1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Summerfest LagerSierra Nevada Summerfest Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

3,645 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,645
Reviews: 1,480
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 12.84%
Wants: 65
Gots: 258 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Czech Pilsener |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-17-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,645 | Reviews: 1,480 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I fail to see how a beer brewed in California, U.S.A. can be called a Euro Pale Lager. Yeah, I know, if it fits the style... blah, blah, blah. But still, this beer deserves better. I therefore dub Summerfest a Yankee Pale Lager.

Pellucid bright amber with an impressively large, creamyfirm, French vanilla head that looks like it belongs on an IPA. The foam displays remarkable persistance and eventually lays down generous amounts of lace in vertical streamers.

The aroma is unmistakably of aromatic Saaz hops with very little else muddying the waters. I'm not a big fan of that particular hop, but it's actually somewhat pleasant here, both in the nose and on the palate. Its oftentimes sharp, pungent nature is blunted to some extent by a fair amount of sweetish pale malt.

A subtle clove and white pepper spiciness increases marginally with warming. I prefer more citrus in my summer beers, but I won't complain too loudly. The body is solidly medium, yet is still well within the bounds of easy drinkability demanded by the summer seasonal designation.

Summerfest is a pretty good Saaz-hopped pale lager, even if my lack of affinity for that particular hop variety keeps me from loving it. That said, this Yankee Pale Lager kicks the crap out of the vast majority of its Euro counterparts.

Photo of AndyM
2.33/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2004 Label / Late Summer Seasonal...

Sierra Nevada has burned me for the last time. I said that after their Bigfoot Ale (a Barleywine) this past winter, but decided to give it another go when I saw this one. I will never try one of their seasonals again!

They say this is a lager, but I have a really hard time believing that. There is only the slightest hint of lager yeast flavor here (probably because it is overpowered by the hops), and therein lies the problem: to me, this beer tastes exactly like most of Sierra Nevada's other beers.

It is incredibly hoppy - far too bitter for my taste, and I really like hoppy beers. It is one of the hoppiest pale ales I've ever had - and I wasn't expecting much hoppiness at all, considering all the label says is, "bottom fermented." In fact, it was sitting with the Oktoberfest beers in my local liquor shop. It says "bottom fermented..." what would you think? Poured out into a glass, it even LOOKS like your average lager.

Unfortunately, I get sick of the taste after about 3 good sips. One of the few times I've actually poured out the remnants of a bottle of beer; usually I can at least choke the rest down, but I saw no point in finishing this one. Now I have to find some recipes to use up the rest of the bottles :

I would recommend this ale to someone who would be classified as an "extreme hops addict" (not just a fan of hoppy beers), or if you've never had a bad Sierra Nevada product. Otherwise, I'd make another selection at the liquor store.

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Snaggle-toothed this Summer offering at the end of Summer on tap at UJ's in North Hills. Clear filtered straw hued tight clingy head hued cover. Excellent head retention as the brew went South.

Fruity citrous notes in a [guessing] Lager style.

First swigs: Lemony notes and crisp light body. Well balanced, dry short nearly apple twinged finish. Tangy hops, ease over light malts. Orange slices.

Feel is light for a lager even. Lasting crispness.

High drinkability for being an easily flavored and well carbonated brew.

Last swigs: As Enya's Orinoco Flow poured from the juke box, an last Summer minute enjoyable hoppy lager and red apple noted brew went back. Bring on the Fall colors.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

Photo of WesWes
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a pale gold color with a thick frothy white head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale malts and lager yeast. It has a dry aroma. The taste is decent. It has a crisp pale malt flavor with a slight hop bitterness and a very dry lager yeast finish. The mouthfeel is good. It is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a decent lager. It has excellent aroma and smooth flavor; a good drinker.

Photo of Truh
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pinned a tail on the donkey with this one on 7/12/2004. 16-oz. pour at the Joshua Tree in Davis Square, nee Somerville, MA. Lord knows why I was there instead of Redbones…

Light, tight head at start. Clear, light gold hue with bubbles buzzing about as if in a pinball machine, or perhaps more descriptively, a pachinko machine, only balls were ascending, not descending. Wheat, white wine bouquet, and slightly sour on the nose. Some hoppiness, which was surprising, and for me it almost beat out the wheat base. Quite astringent to taste, yet also oddly smooth and clinging. Overall, a shochu-like acidity to the offering.

Photo of nortmand
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours lightly amber with a gew wisps of foam, not alot of retention there, though.
Smells very sweet and citrusy, with a very slight, faint background skunkiness.
Immediate sweetness is quickly followed by a floral hop flavor. There is a lingering alcohol presence on the back of the tongue.
Subdued carbonation makes for a nice summery lager. This is followed up by a sticky sweetness on the tongue.
Very tasty and light, a combination that lends itself to drinkability.

Photo of inebrius
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yet another beer poured into a Holiday Inn tumbler. I either need to get a set of travel glassware or take up a different hobby.

