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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 intensify
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of longbongsilver
4.04/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saw this at the store recently. I wondered when they first announced it what their purpose was in doing a pale lager -- which is is probably the beer style that comes with the least expectations as far as taste. According to my Try Anything Once rule, grab it. What the hell, I like their other stuff.

First of all, it's not only a pale lager, but a canned pale lager. I poured some just to be able to see it, but all else I describe comes straight from the can. The pour for appearance evaluation purposes revealed the typical yellow, but a big creamy head more akin to a kolsch. Scent is vastly more citrusy than typical for this style, meanwhile the malt character firmly plays background. The balance of this is IPA style, though the hops themselves are obviously not that strength.

Taste is melon-like, plus a slight cracker backing. The citrus really comes through, almost as if to smack you upside the head with "I am not a typical pale lager!!" flavor. That said, the finish is lawnmower brew clean.

It's a damn good beer. I'd even say it's the best pale lager I've ever had, though that's probably because it tastes like anything but. If taking a pedestrian style and showing what it can achieve with the proper effort was their aim, then they succeeded, and I only have one suggestion: a high gravity variant called Overdrive.

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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 dannydetox
4.02/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

shift is, as i reckon it was intended to be, a session beer when you want something simple, yet interesting that you can consume multiple rounds without feeling too full or too buzzed. pours a golden yellow lager color, but leaves rings of suds on the side of the glass unlike the typical american macros. the aromas are my favorite part: chardonnay-like tropical fruit from the nelson(?) hops with notes of lemon peel. maybe a bit of crystal malt in the back. i get more mango as the beer slides over the palate. the drawback? a very thin mouthfeel gives this beer a watery feeling. still, i like it and would definitely bring this one along to a cans only venue or a hiking trip. added bonus - the blue and silver can looks mighty close to a red bull can. this might make for a good street sipper or road beer.

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

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

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

Appearance: Very yellow golden, not much head but some decent carbonation.

Smell: Straw with some citrus hops.

Taste: Some decent hops with some straw. Pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Some decent carbonation that plays with the intentionally thin style.

Overall. I'm quite conflicted about this. If their goal was the ideal tailgating beer, they hit this out of the park! I can really see myself taking this camping, grilling, tailgating, "bike rides" anytime I need a solid beer that is going to taste good for several cans, and might be ok if it warms up a bit. On the other hand, the beer didn't really impress on the whole scale of things. I wish they could have shoved a bit more ABV into it or made it a bit more flavorful.

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Photo of gregb13
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Light cereal grain sweetness, citrus hop, white wine. Minor knock for slightly under-carbonated lending to slightly flat quality. About what I'd expected, but a bit less pleasant than I'd hoped for.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of alk3kenny
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a slightly dark golden color awesome some grassy notes cereal some hops... Initial tasting slight bitterness not much sweetness can taste some hops and grain carbonation bubbles on the tongue very easily drinkable could put back the whole 4 pk of pints on a hot day off for sure. mouthfeel is light crispy pleasant.

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Photo of Megahertz
4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz Can

A: Deep gold, crystal clear, massive white head falls into a thin film. Significant lacing suggesting malt content. Looks like a real beer.

S: Faint graininess with very subltle hint of german-type hops. Smells like a real beer.

T: This is a real beer. Restrained malt sweetness with extremely subtle toasted bread note, very light honey-like sweetness, no flaws noted. Seems very 'lively'. Bitterness is assertive for the style, but within reasonable limits. No major hop flavor. Finish is extremely dry.

M: Crisp, light bodied.

OI: Excellent example of the style, one of the best I've had. If macros could make this, the world would be a better place.

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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 irrgalaxy
3.94/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New 16 oz. can from the New Belgium line.

Light gold color and good head. Smell is crisp, clean with hints of ocean. Surprising amount of hops for a lager, but well-balanced. Medium palate.

Excited for future outdoor events of all kinds, but mostly praying this appears at the ballpark at some point. For backpacking, I'll still go with Dale's Pale Ale for a smaller size, but can't wait to bring a four-pack of these to my next car-camping trip.

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Photo of DrMullet
3.52/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden with a fair amount of head and lace.
Citrus and malt with some floral overtones.
A bit hopper than I would like from a lager
More of an IPA lite.

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Photo of MostlyNorwegian
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Not a big smell on the sniffer here. But pleasant with citrus, perhaps slight pine, faint pear into lemon kinda thing happening.
Big attractive head off a vigorous pour. Atmospheric lacing rings populate the glass, with a murky faint swamp like head which drops off the deeper you get in. Shift is a very sexy beer.
Grassy straw notes. and a bit spicey with resined lingering bitterness for the mouth. Very solid beer and burger beer and a nice drinker.

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

12 oz can poured into a pint glass

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a pint nonic glass. A golden color with a slight haze. Very large head if not poured properly. Has an unexpected, but welcomed, subtle hop flavor. The taste is good and should be a great alternative to mass-produced pilsners and lagers.

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

Setting: My home, cool Spring night.

Serving type: Chilled can, poured into a glass.

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

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

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

Poured from a 16oz can into a tulip glass.

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

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Photo of Nickholland
3.72/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Strikes me more as a Fat Tire "light" than a pale lager. (Has that same biscuity malt backbone.) That being said this is a great session beer. Better than their more recent attempt (Slow Ride) in my opinion. I could see this working for many occasions.

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

A - Has a two finger white head that stays for a while. The lacing sticks to the glass very well. Beer is a very clear golden color.

S - Smells like bready malts that are overpowered by a citrusy hop smell.

T - Surprisingly large amount of citrusy hop flavor is in balance with clean bready malts. There is more flavor here than I expected.

M - Moderate amount of carbonation. Not much to say here. Not bad, but nothing spectacular.

O - Very easy to drink, but it has more flavor than I expected it to have. A very refreshing beer, and a pleasant surprise.

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

I don't have much to say about this one.. Mostly that the taste is a bit metallic ...or something. I don't know, but I'm not all that impressed by this New Belgium. That's not to say its a bad beer or that I would turn one down, but it wouldn't be my first choice for a pale ale.

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

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

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

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

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

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

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

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