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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 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 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

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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 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 lwillitz
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16-oz can into New Belgium globe

A - 2 fingers of white foam atop a crystal-clear golden body, moderate carbonation bubbles, nice lacing

S - grass, pine, fruit (apples, pears, peaches?), light grain, pepper/spice

T - pine, pepper, apple, biscuity malt backbone, dry finish; bitterness is pleasantly complex

M - medium body, medium/high carbonation, refreshing

O - complex, bitter, and refreshing

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Photo of BierStein711
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Can poured into shaker

Three finger off white head

Amber body

Taste: piney, grassy, and bitter finish

Smell: lager yeast, grains

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. When I see and hear the words "Pale Lager" [sic], I generally avoid. Have this beer, and celebrate a new, and better form of this beer style.

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Photo of MouthfulOfchris
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice golden color with with a creamy thick head that hangs around and leaves good lacing on the glass.

S: A nice combination of grain and a light grassy/pine aroma.

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: A pleasantly medium body mouth feel with moderate carbonation tingle on the tongue.

O: Nothing really stands out about this beer but that is not a bad thing. It is a really solid session beer when sitting out on a hot summer day. *edit* moved the taste and overall ratings up. The more I drink this, the more I appreciate the subtle balanced flavors.

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Photo of dhannes
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from chilled can into standard pint glass.

A=Rich orangish gold, much darker than anticipated.

S=Sweetness with some malt.

T=Very sweet, with hop background, an fruitiness...much like Magic Hat No. 9.

M=Good, but not really drinkable as a session beer.

O=I wan anticipating something more like a Sam Adams' lager, and was hit with a citrus fruit bomb. No way would I consider this a session beer to drink after work. Very sweet and fruity...I was diaappointed.

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Photo of lnashsig
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

#BOTG 58!

I don't know how I have never had this one, but I haven't. So, here we go! I have been jonesing for sessionable beers this summer, with the wicked heat so far.

Poured from can into Karbach pint glass. Pours a nice golden pale color, nice head on the top of the beer. Looks like a lager. Smell- grassy hops, bread. Not much more there to describe, but the hoppiness of this is apparent. Taste- Nice grassy assertive hops, not much backbone behind it. Lacking a bit in balance. Really tight carbonation, borderline stingy. This is a nice, refreshing lager, full of hops flavor, and I could easily pound this beer. I'll be coming back to this one for sure again this summer.

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Photo of WankelEngine
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16oz can into a glass

A: Pours a light orange color. There is an almost two finger head of white foam which disappears quickly on my first pour but has much better retention when I finish the can. A small amount of spotty, layered lacing.

S: Light noble hops and mild lemon zest. A good grain background. As the beer warms I can detect some lager yeast.

T: Grains and light bready malt are the first things I pick up. Mild grassy hops and herbal spice impart a decent bitterness. Aftertaste is somewhat floral. I want to say there is some tropical fruit/melon to the flavor, but it is incredibly mild.

M: Thin and a little watery. Carbonation is mild but what is there is effervescent.

O: A very easy drinking beer. A good alternative to macros when you want to have a few and not not get too full or drunk.

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

Poured into a Pint Glass

Appearance - Clear Golden/Yellow color with some great foamy head retention and some good lacing.

Smell - Yeasts, Barley, Floral Hops and a slight malty scent.

Taste - Floral Hops, Yeasts, and Barley. Much like the smell, there is a slight malty characteristic in the back. Very simple and rich taste.

Mouthfeel - Very Light and crisp feeling. It does feel a little watery but it's easy to overlook. All things aside, this is very easy to drink

Overall - Perfect beer to knock back either after a hard day at work or while relaxing. I had this while having a picnic on the beach a couple weeks ago and found it to be absolutely perfect for such an occasion.

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Photo of phishsihq
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

New Belgium Brewing Company's latest release, Shift Pale Lager, shows off their bottom-fermenting skills and new canning line. Available only in 16 ounce "Tall Boy" cans, we decided to pour ours into a New Belgium Globe Glass to get a better look at it. Shift pours a deep brass color with a one-inch thick white head that dissipates slowly, leaving a solid lace around the glass. Aromas of biscuity malt, faint citrus (orange) notes, and a slight spiciness are all discernible. Shift starts out with sweet malt flavors blending into some crisp herbal and spicy floral flavors. Medium bodied, this pale lager is lighter in carbonation, all the while maintaining a smooth and crisp sessionable quality. Crafts Can Can!


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Photo of nimrod979
3.15/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz tall boy poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Perfectly clear straw yellow. Two finger white head fades to a small film. Hint of lacing where the head sat but nothing sticks as you drink it.

Aroma is hay and grassy hops. Biscuity and Pilsener type malts.

Taste - You get that same pilsener and biscuit malt flavor. Has that "signature" New Belgium malt profile I detect in many of their beers. Mild grassy hops.

Clean and very drinkable. Moderate carbonation. Finishes quick with mild hop bitterness. A little on the lighter side of medium bodied.

All in all, it's not all that bad. Very sessionable. And for it's style, it's something I'd reach for on a hot day if it were lying around.

