Beer Review: New Belgium's Shift

May 23 2014, 11:00 AM

Shift Pale LagerNew Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins

Style: American Pale Lager

ABV: 5 percent

Serving Type: 12-ounce can 

Malty? Hoppy? Light hops

Reviewed: May 2014

By the looks of it, the folks New Belgium Brewing have been busy. The company is in the middle of building a second brewery in North Carolina, and every time we make a trip to the liquor store it seems there’s something new from New Belgium on the shelves—SnapshotRampantSpring BlondeSummer Helles. Which means the brewery’s two-year-old Shift Pale Lager isn’t all that new anymore. What has changed is that New Belgium switched to packaging Shift in 12-ounce cans, instead of the 16-ounce tallboys the brew debuted in. The change prompted us recently to pick up a sixer. 

The idea for Shift was born from the New Belgium tradition of sharing a beer with your colleagues after your shift at work. (Read: a “shift” beer.) It is one of the only New Belgium brews never to land in a bottle—it is available in cans or on draft only. What’s more, at the time it was released, Shift was one of the first beers in the U.S. to be brewed with Nelson Sauvignon hops, which “evoke a Sauvignon grape-like quality.” Indeed, Shift is not overpoweringly bitter, but instead has a subtle fruit flavor and a crisp finish—a fitting end to the workday. 

Would we buy it again? One 5280 editor describes Shift as the “perfect park beer.” We think you'll agree. Perhaps a good fit for your next trip to Wash Park, because, well, it’s still cool to imbibe there.