Summerfest pours (a colorful descriptive) with a (descriptive) head. The (fancy word for smell) is all fruity cereal flakes, matchsticks and dead lawn. Summerfest inspires me about as much as the tumbler I'm gulping it from. It's really a decent brew though. I imagine if I lived in a house and mowed my own lawn I would drink water afterward, but after the water and maybe a sandwich or something this might be good. It seems a bit heavy grain on the attack but a nice bunch of herbal greens takes over quickly enough. I like it better really cold.

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

This lager was nothing special.
The appearance was clear, with the head disappearing quickly and little lacing to speak of on the way down.
The smell was clean and mild, mostly a faint hop aroma, but definitely not a memorable aromatic one.
The one thing this beer has going for it is that is very refreshing. I had this beer after a walk with a sausage and it did the job just fine. This is easily the lightest and most uninteresting of the SN line, this beer is just plain and uninspired. The taste hardly goes beyond simple hops and a light body.

Photo of woemad
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $1.19.

Poured a dark gold color, with a big foamy head that dropped quickly. Not much in the way of lace.

Smell is rather mild. The most noticeable trait is it's mildly sweet maltiness. There's also a bit of grassy hoppiness.

Taste is more interesting than the smell. Although the most dominant flavor is, again, a mildly sweet maltiness, there is more hoppiness in the taste than in the smell. In addition to the grassy flavor noted in the smell, the hops provide a mild spiciness that complement the maltiness rather well.

This straddles the line between light and medium bodied. While it's refreshingly crisp, there's more flavor than you'll find in a lot of pale lagers.

This is a very drinkable beer, good for consumption at the end of a hot day. This is the first lager I've had from Sierra Nevada. Not bad.

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

Clear amber/gold color, with a big head of really large bubbles that disappears quickly. Not a huge smell, mostly sweet malt, with a touch of grassy hops. Taste is really interesting, some sweet malt, but also with a lot of spicy, but certainly not overpowering, hops and a slightly bitter finish. Nice crisp, clean mouthfeel, good hop presence balanced with good carbonation. Real easy drinkability. I'm impressed, a great, crisp, light summer brew.

Photo of Gavage
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a pint glass - golden in color with a 1/2" head. Lacing develops. The aroma is very mild tones of grass, citrus, and hops. The flavor follows suit as the malt and hops are softly balanced with some lemon and grass / hay flavors.

The mouthfeel is crisp as the carbonation is strong. The finish is a little crisp and dry. This is a lighter bodied brew. Extremely drinkable for a hot summer day and the flavor is just strong enough to excite some tastebuds without sending them into overload.

Photo of Beastdog75
3.13/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sierra Nevada beers are a usually above average indulgence, with some of their offerings being mind blowing. This Summerfest beer is definitely not mind blowing, and some would say it is not even near above average. For me, this was middle of the road: a well-made brew that is just terribly unexciting.

Sierra Nevada Summerfest pours a yellowish gold color with a decent foamy head that retains for a few minutes before thinning out. The aroma is crisp and hoppy: those distinct citrus and piney hop notes jump out of the glass and up your nostrils. Although the mouthfeel is a bit thin, it is crisp and bubbly enough to make this a quaffable beverage. There is a light malt presence in this beer, but of course the hoppiness is the most dominant feature, lending the trademark SN citric and piney notes. The dryness in the finish rounds out the brew well enough. The aftertaste has a bit of a bready/cracker like quality to it along with the lingering citric dryness, and there is no alcoholic warmth in the end.

This beer really doesn't bring to mind the dog days of summer. For me, it is just a hopped up fizzy yellow brew. I think SN's Wheat Beer was more interesting than this, and that one previously held the title for my least favorite SN brew. This is still a well-made brew, no doubt about it, but there isn't enough here to keep my interest.

Photo of moulefrite
3.03/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A rather average offering that pours a light goden and does proffer up a bit of head and some splotchy lace. Some freshness is noted on the nose, featuring citrus hop, and sweet malt, all way in the background. The mouthfeel is light and mildly brisk, yet not really that refreshing going down. Flavors mimic the aromas with lemony hop notes and a kiss of sweet malt. Not a bad beer at all, but I don't find it too Summery personally.

Photo of Rio
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a pale yellow color with a decent head that faded to a mist across the top of the beer and a bit hanging on around the outside of the glass fairly quickly. Mix of malt and hop aromas, it seems. The hops seem to hit first in the taste with a bit of bitterness, fading to a smooth maltiness. Not too light or heavy in the mouth.

A good beer, nice summer time brew.

Photo of Sixpack595
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good summer beer for kicking back and putting a few away. Tast is crisp and refreshing with a light maltiness and touch of spicy hops. Mouthfeel is a perfect balance, light enough to remain drinkable without feeling heavy on a hot day. First beer I actually liked from Sierra Nevada, good job.

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ahhh, silly me... Since the label said "Summerfest" I just figured it was a wheat beer of some sort. When I poured it out to see a bright golden color with a large pure-white head, I thought "odd, it looks quite a bit more like a pilsner..." (Reading SN's website later reveals it -is- a pilsner style lager, which explains a lot!) The head lasted for quite some time, leaving lots of lacing on the glass - a very attractive brew.