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Photo of dcscientist
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Had this one in a can. Good flavor, and a slightly different version of the usual pale. Not super-hoppy as some of their newer offerings tend to be, and I could taste a bit of the fruity flavor that is advertised. It's a little atypical for this brewery, and I'm glad they took a chance to make this style.

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

Clear golden color with bright orange hue. Medium-retention, frothy, off-white head. Fair lacing. Sweet malt aroma nearly overpowered by mild citrusy, rindy, almost spicy hop aroma. Taste is easier to be precise with. It's fairly bland up front and throughout, just barely lemony-tart as it lingers and has the chance to move around, with rind and crackers/pasta in the back and finnish. Thin, light to medium bodied with medium, prickly carbonation, a nice crisp feel, and a dry finish. Could be smoother. Overall, very pilsner-like.

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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 jjamadorphd
3.99/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I came across a 12-pack variety of New Belgium and decided to try the pale lager. I haven't been entirely impressed with these types of beers from other brewers but from New Belgium it was very good. The pale lager has a dark tinge with a beautiful white and puffy head along with really good lacing - the best I've seen in quite some time. I was also impressed with the wheaty scent along with the distinctive IPA smell (and the other plus for me was there was none of the over bitterness that comes with an IPA). Overall, it was a great beer and I'm glad I've got a few more to go through.

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Photo of iSip
3.03/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

New Belgium Shift Pale Lager: The New Belgium Brewery has a great product set. Their Belgian style Tripel & Dubble are very good and a bargain compared to an expensive imported bomber of the same. So why go head to head with the Buds and PBR’s of the world? The Shift has a darker golden color and a nice billowy head. The aroma of malt and hops is pleasing and indicative of a handmade product vs. the more industrial notes you get from more mass produced products. Good flavor with some bitterness up front, then thinning out into a clean aftertaste. More body than the standard American Adjunct Lager, but still light enough to be easy drinking. So yes, the Shift is a better brew than any of the mass produced lagers from the big brewers. I expected as much from New Belgium, and they delivered. But $9 for four tall boys? The Shift is not that much better than a PBR or a Bud. New Belgium made it big with Fat Tire, which is worth the premium over a Bud if you are in the mood for a good ale vs. a light lager. But if you want a light lager will you pay a premium for a Shift? Not in my book.

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Photo of CIBoy10
4.19/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - Pours a nice golden lager color. Head is persistent and lacing is very nice.
Smell - Bready lager-type smell with a nice hoppiness. I found it very appealing.
Taste - Piney, floral, hoppiness up front with a beautiful, bready lager finish
Feel - Extremely refreshing with a minimal aftertaste. It feels like a high quality lager with more taste than any AAL would ever ever have.
Overall - To each his own, but I find easy to drink beer with great taste very appealing.

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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 Siriusfisherman
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of donmonkey1
3.79/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Really nice golden color with a nice white frothy head and great lacing. The carbonation was excellent and inviting.

Smell: 80 wt gear oil with the smallest touch of floral hop.

Taste: Oily with a really nice, moderate, floral hop taste.

I like this beer a lot, and I love the hops, but I sure feel like I'm drinking a beer with a couple drops of car oil in the glass.

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Photo of isualum12
3.29/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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


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

Crystal clear golden amber color with 1.5 fingers of fluffy white head that recede to a thin cap.

Soft, floral hop aroma, honeysuckle, orange blossoms, oranges. Very clean pilsner malt profile with a dry lager yeast smell.

Decently bitter, especially for a lager. The hops are not as present on the palate which is a shame as I really liked the aroma (I am a suck for Nelson Sauvin hops).

Really light mouthfeel, very drinkable.

Overall this is a great beer, good to see New Belgium honing in a lager, I will definitely get this one again.

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Photo of hopphead31415
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I have tried most of the more robust beers by New Belgium and I absolutely love them, but wanted some variety so I picked up this pale lager called Shift which has 5.0% ABV.

Look-Pours an almost perfectly clear and yellow golden color that are half a hue darker than the Nooner Pilsner by Sierra Nevada (see my reviews for a description of that one). It pours a thick white soapy head that settles down into a thin layer maybe half a finger thick.

Smell-The smell is very aromatic with lots of toasted bread and cracker malts, a tinge of spiciness from maybe black pepper and coriander, finishing with a floral citrus aroma. I was surprised at how much of the aromatics I got from this pale lager!

Taste-It has a nice flavor, but is not as strong as I would like, but then again I am a “hop head”. I do detect honey and bread based malts with clover, coriander, black pepper, and a muted citrus and floral component. The entire experience is a bit attenuated and passive, but if you are paying attention (and you should), then you’ll get these flavors clear as day.

Mouthfeel-The feel is crisp and mildly effervescent with a moist dry finish. The beer is medium-bodied and clean. The carbonation lingers on the tongue for a long time after your sip which is interesting, because the carbonation bubbles were scarce.

Overall-It is quite a nice experience if you consider everything at once. It is a malt-forward, crisp and refreshing session brew. Leave it to geniuses like New Belgium to take a categorically “wimpy” beer and make it this drinkable. They have renewed my hope in non-IPAs like this pale lager. Great job, New Belgium brewers!

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