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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 thepliceisright
3.42/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Drank this straight from the can.

Have no clue what it looks like, although when I popped the top a white head foam poured over on the top of the can.

Smells great, very fruity and slightly biscuit-y. Heavy pear, grapefruit smell.

I was actually surprised by the taste of this. Definitely a pale ale, but sweeter than I would have imagined. Definitely fruity, a nice forward hop taste, sometimes bitter and a definite dry finish.

Mouthfeel is dry. Thats all I can say about that.

Overall, this is a great beer to drink on a hot summer day; especially if you are looking for a session beer. The 5% ABV will catch up to you sooner than later though, with this beer.

 671 characters

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 BDIMike
4.01/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark golden color with a slight amount of carbonation. A nice fluffy white head sits on the top of the beer throughout the drink.
Smell doesn't have a ton going on. A bit of nice wheat with a nice under-toned hop too.
Taste has an awesome balance of hoppy goodness, but a good balance and drinkability as well.
Mouthfeel is very nice. A good thickness and a really nice amount of beer that does down nice and easy.
Drinkability is awesome. This beer was designed as the perfect beer to end a shift at work. Could not be more successful. Coming home to one of these beers every day would be perfect. A great beer to drink every day.

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Photo of homohabilis
2.11/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

First off, what the fuck is a pale lager? Sounds like some suspect bullshit to me. Like they didn't want to commit to either pale ale OR lager. I guess the focus groups must have eaten it right up though.
Regardless, this stuff tastes like fat tire mixed with water. Same dirty, decaying hop taste without all the malt backbone.
I drank all four of these bastards today just to get them out of my house and I just got angrier with each one that went down the hatch.
Shoulda saved myself three dollars and got PBR instead. Woulda got two more to boot!

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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 bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce can, best before October 7, 2012. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a clear golden/amber color with an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing is both good. Aroma is grainy malt, and grassy and citrusy (orange peel, grapefruit) hops. Taste is pretty much just like the aroma, but the bitter hops stand out a little bit more in comparison to the aroma. The flavors also seem a bit stronger than the aroma would lead you to think. Mouthfeel/body is light, it's a bit slick and very easy to drink. Good carbonation. I think this is a good summer brew (and good brew overall). I keep hoping New Belgium will distribute to Ohio in the near future....

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

I never thought I'd live to see the day when one of the bigger breweries in America named a widely available beer after one of the better grindcore albums made. Wait, what, Nasum didn't have a say in this? Oh well, never mind. Best by 16th Sept 2012.

A crystal clear golden amber with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and nice lacing, this looks pretty good! The nose is decent. Modestly hoppy with citrus (Cascades are most noticeable) a touch of grape (Nelson Sauvin) and lightly bittered, this smells quite nice. The malt character is light, with a toasty, mildly sugared cracker aroma.

The palate opens mildly bitter with the chalky, powdery Cascade hop flavor and bitterness being most dominant flavor. This is followed by a mild honeyed, toasty, bruleed-sugar malt character. The mid-palate, though, completely vanishes - watery and empty, there's a shocking lack of flavor here. A modest mineral character is present, which complements the hop profile. Drying on the finish with a blend of toast, light bitterness and mild citrus flavors. Light in body with a medium-high carbonation that works, and despite the watery mid-palate, the hops provide just enough resin character to tie the palate together. Solid, definitely worthy.

 1,255 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.67/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Where The CANQuest (TM) is CANcerned, you CAN forget Quinn the Eskimo. It's tone77 who makes this boy jump for joy! He is my local CANTrader and this was part of a recent drop-off on his part. Let the madness reCANmence!

From the Royal Blue & Silver CAN: "When your work is done [...] You'll want one[.]"; "Alternatively empowered/Employee owned".

The Crack & Glug was music to mine ears! The two fingers of thick tawny head began to fall pretty quickly, leaving some pretty, sticky lacing in its wake. Color was a deep golden-yellow with NE-quality clarity and both King Midas and Croesus called to express their jealousy. Sorry, fellas, but you gotta score your own CAN, dig? I recently listened to Greg Koch rail against fizzy yellow beers (again) and all I CAN say is, more for me! The nose made me weep for what Prohibition has wrought. One adverse aspect of The CANQuest (TM) has been the plethora of AALs from a CAN and I have more than had my fill of them, although there is no end in sight. This smelled not just of the expected malt sweetness, but there were also hops readily evident on the nose! Be still, my heart. Mouthfeel was full, almost creamy, with a wonderful intermingling of biscuit malt initially, followed by a brief rush of minty hops on the tongue. Finish was quite dry with the biscuit malt and hops combination acting nicely in tandem. Great Caesar's Ghost, but this is definitely cooler-worthy and just in time for summer! Get some!

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a golden orange color with a white head. The aroma is a mix of resin and orange citrus from the hops, as well as some biscuit. The flavor also has a good amount of bitterness. I get some lightly toasted malt, as well as some pine, resin and orange citrus. There is also some biscuit malt. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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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 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.

 543 characters

Photo of PicoPapa
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz Tall Boy with a Best By Date of 23 SEP 12 on the bottom of the can. Lots of lacing. Pours a translucent amber color with over an inch of frothy head. Aromas of tropical and citrus fruits with some dank hop aroma as well. Taste is more of the tropical fruits. Some nice bitterness towards the end. Very flavorful. Nice mouthfeel with lots of carbonation. Had to wait for the head to fade to drink it but it wasnt too long. Overall a well made Pale Lager with alot of flavor thats worth having again.

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Photo of soju6
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clean pale golden color with a good head that fades to nice lacing.

S: Aroma of fresh grain and mild citrus with some malt sweetness and herbs.

T: Starts with a nice bitterness and mild malt sweetness. Continues with a pleasant bitterness and a clean finish.

