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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,551 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: 1,551 | Ratings: 4,020
Photo of beerluvr
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A freshly tapped pint sits in front of me, capped by a medium sized white head over clear yellowy liquid. A good dose of sharp grassy hops dominates the nose with some sweet malt backing. Very lively on the palate with crisp carbonation/mouthfeel. Flavors of faintly sweet and doughy malt gives way to the ample hopping here...goes down easy. Finishes clean and crisp, a nice session lager, I enjoyed this much more than the bottled version I tried some years back.

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Photo of arizcards
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at AJ's for $1.39 back in early July.

This better than average beer poured a golden color with a little bit of head retention. Nose was grassy and grainy. Taste is biscuity with a very slight hop finish. Mouthfeel is surprisingly full and decently carbonated. Overall drinkability is good. This is a nice session beer after golfing in 110 degree weather!

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Photo of Bcant
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The 2005 Summerfest: Pours a wedding-ring gold. Light white head dies down fast. Sweet nose, tempered with a healthy dose of American hops. I am always pleased when American brewerys make a good larger. Sometimes I feel like we are to focused on ales in the US (even though I do prefer the top fermenters to the bottom fermenters). On a warm summers day, or at the base ball game, a nice cool, well balanced larger hits the spot. The sweet malt (I presume two-row) is tasty and the crips hop makes me thursty for another.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date - served chilled in a pilsner glass. It pours a nice golden hue with a half inch off-white head that never goes away and leaves spots of lace. There's lots of streams of carbonation rising quickly through the body. It has a nice toasty malt aroma with a hop background. There is a nice hoppiness on the palate from floral/spicy (Saaz?) hops along with toasty malts and a bit of caramel. The body is light and kinda dry but it is quite refreshing. I wish more lagers tasted like this.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a golden bright yellow crystal clear body with strong carbonation and a soapy white head.

S-The aroma of pilsner malt and German hops are strong in the nose. Very crisp clean smell.

T- This beer has a good smooth hop flavor up front with a sharp malt finish. The hop bitterness does linger in the dry crisp finish. There is a bit of American citrus hops also at the finish that gives it more depth and character than typical to euro pale lagers. It has a bit of and acidic finish perhaps from the carbonation.

M-The mouthfeel is medium-full with some slipperiness and a bit of fizz from the bubbles.

D- This is a beer with a lot of character for this style. Nice complexity yet very good for quafting in the heat of the summer. The carbonation is strong but it doesn't really work with the slippery mouthfeel.

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Photo of brentk56
3.52/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear light golden clear color with a nice little head that didn't hang around very long; no lacing

Smell: Grassy and herbaceous with a bit of lemon peel

Taste: Clean malty, somewhat floral backbone that is quickly met by the lemony tart hops; long lemony finish

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and well carbonated

Drinkability: A very different idea for a summer beer; light and lemony

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.51/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow...I can't believe I haven't reviewed this one until now! Pours from the stubby bottle a brilliant clear bright sunshine yellow with a pillowy foam of white head. Active carbonation rises up in the glass. Aromas of clean, pale malts paired with a grassy, slightly citric hoppiness. Lemony graininess. Nothing to shout about but nice for the style.

First sip brings a crisp, lemony grainy pale maltiness accentuated by Euro hops (Saaz). Slighty spicy, grassy bitterness on the back of the palate along with a bit of citrus. A clean drinking lager that definetly fits in the summertime. Doesn't do anything to knock my socks off but is still an enjoyable brew.

Crisp mouthfeel is fairly light and refreshing with stable carbonation. This one is an easy drinker that would go down like water at a backyard barbecue. Worth seeking out if you're looking for an easy drinking, tasty lager.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the summer beer to end all summer beers. Bottom fermented, consumed on a wonderfully beautiful Cape Cod afternoon. This beer seems to be a bit more edgy than other summer, has the lemon zest but is also a little bitter, with a Pils undertone. This is an amazing example of this style.

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Photo of ski271
3.12/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Light orange-gold with a small, white, foamy head that hangs around for a little while before diminishing to a thin film. Moderate speckled lacing.

Smell: Floral and herbal with a light soft-pretzel-like bread & yeast to it.

Taste: Malty, bready, floral, and a little musty. Lemon, grape and earth. The finish is short, crisp and dry

Mouthfeel: Medium body, dry texture, moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Refreshing but not very interesting. Nothing is really all that special here, which was a big disappointment coming from Sierra Nevada. Not bad, but not worth seeking out.

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
3.35/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another average, boring, but decent tasting summer lager. This is one of those beers that make you understand how only (for the most part) big beers get the really high ratings. There is not too much to be excited about in this beer. Pours out a golden, cider, straw yellow color with a sticky head that clings randomly to the glass. The aroma is heavy with earthy, hay-like, maltiness. The taste and mouthfeel is very doughy with a hop finish. The beer is pretty smooth, but maybe a bit too dry for this style. Again, there is nothing wrong with this beer, I just need more excitement from a seasonal brew. I will stick to the summer wits.

