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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,549 Reviews
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Sierra Nevada Summerfest LagerSierra Nevada Summerfest Lager

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: Czech Pilsener

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
There's something about a warm summer day that calls out for a cold glass of great beer, and this classic Czech-style lager is sure to fit the bill. Crisp, golden and refreshing, Summerfest is the perfect choice for soaking up the sunshine. Summerfest is a Czech-style lager featuring a slight malt sweetness, a spicy hop flavor, and the crisp finish you want on a hot summer day.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-17-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,549 | Ratings: 4,016
Photo of danielharper
3.42/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Great Spirits, Huntsville, AL.

Pours a yellow-amber color with a fairly full head. Head dissipated quickly. A very clear beer, with no cloudiness whatsoever -- objects were clearly visible through the beer. No bubbles to speak of.

A nice, spicy aroma with a malty hop presence dominates this nose. Pleasant and inviting, if uncomplex.

A kind of fruity, odd taste is mostly present in this beer -- it almost seems like grapefruit or cranberry to me. Carbonation is present but muted, and tartness dominates the finish.

Perhaps this brew is a bit watery on the mouthfeel, but I think it's a perfectly pleasant experience for a nice summer brew, and it is a really good example of a warm-weather beer. Drinkability thus gets a fairly high mark from me, as while this brew is uncomplicated and uninspiring, it's nonetheless a nice example of a "lawnmower beer", at least for me.

If this review seems a bit truncated, it's only because this beer doesn't inspire strong feelings one way or the other for me. I'm considering making this my Fourth of July beer, but I can't really claim that it's a fantastic or even very good beer. Probably better than Heineken, but nothing to get worked up over.

The best compliment I can pay this beer is that immediately after bringing these home from the store, I popped one open and drank it down, cooling off from the hot weather outside. Then I had a second one, even though it was only three or four o'clock in the afternoon. Good, but not great.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.15/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A clean light yellow beer. Has a small bright white head. Which dissapears quite quickly. There is a light grainy biscuty aroma with a hint of skunk in the background. The bitterness starts off the flavor sharply. Then the grainy biscut character takes over at the end.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


A term too often thrown around our conventional knowledge of beer. As children we wonder why our parents drink something so resembling human waste. As we get older, we wish our intoxicants were lighter than said matter. Teetotlers claim that beer not only looks and smells like piss, but it also makes you piss obsessively and obscenely.

I have never had a beverage that made me think of urine so much as this particular beer. The nose just absolutely screams "pee" so much that I thought of scrapping this review entirely. But I don't think its necessarily an unfair description. You might be wondering now: "Is it possible for a person to actually compare a beer to a liquid body emission and actually enjoy it?"

Enjoy it I did. As mentioned underneath this particular review, this beer's labeling does shy away from any mention of "lager" like those five letters are a dirty word. I say go with it. I say we start the reclamation of lager, stealing it away from dirty macro-sludge and reenter it into our lexicon - and not like we think of cheese (velveeta), bread (wonder), or beer...B M or C.

This one pours out amazingly light from a brewing company you expect nothing but liquid calories from. Clean "Chico" characteristics; biting, piney hops, velvet smooth mouthfeel with a hop taste that lasts and lasts.

After the third or fourth sample of this beer, you come to realize the similarities between this and Boston Lager. The hopping tastes quite parallel to that beer if not a little more embedded in the eraser-head Sierra Nevada mold that somehow makes every SN beer taste freakishly similar.

This beer is a fantastic summer beer...nothing to force the world into a beer revolution, but a solid, tasty beer from a solid, tasty brewery.

Let's call it Grolsch/Heineken/Stella/Carling with a soul, and fresh, unskunked ingredients. Maybe they should put this one in green bottles for the fuck of it.

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Photo of charlatan
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This straw coloured pint had a decent head. The bar was too smoky (although not unusually so) for me to pick up an aroma.

Beers with summer in their name throw up a huge variety of styles (try searching the term summer in the find beer box), and thus are something of a lottery.

I'm not a lager man, but I really enjoyed this brew. It has a rich, fruity start which reminds me of grapes, but with less of an acidic twang. This is followed up with a reassuring rather than potent hop backing. Couple this delightful taste with a little creaminess and good carbonation and you have a very drinkable number.

