Beer Thoughts: New Belgium Shift

UPDATE - We've changed our thoughts on this beer quite a bit since this review. Check out details here.

Beer Info:
Shift is New Belgium's first 16oz can, a "Pale Lager" that sits at 5% and showcases Nelson Sauvin hop, "which brings forth elements of citrus and soft fruit alongside specialty malts and lager yeast. Easy to drink, crisp and congratulatory, Shift is ready for a responsible session in the backyard and beyond." As you've seen in our recent threads, 5% is not really a session beer, but we will contend that for many, perhaps this is much lighter than the regular beers they drink.

Beer Thoughts:
This one pours a beautiful gold yellow with a nice white head. The aroma is of Pilsner malt, sweet corn, bready, slightly herbal, and a noticeable amount of hops there. The beer tastes clean, reminds me very much of a Pilsner that has a higher dosage of bitterness, sweet malt, a little grassy, and a clean crisp finish. Tastes a lot like the aroma. It actually feels heavier than it is. Although nowhere does New Belgium talk about this beer as a Pilsner, this one reminds me a lot of other recent Craft Pilsners, and unfortunately I haven't been a fan of those (Odell Double Pils and Ska's Double Pilsner) for the reason that they feel super heavy and there's something strange about the mix of slight fruitiness that happens in these beers mixed with the herbal, bready, and crispness of an actual Pils.

Our Recommendation:
The beer is okay. I would stick to Upslope Craft Lager, Steamworks Colorado Kölsch or Ska's Mexican Logger although I think that many people who want a lighter beer and prefer hoppier beers could be happy with this one.

How to Drink It:
Out of the can, although pouring into a tall pint glass would be fine too. Not meant to be shared. The 16oz can is a nice change for a lighter beer that you want a full pint of instead of the smaller 12oz can.

Where It's From:
New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO

Full Disclosure:
We were given a few of these for free. It is to be released on April 2nd.

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BeerEric Steen