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Photo of VinylHanger
2.89/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I've been lurking here for a few months now and my enjoyment of beer has grown by leaps and bounds. I figured it was time to try a review.

I picked this one up at a Safeway, small selection, but decent variety. The label looked good, It is summer, so what the heck. The first thing I noticed was the screw top, most of the beers I've had lately were crimped, needing an opener. Not important, but just caught my attention.

It poured a bit like machine oil, a bit floppish, rather than exciting and energetic. A very small head about half an inch high which died immediately. Not a good sign, maybe a slightly dusty glass, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt here. Color was basically light golden, a step above bodywater, a small step. First whiff was not too overwhelming, it had a bit of a vomit tinge to it, so I let it sit a bit and watched the bubbles flow up, small but excited. I tried another smell. Cherry cordials is the closest I can come up with, very pleasant smell, sweet and smooth. It saved itself on the second go around.

As for taste, it has a mouthfeel that is a bit thick and goes down the throat with a bit of a slither, not my cuppa tea. The taste really is a small step above a nonlight macro, too much fizz and no real taste to get excited about. Though, I can say, that it may be a good way to get your macro lovin' friends to step out of the darkness and move a bit towards the light. I may try it again, with the sweet smell, there has to be some nice tastes in there, but I sure didn't find them this go around.

I will add a disclaimer, I am new at this, though I know what I like, and my first beer experiences were at the age of 18 while stationed in W. Germany. So my tastes tend to run that direction, and since I am learning the technical aspects of this hobby, I really don't know my malts from my hops yet. So take this review for what it's worth. This beer is basically a smaller brewers version of a macro, which I guess as a lager, that makes sense.

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

Gold color filled my glass. Nice white frothy head that dissipates into lacing. Good hop presence, grain, grass taste. Dry bitter finish. Soft carbonation, medium body. I wish I would of bought more than one. Easy drinking without sacrificing flavor.

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Photo of semihobo
2.27/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pale yellow color, almost like Keystone Light, but acceptable for the style. Thick puffy head with tiny bubbles, lots of staying power -- ten minutes later there was still a good layer of foam all the way across. Excellent head, I wish more beers could be like this.

Faint smell, nothing distinct, just some funkiness (not in a good way).

Taste is like the smell, mediocre. Grains, maybe some corn type taste, and some hops coming through in the end. A little sour, not very interesting. Compared to all beer, this taste is very unimpressive. However, it's okay for the style.

Standard mouthfeel, decently carbonated beer. Back of my mouth feels a little sticky for a few seconds.

I choked this one down, but it got difficult toward the end and I don't want another. I don't think the beer was old or gone bad in anyway, but it kind of tastes like a skunked beer or a bad adjuncty macro in a lot of ways. If you are into lagers or kolsches, you might like it.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.33/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was a nice suprise from the gang at Sierra Nevada. Poured out to a medium golden color, with nice carbonation. Lace was noted around the glass, with a white foamy head that had good staying power. Odors of hops and barley were noted. Taste was pretty good, with flavors of hops grain and malt. Quite refreshing. Not too heavy, this could be a nice session beer. Recommended for lager lovers.

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Photo of Caesar1pup
3.4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden in color with a small head.
Aroma: A slight smell of hops and malt. Nothing great but nothing unappealing either.
Taste: Clean, crisp and very dry. Very thirst quenching for a hot summer day. This has a hint of something unpleasant to it, nothing overpowering but at the same time, nothing that makes you want more.

Overall: A fairly bland offering from a brewer I expect more from. Worth a try but I personally will not be back.

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Photo of cypressbob
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

350ml bottle, poured into a cheers mug

Pours with a golden yellow body, fizzy white head with good retention.

Smell, fresh hops, freshly cut grass.

Taste, crisp fresh bitter hops, slightly grainy, some slight alcohol on the finish

A very drinkable lager, made for hot days

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Photo of steinlifter
3.94/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a clear medium golden, white foam head, that left broken lace all the way through, taste was nice, rather bold hops, up front, then mellows, to a bit of a sweet aftertaste, citrusy notes, fruit and hop nose, bit of apple, and lemon. mouthfeel was a little chewy, but fairly rich and full, drinkability is very good, nice summer brew!

