Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,576 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Summerfest LagerSierra Nevada Summerfest Lager

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

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

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Reviews: 1,576 | Ratings: 4,136
Photo of thegodfather2701
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a pale gold with a frothy, bright white head. Decent lacing left on the glass. The nose is somewhat muted with Saaz hops standing out among a generic beer smell. The nose is not great but the beer is very refreshing. The flavor consists of hops (Saaz) nearly perfectly balanced by some bready, semi-sweet malt. The finish has a lingering bitterness that reminds me of aspirin, but nowhere near as strong. The flavor is great-very, very refreshing and enjoyable. The mouthfeel is spot on-not too thick and not overly carbonated. Overall, this beer is excellent. I have recently realized how much I love lagers and I see myself drinking more of these in the future.

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Photo of Lordbacchus
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - nice straw color with just the right carbonation

S - good balance of malt and hop aroma

T - nice and dry. a few malty and "peppery" notes up front with a great hop finish at the end. Czech Saaz hops - Taste is very nice. Right on target for a Lager.

M - great mouthfeel. not watered down.

D - I would definitely buy/drink this again.

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Photo of hansavijaticar
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: clear yellow (like helles), white head.
Smell: biscuity, herbal, bit of citrus.
Taste: same as smell.
Feel: lightness of Bavarian helles combined by a mild hop bite of Czech Pilsner.
Very refreshing. I like it more than helles because it's got more hop forward aroma and flavour. Too bad it's much more expensive and rarely available in Croatia compared to German and Czech lagers, because for surely I'd buy it often, especially in summer.

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Photo of katjoeus
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I am from Germany, and I love German beers - this one for me is probably the closest US-brewed beer I have found to a good Bavarian beer. I love it, just wish they'd switch from those tiny bottles to regular 0.5l ones!!! Too bad it's neither easy to find here in MD nor particularly cheap, but I guess you get what you pay for :-)

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Photo of sudz42
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a pretty dang good US pilsner, but SA's Noble Pils is still better. I think Sierra is sneaking some corn in this one. The hop profile is nice; west coaster knows how to use their hop. I'm just not getting any biscuit malt that we get from, even a mainstay like Becks.

But it's better than Bud.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.48/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This crystal clear light golden beer throws out a perfect 2 finger foamy head. It clings nicely to the glass as I drink. Beautifully subdued spicy noble hop aroma layered within a nice little pils maltiness. The taste of this beer is great. A nice malt backbone provides the foundation. Spicy little hop accents make their presence beautifully throughout the experience. A perfect blend of malt and hops for this summer brew. Highly drinkable. Very good beer.

Disregarding weizen style beers,because there are a lot of great summer weizen beers, this is one of the 2 elite summer brews that I have tried. (The other is Goose Island Summertime Kolsch.)

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Photo of generalnotsew
4.47/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Very pale straw yellow. Typical Adjunct Lager look but it did yield quite a nice head. Follows the style just a little too closely to the big boys.

S: Crisp, light refreshing sweet cereal malts. I also get a bit of fruitiness. Would give higher if the smell was a bit more potent but still very good.

T: Mmmmm. Tastes a lot different from what I remember last year. Actually a bit hoppy and tart with the sweetness from the cereal and corn backing it up. I never thought I would give a lager a 5 but this is pretty damn tasty. I am really starting to enjoy the style more these days. It is actually exploding with flavor. Taste buds are being pulled in all different directions.

M: Love the way it feels in my mouth. So cool and crisp and very well carbonated.

D: This is the kind of beer that has dangerous levels of drinkability. So what you will about lagers they will always be the easiest for me to get down.

I am quite impressed with this. Wasn't expecting much but damn! I really, really like this beer. Wish more BMC peeps would give this a try and see what they are missing in a good beer. Highly recommended!

Note: This is 2010 version.

Revisited nearly a year to date after my first. Review 2011.

Got a good 2 finger head on the poor but sadly it disappeared within minutes. It does have some tight lacing and body is a remarkable golden yellow. Sweet sticky grassy hops on the nose with a nice clean malty snap. Taste is a kind of tart with underlined sweetness with a slight spicy hop kick. The slightly bitter aftertaste carries over quite nicely. Mouthfeel is spot on. Nice subtle carbonation and not overbearing. Only downside is the tartness can be a little puckering. Overall this is a damn tasty Lager and I am starting to enjoy lager flavors more and more since I stopped drinking them when I got into craft beer. I would like to see more brewers make a good lager like Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada can.

A: 4 S: 4 T: 4.5 M: 4 O: 4.5

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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 bennetj17
4.45/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Clear, pale straw, with lots of effervescent carbonation, but little head. Mild, yet inviting aroma of grainy malt with a light citric hop note. Clean and crisp flavor with a proper grassy bitterness kicking in early and lingering nicely on the tongue. The malt backbone is bready and dry without any residual sweetness. Carbonation is very nice. The body is light but never thin. This beer just goes down so smoothly, and the alcohol is not discernible at all.

This beer is damn near perfect and is just a fine example of a proper Pils. It's drinking very fresh right now and for 6.99 a sixer it is unbeatable. Way underrated in my opinion.

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Photo of goochpunch
4.44/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a light brass with the occasional bubble making its way through the body. Thin head settles quickly to a ring of foam. Leaves some spots of lace. Nose is a lot of saaz with some breadiness from the malts and a whiff of toasted grain. Flavor gets a start with the malts, bringing a honey sweetness and some faint fruitiness to my mouth. I get some pear and apple. The saaz hops then come in and tear it up with big spice, herbs, grass, and hay. Finishes dry with a solid bitterness some honey that stays on the palate. Mouthfeel is light but has substantial body and very lively carbonation. Very delicious and fresh domestic pilsner that's almost on the level with Prima Pils or Live Oak Pilz. Highly drinkable.