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Photo of JackStraw22
2.66/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2005 vintage

Appearance: Crystal clear golden body, nice crisp white head that stuck around. Lots of bubbles up to the top. Good lacing too.

Smell: Very earthy and herbal hops, crisp and refreshing aroma. A little one dimensional, though.

Taste: One of the only lagers I've had that's a real hop assult. In my opinion, it doesn't work. It reminds me a lot of tonic water unfortunately. Very dry too, not refreshing.

It was off to a good start with it's appearance and aroma, but didn't quite hold up. Oh well.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

05/28/05- Purchased at Piazza's Market in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no dates. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Average golden color pour, decent white foamy head and average lacing.

Smell- Smell of bitter pine hops...not much of anything else. Not that this is bad!

Taste- I don't know what to make of this beer. Has malty moments, fruity moments, bitter hop moments and maybe even sourish saison moments. Tons of different things going on in here. Maybe too much.

Mouthfeel- Above average carbonation. Lip smaking bitter at times.

Drinkability- Wish I had this brew first so I could make a more accurate judgement. The one thing I will give it is refreshing. It was nice and hot outside by the pool and it did the job.

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Photo of taez555
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Summerfest 2005

The beer poured a very clear yellow body with a small white head.

The nose was very clean; pseudo macro but turned up a notch. Soft fruits, touches of biscuit malt, but mostly just a clean macro-esque Euro lager smell.

The taste was light bodied. Grainy but very crisp. Biscuit malts, some caramel taste, an earthy hop bitterness. This beer reminded me a lot of mexican lagers in that the bitterness really cuts through the standard macro taste. Soft fruits and a mild leafy hop taste.

Really a very simple beer. Crisp, grainy but clean and quite tasty. The big bitterness and mild hop taste remind me a lot of a mexican lager mixed with SNPA. A nice refreshing summer brew, but from my memory not nearly as good as years past.

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Photo of oelergud
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perfectly clear honey/wheat golden body, good carbonation. White rocky head, great lace and decent retention.
Smell is green grass, floral, earth and slightly musty hay. Good malt base with some caramel tones. Hops are there late in the swallow and are well balanced with the malt in the aftertaste.
Excellent mouthfeel, not watery as you see with many lagers. Coating is present but not too thick for a lager either.
Highly drinkable, one of the best lagers I've had so far.


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Photo of blackie
4.17/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 12oz. from the 2005 bottling. Pours a light golden color with a short lived thin head, which is refreshed when swirled. Smell is clean with nice aromatic hop crispness, Saaz maybe. Also doughy/grainy odors, and a touch of light herbals. Mouthfeel is also clean and crisp, with average carbonation. Taste is, again, clean and crisp. Nice tasty, grassy hop bite, with a bitter finish containing a slight grainy sweetness. A good summer beer fit for the woods or the backyard, and one that I will purchase again.

Better head this year, or I didn't know how to pour back then. Bumping the smell up a couple notches to 4.5, though I still agree with my earlier description. Carbonation right between medium and high. I also decided to change the mouthfeel from 4.0 to 4.5. Good balance everywhere, clean and crisp.

Still a nice pils. Considered lowering everything to a 4.0, but resisted.

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Photo of chrisms86
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Pours with a thin layer of sticky head. The taste is great, some notes of citrus add to the full flavor. A very drinkable beer with a pleasant aftertaste, which stick around for awhile due to the syrupy texture of this beer. The carbonation seems artificial, which really brings down the quality of this lager to something like a Henry Weinhards (goes for a good taste, but it all seems somewhat fake).

Without the strong carbonation this would have been a common sight in my fridge, but as it is Sieraa Nevada Summerfest will only make occassional appearences.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.47/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear bright gold in color. Fluffy white head settles in nicely and remains for the bulk of the beer. Light citrus in the nose and also some floral hops. Taste is excellent. Hops are bold and spicy, malt is full yet smooth. This is a great summer beer with hints of citrus (lemon and grapefruit). Excellent, I will definitely enjoy more of these this summer.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.82/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is a healthy shade of yellow and the head is average-sized. Carbonation is very good. The aroma is fairly clean with just a mild spicy hop smell. The taste is strongly (for a lager) of spicy hops with a tasty light malt body. A light citrus bite is also noted. This is very different and much more interesting than expected. Mouthfeel is appropriately crisp and drinkability is great. This is a choice summer seasonal beer, light enough to quench thirst, but still very flavorful.