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Photo of Px2GrafX
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

presentation: 12oz. bottle with the typical sierra nevada graphics. light yellow, cream and silver printed label. "bottom fermented" is printed on label. sierra nevada's interpretation of their summerfest is on the top of the bottle along with the year "2005". abv is displayed at 5.0.

appearance: pours pale gold with yellow highlights in a pint glass. quarter inch head disapated to almost nothing quite quickly. bubbles rapidly float to the top keeping some remnance of a head.

smell: wheat and light hops. smells a lot like a cheap american lager.

taste: floral, hoppy and bitter. some grassy wheat, grain flavors with not enough sweet in the finish. a little dry and lightly lemony sour. no real noticible alcohol.

mouthfeel: not the bite you expect in a lager, but very smooth for a lager. thin as expected. not too bad.

drinkability: drinkable and fairly thirst quenching. a good summer session brew.

overall: i served this refrigerator cold, but liked it much more by the end. this is a lager, right? this does aid in the summer drinkability, however. not terrible, but not the best either.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Update May 2008: I actually think I captured the description fairly well for the 2008 version of this beer, but I am upping the review scores, ad I think I may have been overly harsh on a very tasty beer.

Original Review: Pours a clear (ok, slightly cloudy) pale yellow very typical of the style, but with a huge massive pillowy head and a huge stream of carbonation that make for a lot of activity.

Aroma is wheaty/grainy, light and refreshing, maybe a subtle lemon and perhaps a gentle hop note. Much cleaner than the typical culprits of this style.

Flavor is gentle malty/wheaty (so I guess that means grainy) with a moderate hop back end. After a few swallows, a noticeable sweetness comes in too. Enjoyable, a bit harsh in the hop arena, but nothing like the harshness of the actual Euro mega beers that make this style famous.

Nice mouthfeel, and on a hot day, I think I could enjoy this one as a decent yard beer substitute.

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Photo of Sixpoint
2.98/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Without a doubt, this is the weakest offering I've ever had from Sierra Nevada. Was the goal with this beer just to make the least offensive beer as possible?

My sample poured a clear straw color that left a fizzy white head that lingered for about 20 seconds. No lacing.

The aroma was a dry maltiness with just a faint hint of hops, they seemed of noble origin.

The taste was balanced yet weak, not too much delight in the senses.

The mouthfeel was light to medium, and carbonation was high. Was intendend to be a volume beer, and although drinkable, the last time I ever try this one on-tap.

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

Pours a medium golden with minimal head, good retention, minimal carbonation (which is good). Aroma is light cirtus hop with a bit of gristy maltiness. For a brief moment, you have a light body crisp mouthfeel but almost immediately the fuller citrus hop flavor and body comes through, not like its big brother SNPA, but in a similar slightly more sublte way. This is a tough beer. There are not a lot of flavors that jump out at you but rather begin to blend to form a very well balanced fuller bodied beer. It's a APA lover's summer brew. The taste is very good but not exceptional. I toyed with giving it a 5 in drinkability. If it finished a bit cleaner, I would.

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Photo of John1985
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice gold color with a fluffy white head that dies down while drinking and had lacing down the glass. Fragrant hoppy aroma, crisp balanced flavor with adequate hoppiness in the back. Very refreshing. As the name implies it is an ideal beer for the summer heat especially here in the Southeast. Another winner from Sierra Nevada!

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Photo of gus
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Excellent golden color,very clear in appearance, maintained a minimal head while drinking.

You can smell a light hops aroma. Very smooth going down,carbonation somewhat slight. No bitterness in mouth,no aftertaste.

I consider this an above average summer seasonal and would recommend this to friends and will drink this again.

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

Pours a nice golden colour with a crisp white head. This is what a lager should look like. Nice bubbles coming up from the bottom of the bottle. Nice nose with sublte malt notes with just a bit of hops in the back.

Taste is clean with a nice malt and just enough hops to balance this. This is not a beer to wow you with tons of different flavour components, its just a solid drinkable lager.

Mouthfeel is nice and crisp and clean. Good carbonation keeps this drinking easy. Drinkability is nice as well. This is a nice summer session lager. Good for sitting on the porch and shooting the breeze while grilling.

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Photo of BigRedN
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Being in the midst of another typical Nebraska summer (High's in the mid 90's and humid for about the 8th straght day) it is definitely summer beer season. This beer definitely hits the spot.

Appearance: Pours from the 2005 edition bottle into a pilsner glass near clear, bright golden. Big, fluffy white head (about 1"), fell to a nice cap over the liquid. No lacing, some good carbonation evident.

Smell: Slight malty sweetness with a decent floral hop scent. Overall, probably the weakest aspect of the beer, but I don't expect much for this style, it's not supposed to be a big IPA hop bomb, or be a big chocolatey, roasted malt stout, just simple, IMO.

Taste: Some nice malt backing (malty sweetness in the middle) with a tinge of hop bitterness at the finish just to let you know that there are some hops here. Takes the macro lagers and other pale lagers like Heinie behind the woodshed for a little ass-kickin.

Mouthfeel: Lighter in bodied (good for the summer), clean, crisp, and a little dry.

Drinkability: Very high, which is important for a summer seasonal beer IMO. This must be lighter, easy-to-drink, and refreshing. In this, this beer succeeds, and it has flavor! I'd recommend this on a hot summer's day.

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 1,551 ratings.