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Shift Pale Lager | New Belgium Brewing

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243 Reviews
Shift Pale LagerShift Pale Lager

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States

Style: American Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 03-14-2012

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Reviews: 243 | Ratings: 1,372
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 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 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 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 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 DavoleBomb
3.21/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

4.0 A: Clear light orange color. Two fingers of frothy white head. Retention is about average and a good amount of lacing is left.

3.0 S: Grainy malts. Some neutral sweetness, but overall quite dry. Grassy hops. A bit of dirty diaper, but not in a bad way, but rather from earthy hops. Still, not impressive here.

3.0 T: Taste is much like the nose. Grainy malts, grassy hops, mild earthiness. Lightly sweet. It has a decent amount of grassy and earthy flavors, but not a lot of malt overall. It's a decent brew, but that's all it is.

3.5 M : Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Crisp and clean without a lot of creaminess.

3.5 D: Decent, easy drinking brew, but there are better ones out there.

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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 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 TheSixthRing
3.22/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Poured aggressively from the can produced a big, frothy 3 finger white head. Retention was average. Color was a crystal clear and purely golden. Resulting lace is sparse, but gathers in cloudy chunks around the edges.

Smell - Hate to say it, but the predominant smell I get is light mildew. Hints of grass and lemon. One of the more unpleasant smelling beers I've put my nose to. Thankfully the aroma is subtle all in all.

Taste - Thankfully it does not taste in the way it smells. Lightly flavored, with notes of grass and lemon hops. Sitting beneath this you'll find a notes of New Belgium's classic malt profile; toasted biscuit with a touch of nuttiness. Finishes with the malt flavor coming on strong, but hops take the checkered flag.

Mouthfeel - Light in body, almost watery, but packs some serious bite. Tingles the lips like crazy.

Overall - Not a bad pale ale, but the smell is off-putting. I probably won't buy this again, but I'm glad I tried it.

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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 Stevedore
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Clear medium golden-yellow body, thin white head with minimal lacing. Smells of caramel, grainy malt, grassiness, a bit of bread. Flavour is similarly bready with a mild grassiness and caramel. Not particularly bitter, fairly sweet. Mouthfeel is thinner bodied, very drinkable and crisp, but for the most part nothing to write home about. Overall, a decent session lager, but not a whole lot else to it than that.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Sampled this past Saturday on 10/4/14 with a good buddy of mine. Can chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a handled glass "CHEER'S-BOSTON" stein.

Pours a clear bright yellow in color with a good 2-finger foamy white head that settles down to a good 3mm or so after a bit. A good amount of lacing is seen when sipped, almost rings. The aroma is nothing real special, just of some grains with a light hint of sulfur. Bit more going on with the taste as there is a slight hint of fruit and citrus zest in the mix as well. Does have a tad of a hoppy finish. Lighter bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Not a big fan of this style of brew overall.

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Photo of Germanstylefan7896
3.27/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Nice beer, sure beats the doors off Coors light. A good beer to try to get new people to give up Bud/Coors Light. Very well done lager, color just a touch darker than you would expect. Just fine out of can, not quite as light as it could be and thats a good thing. One of New Belgium's better ones at the moment.

 313 characters

Photo of Libeertarian
3.27/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | 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.

 534 characters

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.


 353 characters

Photo of Omnium
3.31/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can > Mason Pint

A - Nice clear gold with one finger of soapy white head, very small dotty lacing.
S - Grainy, a little dark dirty earthy hops.
T - Biscuit dough malt, a little citrus, grain.
M - Medium, ok.
O - Bleh, one note kinda beer. Just is grainy and malty

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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 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 southeastmat
3.33/5  rDev -9%
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.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.33/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice bright yellow with lots of haze, white head, 3/5" over the top, lacing and retention are top notch, good looking beer. Aroma was a weird lager yeast dominance. For the hops that came through on the tongue, they didn't on the nose.

Taste was good, highly carbonated, well hopped lager. Certainly not a light beer or bland lager that is for sure. Bitterness is above that of bmc. Not my thing, but decently well done and above average for style. A dry hopped version would be nice.

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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 BucannonXC5
3.33/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16-oz. can into a pint glass at my house on Nov. 4, 2012 (purchased at Vons in Mission Gorge (San Diego, Calif.) for $7.99 (with card) for a 4-pack on Nov. 4, 2012). Honey golden with 2-3 fingers of frothy white head. Good retention on the sides with foamy residue and pretty good on the top as well.

Smelled honey, corn, grains, cereal, skunk, grass and a hint of citrus hops.

Tasted pretty close to the nose, but more bitter. Got corn, grains, grass, honey, cereal and biscuit.

Medium-to-light body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Bitter abrupt finish.

Not a bad beer overall, especially for a lager, but I was hoping for something more.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Served in Coors Banquet Tumbler pint.

Look : Transparent blonde golden juice with a giant diseased webby looking head with tons of moss and spackle. The head alone is pretty freaking sweet. 3 fingers tall. I don't like the body but the head is impressive.

Smell : Very faint. But pale malts abound. Slight fruitiness. Cracker. Vinous. It's nice, not complex, but nice.

Taste : A bit starchy to start, with some waxy stickiness coinciding with a rotten biscuit and some strong dry dead pine notes. Some slight flavors like licking a wooden wheel. Not much good about this one.

Feel : As said, starchy, waxy, saved only by an abundant effervescent carbonation that prickles and stings the tongue.

Overall : Probably never again. I'm just not a fan of this one, there's so many better pale lagers out there for the taking. Best part was the head and that's not much to say.

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Photo of jjboesen
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.41/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kind of a bright yellow pour, with pretty close to virgin white head on it (i dunno, maybe its one of those oral don't count things that you used to have to go to Utah to hear). Pretty good retention and lacing. Aroma is almost of nothing but soap. Weird.

Mild cereal and like honeysuckle flavor, with a sizeable bitterness. Herbal, grassy and flowery. Light enough body considering the ample flavor quotient. A decent option to take disc golfing with for sure. A little heavy for a palate cleanser though, but relatively speaking, it might do the trick if you've got nothing but huge beers and this around.

Ultimately, I'm not a huge fan of the beer, but it is a lot better than many lagers around. It was an easy second purchase when I went into Total Wine and saw a palate of 4 packs going for only $2.99. No brainer there.

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Shift Pale Lager from New Belgium Brewing
3.66 out of 5 based on 1,372 ratings.
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