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Photo of silver0rlead
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, golden yellow color with a frothy white head that leaves nice lacing. Smell is pale malts and a graininess with a hint of spices. Taste is a grainy malt flavor with a hint of fruity esters, and a clean dry finish. Mouthfeel is crisp and smooth and drinkability is high.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden color with a decent head and very good lacing. Smell s of a rich malt with just a faint hint of hops. Full bodied as "summer" beers go. A rich malt flavor with and nice hop bitternes and flavor - not IPA or even APA hoppines but it is very detectable. Smooth and crisp. High carbonation. A nice summer beer. Not a lawnmower beer, but a sitting on the porch type.

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Photo of pentathlete
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bright golden clear beer, with a foamy head that left a little lace on the glass. Mild nose with just a hint of floral hops. Bitterness is barely present in the taste. Medium mouthfeel. Overall, my basic complaint is that this beers simply isn't crispy enough. I want a little dryness in the finish. This finishes...wet. An easy drinker, a nice alternative, but there are better selections.

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Photo of asabreed
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I decided on a summer, thirst-quenching beer tonight, or one that I figured would be such. I'm splurging tomorrow for more cellar-away brews, but tonight I wanted a 6-pack of something lighter that I'd never had before. Here goes.

Appearance: What a great head. Halfway through the glass the sucker is still thick and foamy, and the lacing is webbing nicely around the glass. I know for this type of beer the color's supposed to be lighter and yellow, but it looks a lot like Miller Lite. Thankfully it doesn't taste like it. But the head and the lacing are eye candy, especially since I wasn't expecting it.

Smell: Herbal and hoppy aromas up front, and faint grass. Some lemon and orange zest, though it's faint. Malts and yeast, though the yeast is a bit stronger. Not extremely discernible, though it's still warming and not at cellar temperature. I still couldn't see this opening up to insanely great aromas, however, though it's certainly not even close to unpleasant.

Taste: Kind of a mesh of all mentioned above, really. Malts and yeast coming through the most, a bit of sweetness, grass, then slight hop bitterness at the end. Faint lemon and orange zest. Not bad, but I wish it was more interesting.

Mouthfeel: What I expected. Pretty light body. Light carbonation. It's quenching, I'll give it that. Could be better.

Drinkability: This would be a beer I'd bring to a grill out for someone who'd usually be drinking light swill; if it were ice cold I couldn't find many people who aren't even remotely adventurous drinkers finding a difference (though this may be a bad thing I suppose and I should probably give them some other better craft beers to try possibly). That's not saying it's a bad beer, it's just not one of SN's best by any stretch.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.01/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours to a pale yellow with a thin and fizzy white head that leaves no lacing. Doesn't appear to be too impressive. The smell, on the other hand is quite zesty and powerful. Smells like a merlot or a shiraz or something with a powerful fruity blast.

The taste is also very similar to a wine, yet it has that cold and crisp carbonated mouthfeel I'd expect from a lager. Only a tiny taste of the hops, and the malts don't seem to be too "malty" tasting either, yet it is a good refreshing drink. I would rate this much higher on the drinkability scale, but after one or two the tartness begins to overwhelm my palate.

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Photo of ypsifly
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage poured into a pilsener.

Pale gold with a decent head of white that falls to less than a cm of foam. Does a good job of coating the glass as it goes down.

Smells malty with a good pairing of floral hops. Am I smelling an ale?

Hops take an assertive role in the taste. Again, this is coming off more as an ale than a lager. It does finish clean as I would expect from a lager, but the crispness isn't as pronounced as I would expect.

Medium mouthfeel that goes down easy. Pairs well with grilled meats. This one did a good job of washing down braised short ribs and bbq pork tenderloin this evening.

