lacing all the way down.

This is what an easy-drinking summertime beer should taste like. Very good beer for its style, or any style for that matter.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

clear golden yellow with 1/8" of white head, excellent acing. smells of honey, lemongrass, bread. tastes slightly bitter from hops with a bready backbone.. tastes more like an american pale ale than a lager, which is a GREAT thing in my book. a very refreshing beer, light bodied, thirst quenching with a dry finish. this is an excellent session beer. unfortunately for me i only received one can through a trade, but if i had this available, i think this would be a go to for session drinking. it's light tasting with a moderate abv, refreshing for a hot summer day (or when you wake up in the middle of the night, such as now, with a dry mouth). it's just overall a nice session beer.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 16oz can into a pint glass.

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of stangski83
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to admit, I am happy to see craft beer in cans in major retailers finally. Picked up a 4pk of tall boys to give this one a try. Not bad, good hop notes for a pale lager - much more than any of the big macro boys, but something isn't quite right with this one. Very frothy head, and very thin, light pour, but the balance is slightly off. Certainly not a bad pale by any means - but I can't quite put my finger on why I'm not in love with this beer. It's certainly not bad - and a better supermarket choice than most - but I'm not sure I can justify $10 for a 4pk when there are tall boys of Half Acre and Finch's waiting for my consumption in the Chicago area, and both of those don't leave me with a critical, pondering feeling like this one does.

I feel bad bashing this, as I really want to like it, but...it's just so-so. Cool packaging/can design for sure, and nice to see cans of craft I can take tailgating for baseball season. In other news, it sure beats the cheesy marketing of other canned beer lately, such as the Miller "Punch Top" can!

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Photo of secondtooth
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This nicely clean amber lager pours with a massive head, and splendid, intricate, and finely-detailed lace.

Nose is malty but with an obvious hoppy citrus touch. Very nice.

Taste is light on the palate up front, but full of hopped-up citrus notes upon finish. Drinks much like a pale ale, and a solid one at that. I would buy this regularly if the price wasn't so prohibitive ($9 for 4 pint cans).

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Photo of Chaney
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is currently ranked #14 in the American Pale Lager category. With a score of only 83%, this is certainly not a popular style.

Served in a Stone Brewing Co. pint glass.

A: Poured a clear, sunflower yellow color with a sticky white head that stuck around for a while.

S: I got some sweet barley and corn upfront along with a substantial amount of fruity goodness considering the style.

T: It totally drank as an IPA once it hit my palate, but once the flavors were fully release, the yeast (as opposed to grapefruit-like citrus) took center stage. Delicious!

M: I like the spritzy carbonation which made this all the more drinkable. There was lots of lacing left on the glass, but the palate came out clean overall, with just a nice bitter kick at the end.

O: I think deserves a higher rating for sure and will keep this one in mind come pool season.

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Photo of blakelive784
2.64/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

16 fl oz can served in a generic pint glass, reviewed from notes:

A - Presents a pale transparent golden color with a thin rocky head of one finger. Retention is average at best. Standard and generic.

S - Clean mild barley and light malt character with fresh grassy hops. Simple, clean, mild and pretty inviting.

T - The hopping is much more aggressive than I though it would be based on the aroma. The clean mild barley body doesn't stand a chance. The hops are certainly fresh, but they're imbalanced and simple.

M - Thin, light bodied and over carbonated.

D - Light and easy drinking. I applaud the attempt at the style though I think it's poorly executed, simple and imbalanced.

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Photo of steveh
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally found this on shelves locally and based on a recent, lively discussion about US and German lagers, thought I'd give it a try. $9 for a 4 pack of 16 oz. cans.

A -- Pours a clear, deep gold (deeper in color than any other American Pale Lager I've ever seen) with a dense, white head that holds up well.

S -- Lightly citrus and mildly piny nose. More Pale Ale in character than Pale Lager. I'll give it points for being appetizing, but knock some off for style.

T -- Somewhat resiny, mildly bitter hops, not as overpowering as this hop mix could be. Light graininess fighting valiantly against the hop character. Dry, resiny bitter finish and aftertaste. Not really lager-like, so I'm scoring as I did aroma.

M -- Mouthfeel is crisp and dry with a light-medium body.

O -- Not what I'd expect in picking up a beer labeled "Pale Lager," but it doesn't turn me off either. If I didn't have some true Pale Lager waiting in the wings, I might have been disappointed, but the refreshing flavor and body of this new beer makes for a good first drink of the afternoon.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear golden copper, with a couple fingers of white head that has a bit of an off look to it. This retains with a thin creaminess that drenches the sides of the glass with a ton of sticky lacing. Nice look. The aroma smells fresh, grassy, and dank, with a smack of tart lemon in the nose and then some more green bitter notes. A tight grainy sweetness and a touch of eggy smelling protein sit along the back.

The taste is leafy and herbal in the mouth, with a crisp citric bitterness and that same smack of lemon that I picked up in the aroma. This melds into that tight sweet graininess of the Pils malts, which do a nice job of propping those hops up. The finish is dry and pithy with some lingering dankness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and sharp on the tongue which works itself into more of a smooth creaminess as this moves out in the mouth. An oily slickness from the hops really keeps this easy feeling.

This was a borderline IPL at times with those American hops really adding a lot of character to this. Maybe a bit too much though, as this got REALLY herbal feeling as things warmed up. I recommend having at this one while it’s still fairly cold, as it’s got quite a flavorful and crisp hop bite before things start loosening up. It’s nice to see New Belgium going with the tall boys now.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.55/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

500 ml can served into N'Ice Chouffe stemware in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I've historically been underwhelmed by this brewery but I tried La Folie last night and it blew me away.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 2.5 finger head of nice fluffy cream, decent thickness, beige colour, and standard retention for the mere 5% ABV. Colour is a transparent yellow. Standard fare for the style, but generally appealing.

Sm: Full pleasant barley and some fresh floral hops. An average quality moderate strength aroma. I'm looking forward to trying it.

T: Barley with fresh floral hops. Simple and somewhat bland, but fairly enjoyable. Not subtle or layered. Pretty boring. There's very little to say about it.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some cream. Far too wet and thin. Weak. Doesn't quite support the flavour profile, minimal as it is.

Dr: A boring bland beer from New Belgium that I won't be getting again. Might make a decent beer pong beer; it's pretty drinkable if overcarbonated. Priced alright.

Low C-

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by 9/9/12.

Pours a clear orange with a 2 inch foamy orange-white head that settles to a thin cap on top of the beer. Foamy patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of metal, grain, and some herbal hop aromas. Taste is of tangy malt and some herbal hop flavors. There is a mild bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good lager but I was expecting a crisper level of carbonation.

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