F: Fairly light body and smooth.

O: Easy drinker, quite enjoyable. Can put away a few of these with no problem

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving type: 16-ounce can. The freshness date printed on the bottom of the can is “07 OCT 12.”

Appearance: Poured into a pilsner glass. The color is straw leaning to gold. Two fingers of dense-ish, off-white head dissipated to leave trails of foam along the glass, a rocky lacing, and a buttery ring around the edge.

Smell: Very reminiscent of a lighter pale ale; grapefruit/orange/lemon hop citrus offers an invigorating kick to what I expected to be a straightforward lager. As the beer warms, the citrus fades (a little) and light grains try to shoulder in. Caramel makes it itself known but otherwise all I smell is the citrus.

Taste: Though on the light side, the mouthfeel is smooth and a little creamy; it goes down easy — a big plus, as always. The hop citrus is evident: grapefruit and a little lemon, orange, and perhaps tangerine. It has a substantial hop bite for a lager, which I really like; it truly is a “shift” in a different direction. Beside the bitterness and citrus, the malts offer a light caramel and light toasted flavor. Otherwise, the malts give the beer a nice body.

Drinkability: This is lager for hopheads. I am impressed. At first I was miffed about the price but now think it is partly justified.

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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.

 684 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce can - $2.29 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia. There is what appears to be an expiration date of 16 SEP 12 on the bottom of the can.

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear, deep yellow body with a lofty, foaming, whitish head. Copious amounts of coating lacing on the way down.

Smell: An aromatic base of pale malts with a small hint of toast and grainy-scented barley, then fragrant notes of spice and white grapefruit and, just lightly, some resins.

Taste: Pale maltiness, a bit of grain, a bit of lightly toasted bread. Citrusy, floral hops with a scant hint of savory spiciness and resin drip. Reasonably bitter. Just a bit more of the sweet maltiness (just a bit), then, the spicy, citrusy finish with a low hint of lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: A fairly fine, tasty lager.

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Photo of Bung
3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz. Pretty much a clear gold pour, not quite a finger of white head.

Aroma, bready biscuit, lemon citrus. Some herbal hops.

Taste, more grainy like malt with a nice dose of herbal bitterness. Some citrus. Just a little dinner roll breadiness.

Light bodied, very easy drinking. High side of carbonation, very very clean. Good, what it's supposed to be.

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Photo of Arborescence
4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear, golden, pours a nice and creamy ~1 finger head, which is even surprisingly persistent for a lager. Looks fairly carbonated.

Aroma: Fresh and hoppy, with citrus aromas and some spices; orange peel, grass, cardamom? Quite promising!

Taste: Hops are a bit milder than expected, there is also a strong malt background. Not as light and refreshing as I thought it would be, but there's certainly some flavour. Hop bitterness in the aftertaste. The spices in the aroma are not evident, but I'm reminded of freshly baked rolls.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Bready texture.

Overall: For a lager in a can, this is excellent. Not my favourite type of beer by any means, but it's great to see an inexpensive, easy drinking session lager with some originality and flavour. Hopefully it can convert some of the masses into better beer...

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Photo of dbossman
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pale, light copper hue with a really big 3-inch frothy and bubbly head

S: Nice combination of floral and citrus hops--even some weed and musty grass; sweet bready grains; this smells so good--I'm excited to dive into a a lager

T: Nicely bittered up front and though the sweet bready malts balance things out this stays nicely bitter and hoppy; grainy, weed, breads, citrus, mmm

F: Medium body and sticky and oily and really balanced mouth feel

O: This is such a good, drinkable, thirst-quenching lager--I'll sign up for the double shift

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Photo of Phelps
3.56/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a shaker pint at the Mellow Mushroom.

Light orange with absolutely perfect clarity. The one-inch head is orange-white and sudsy, depositing big, sticky walls on the sides of the glass. A thin, soapy layer remains after minute, but goes nowhere after that.

Soft grain and a bit of spicy, grassy hops in the nose. Very light and spritzy.

Interesting flavor. The grainy bite of a lager met with the grassy hops of a pale. Maybe a touch of honey as well. Softly bitter, very clean, smooth and drinkable.

Medium-light in body. High carbonation pinches the tongue for just a second, then dies off. A little fizz as it moves. Super-clean.

Not the most flavorful beer, but great for a cheap lager. Nice hop presence, fantastic drinkability.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pint can poured into a pint glass

Pours a clear golden amber with medium head on the pour, and low head retention, and lots of carbonation. Smell is very mild, slightly yeasty, some sweetness.

Taste is slightly hoppy, nice bitterness, some of the yeasty flavor, slightly sour aftertaste that I think is fairly common for lagers.

Mouthfeel is light and smooth. Overall, it's not a bad lager.

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Photo of vkv822
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz can : tulip glass
from notes.

Clear golden yellow, billowy white head.

Floral hops as well as some fruity hops, sweet grassy, malty grains.

Light body overall, but medium for the style with prickly medium carbonation.

Hoppy, well done lager, prominent flavors, but still easy drinking.

 294 characters

Photo of Jimmys
4.18/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can into hardywood park tulip. best before sept. 30 12.

A: very rich golden hued body. head is bright white with great retention and thick clumps of lace.

S: slightly sweet, slightly minty aroma. if i had to guess, i would say saaz was used in this brew. a very inviting aroma, even if it is one not typical of american pale lagers.

T: a little eggy. there is an underlying chalky, earthy noble bitterness throughout the entire drink that slightly reminds me of a german pils. the malt is there, but really as a backboard for the hops. smoooth.

M: moderate carbonation on a light/medium body.

D: i really like this beer. good flavor on a very drinkable lager. glad it is in a hogsleg.

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