The smell was nice and crisp, hop and malt pretty equally balanced and a bit of a light grassy note as well. The taste was pretty complex for a pilsner, many echoes of fruit and a rather sweet note with a very light hop finish. It was light on the tongue, leaving a clean palate for the next drink though as a pilsner I would have expected a bit more fine carbonation leaving a bit of tingle on the tongue to go with a nice hop finish - here it's quite a bit more muted. Pilsner or what, this is a very tasty brew and it's a good light beer for summertime sipping...

Photo of usualpulp
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden color with a very fluffy thick white head.

The beer has a nice hop and malt smell with a hint of grain and grass.

This beer is really nice, crisp and easy going down, yet flavorful. Each sip starts with a nice hop bitterness, and finishes with a clean malt sweetness.

There is a slightly bitter aftertaste to this beer, but nothing that another sip doesnt cure.

Overall, this is yet another good beer from sierra nevada, not my favorite from them, but definately a good lager.

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

Yet another well-crafted beer from Sierra Nevada.

This one pours out to a bright gold in the glass with a wispy, white head. The aroma is light and refreshing and yields the light smell of malt, lemon and fresh baked biscuits. The taste is enjoyable and offers a nice crisp, fresh taste. It reminded me of a Euro-lager, but fresher. Their is a slight hop bitterness that adds to the crispness and a nice, light malt sweetness.

A summer keeper for sure.

Photo of jimdkc
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a bright, golden yellow with a medium-sized pure white head which leaves some fine lacing on the glass. Smell is lightly malty with some grassy hops. Taste is grain and a little sweet malt at first, followed by grassy, maybe a bit piney hops. Crisp, refreshing finish with very good balance. Medium to light mouthfeel with a good amount of carbonation. Very, very drinkable... this is a beer for drinking in large gulps on a very hot day!

Photo of TongoRad
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottling date on the case was May, 2004

There's a real nice balance between hops and malt in the nose, but not too aggressive on either front. That impression continues to the palate. An initial burst of sweetness gives way to more dominant malty characteristics, almost grainy, but certainly not in a bad way- almost like a German Pils. The finish is dry and lingering. This beer definitely benefits from a vigorous pour as its aroma is its best quality. It has a nice balance about it as well, though I would wish for a touch more personality.

Photo of Hibernator
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this out of a 12 oz bottle with a twist cap. I didn't notice a freshness date marked on the label.

This is a bottom fermented beer. Nice pour with a good head for a lager. The color is somewhere between a light orange and yellow.

This beer had a refreshing smell and a modest hop aroma.The hop smell and taste was very much a classic Sierra Nevada staple. A clean lager with crispness rolling off the tongue.

I had the Summerfest with a salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Both worked very well together...nice pairing.

Photo of ColForbin
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Summerfest is Sierra Nevada's only lager, I believe. It pours a clear, light, golden color with small bubbles and a thin white head that fades to a mere coating on the surface of the beer. Smell is bready and with a hint of spicey hops. Taste is very light, with some wheat flavors and a slightly tart and dry finish with a very small hop bite. Mouthfeel is also light making this an extremely refreshing and incredibly drinkable beer. A very well-crafted lawnmower beer.

Photo of shapudding
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As soon as I opened the bottle, foam came frothing out all over, so I expected to have trouble with the pour. When I did start pouring into the pint though, there was no trouble. Tons of carbination rising throught the golden lager leading up to a small amount of tiny bubbles at the top where it stayed as mostly a light, white layer. Scents of hay, fresh and light. Very balanced. Crisp tasting, medium bodied with alot of carbination that holds well throughout. The finish is dry and leaves a very nice bitterness with you. Good drinkability. I am usually not one for lagers but will drink them if they are there- just not my first choice. But this one is nice.

Photo of necoadam
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Verison


Poured out a golden color with a nice amount of carbonation that was visible and left lacing around the glass. Hop aromas hit the nose with some slight malts left in the background for good measure. Some grassy aroma can also be detected. Spicy hops hit the palate first and then combine with some malts towards the end. Some grainy flavors are in the aftertaste along with those spicy hops that seem to last forever. It's not over the top but it sure does last a while. Overall this isn't a bad choice for a summer cookout. Goes down easy, that's for sure.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Capital Ale House.

Poured a sparkling clear yellow-golden in color with not a bit of head. Miniscule white head does a nice attempt at lacing the glass, but with token success. Aromas are quite clean brisk. Hoppy, but not overly so. There is a hint of malts there as well. Flavor is more of the same. An interesting mix of hops and that "lager" flavor. Not quite macro, but more mainstream than I'd expected. Maybe that's why it was so popular with the crowd at CAH. Brisk and snappy flavor, starting with a mildly bitter front, fleeting sweetness in the middle, and dry/acidic on the tail end. Moderate carbonation and decent mouthfeel. A good beer for the summer, no doubt, but I think I'll stick to my hefe's to quench the Richmond heat.

Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 3,645 ratings.