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Photo of Gruntlumber
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm amazed at how varied the reviews are for this beer. Some call it "too heavy", even though it's one of the lightest micros I've ever had. Some say "too bitter, hoppy", even though there is barely a trace of hoppiness in my opinion. Some say it tastes like Bud. Some say it tastes like SN's Pale Ale. Maybe this brew varies a lot from year to year, because I disagree with many of these comments.

This is definitly a pilsner-style lager: pours very light and has a nice refreshing aroma with a hint of hoppiness. If I tasted this blind, I would say it tastes like Pilsner Urquell, one of the best lagers out there. I want to taste the two side-by-side because the similarities are many. Summerfest has a fresher, cleaner taste however, probably because it IS fresher than the imported PU. I thought this was a great brew. Lagers are never really high on my list because they are all so similar, but given the choice I'd take this anyday over most other lagers.

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Photo of acrawf6
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a nice golden. not much head in this one, but good lacing. this one is, like other sierra navadas, bitter and hoppy. The mouthfeel is good, nice carbonation, maybe a little oily. Its a decent beer, and tastes like it would be nice on a hot summer day, but its not great. honestly if you miss this one, you wont be missing much.

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Photo of pikemark
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single at Gorodon's.

Poured a clear golden, looks like vegetable oil. Little head and moderate lacing. As I poured it I could smell the yeast coming of it, like frsh bread, very good smell.

The actual tasting was not as promising. Pretty dry and went down easy, but tasted too light for me. Carbonation helped it go down, but not much to the flavor.

Its good for a summer day but not one I would buy again.

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Photo of PhillyMonk
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear, straw-colored with very little head. Smells surprisingly malty, but clean. Taste is crisp, carbonated and a bit astringent at first, giving way to a fair amount of hops. I'm not a huge lager fan, but even so I would have expected a little more out of Sierra Nevada, which I'm a big fan of in general. If you like hoppy lagers or pilsners, this one might be worth a try. This wouldn't be a bad barbecue beer and would pair well with some grilled chicken and veggies.

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Photo of whartontallboy
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gold orange pour with a medium sized white head. Hoppy scent that you'd expect from these guys with a little bit of gruit and grass. Flavor is okay, but nothing to write home about. It's got a light hop profile, and the malt comes to the surface with some real sweetness and a little bit of a crisp finish. This one's okay, but I thought it was a bit overpriced and not quite there to be a nice refreshing lager. But Bigfoot was good.

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Photo of GolgiIPAratus
2.4/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Sampled: 4.13.05

Medium pour produces a dense, one & a half inch head that fades at no speed above abnormal, and fades at no speed below abnormal. The liquid is transparent, offering a clear view of my fingers on the other side of the glass through a golden filter. Lacing is average, nothing special.

The smell is malty caramel, which is strange for a summer time offering. Tangy tidbits twist in the nostrils as well. Nothing here whetting my desire to get into this beer.

The first taste is dominated by that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale flavor. A caramelized malt whip pushes those overwhelming hops aside, however. A light, light bitterness peeks through upon the swallow. I'm not impressed with this flavor. Not sure why this is their version of a "summer" beer. It's just too thick. The mouth is creamy and lightly carbonated.

Drinkability depends on how much you actually enjoy the beer (obviously) . I didn't enjoy the flavor, so drinkability wasn't good for me.

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Photo of pjwilson
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2005 Edition... hmmm why is a West Coast lager listed under Euro lager... Tastes more like Bud than Heini...should be american lager..anyways
Pretty damn good drinkable lager. With the hot weather i was starting to go crazy drinking bitter beer... I literally ran to the corner store to get either a lager or wheat beer... went with this 'cuz guy said it came today so it must be fresh...which is so important with lagers....
Pours straw color/ nice head that sticks/ smell ...well there isn't really much....
The taste is much more malty than bitter...this is no Czech Pilsner...
Drinkablitly is off the charts

Final Notes: Some may crucify me for this to me this is like Budwieser done right. There's no cringe and it's tastes great...goes with any food and anybody would like it... In an ideal world this beer would be Budwieser and cost 7 dollars a 12er but it's actually 7 dollars a 6er.... the price the only negitive I guess... ps i do live about an hour from Chico and it got shipped today so it is very, very fresh...might not be as good on the east...but just a guess

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 1,549 ratings.