Shift Pale Lager | New Belgium Brewing

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
83
good
243 Reviews
Shift Pale LagerShift Pale Lager
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
243
Ratings:
1,371
Avg:
3.66
pDev:
32.79%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
201
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 243 | Ratings: 1,371
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!)

 2,118 characters

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.

 1,099 characters

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.

 927 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.

Thanks

 353 characters

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.

 384 characters

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.

 436 characters

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 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.

 465 characters

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.

 165 characters

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.

 812 characters

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.

 1,340 characters

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.

 588 characters

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.

 723 characters

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.

 198 characters

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.

 945 characters

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.

 329 characters

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.

 455 characters

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.

 668 characters

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!

 1,058 characters

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.

 450 characters

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.

 711 characters

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.

 252 characters

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.

 1,355 characters

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

 414 characters

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.

 426 characters

Shift Pale Lager from New Belgium Brewing
3.66 out of 5 based on 1,371 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!