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Photo of ronjohn
4.44/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm a fan of lagers and IPAs. This is a nice offering from Serra Nevada. Light, golden, very crisp and refreshing. Nice carbonation, no bitterness. A noted lighter departure from Sierra Nevada's typical beer. Thoroughly enjoyed.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.43/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a yellow color with a finger of head. Some lacing on the glass.

S: Fresh pilsner aroma.

T: Crisp taste - lighter side lager but again ample presence of pilsner. Really well balanced - almost perfect.

M: Full bodied yet light.

O: Great summer brew.

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Photo of AustinBeerLvr
4.42/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was looking back through my 200 beer reviews, and noticed that ironically enough, I have not officially reviewed one of my favorite seasonal brews. That said, I pretty much already knew what I was going to say about this awesome offering from SN, as I have been enjoying it a bit too much for the past four summers. So, here goes with what I get from this awesome summer seasonal...

For maximum enjoyment, I strongly recommend pouring this beer straight down the middle in a pilsener glass. If poured properly, a nice, rocky head is formed that tops off a wonderful rich, pale golden body. The head along with some lacing sticks around all the way until the end.

The funny thing about that aroma and taste of this summer offering is that it's not a beer that tries to jump out at you and say "I'm a summer beer." Rather, it's really just a straightforward, exceptionally well brewed, pilsener. By no means is it really that complex, but at the same time, it has plenty of character to keep you interested. The flavors range from a slight bread sweetness to start things off, to a very nice hop flavor of lemon grass, a little pine, and a nice tingling bitterness that is spot on to round it out in the finish.

SN's summer offering's best quality is that it doesn't try to be too complex, but at the same time it's a lager that even a beer geek will find himself never getting bored with. It's drinkability is exceptional, and it therefore always has a place in my fridge during the warm months of the year. Only problem is...I wish this was a year-round offering.

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Photo of stewart124
4.42/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Carbonation is very visable. Straw in color with little head.

Floral nose with some grass and lemon in the nose.

Very crisp and refreshing. Finish is dry and oh so crisp. There is just a slight amount of lemon zest in character.

Super smooth and refreshing on a hot summer day. Lots of malt character and just a nice amount of noble hop bitterness. The zest and spice of the hops compliment the crisp maltiness perfectly.

A very nice example of the style and always something to look forward to in the summer.

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Photo of SensorySupernova
4.41/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear golden color with a white head.

Smell: Bright hops - grape, spicy.

Taste: Mild bitterness up front, but very well balanced by a slightly sweet malt backbone. Seem somehow peppery towards the end. Finishes very clean.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, thin, and well carbonated.

Overall: I’m usually not a fan of lagers, as I get bored of them halfway through. Summerfest is a definite exception. This beer very flavorful but still light and refreshing in the heat.

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Photo of mjurney
4.4/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 Edition.

Pale gold color, a little hazy. Good amount of carbonation rising. Small frothy head.

Spicy and floral hops, sweet malts, grassy, grainy.

Sweet malts, grassy, grainy, cracker, a little biscuit. Spicy-floral hops towards the end. Finish is dry, very crisp. Body is light-medium, crisp, refreshing.

It's an outstanding beer.

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Photo of Tonesy
4.4/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Had this in a bottle, so I didn't get a good look at the color, the head it would have made, or the lacing. I will say that the packaging is very unique and looks good.

S: From the bottle, getting some sweet malt and a tinge of floral hops with some very, very mild zest undertones.

T: Like summer! Starts off smooth with light, sweet malt. Finishes off clean with some mild hops and some even milder banana-sort of flavor. The hops linger on the palate in between drinks (in a good way).

M: Very nice. Perfect for the style. Full yet light, and the carbonation is just right - when you swallow it, it's clean and crisp, but doesn't bite. I wouldn't call it oily, but there is definitely a little residual taste/feel that hangs around in between drinks.

O: Great summer beer. By definition, I think summer beers should be on the lighter side in terms of flavor, body, and abv - nobody wants drinking beer(s) to become a chore in the heat. If you like their pale ale, you will love this seasonal. Could/will definitely session these. The best thing about this beer is that literally everyone i know loves it! Can't go wrong keeping these in the fridge or bringing them to a bbq/party. Newbies, girls, the seasoned beer drinker, and everyone in between has given this the best acclaim anyone can give a beer: they always ask for another.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.39/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear (filtered) golden body topped by a big, creamy, bright-white head that holds well and leaves some limited lace. Nice aroma of malt and hops with some fruitiness and a bright lemony note that I assume comes from citrusy hops. The body is medium-light with a very fine & slightly effervescent carbonation, making it very silky in the mouth. The flavor is lightly hoppy and citrusy up-front, warming into a lightly sweet maltiness as it crosses the palate, and drying out just before the swallow with some more light hop flavor and bitterness. All of these flavors are carried over, to some extent, into the aftertaste. A really refreshing and interesting change of pace that really does make a great summer beer. Not complicated, but with alot of finesse. Somewhat lighter in flavor and easy to drink, but with some distinct hop character and bitterness. Very nice, fairly unique, and well brewed.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.39/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a bright, clear straw sunshine yellow. Very quick, spongey head and one string of bubbles. Crisp pilsner malt and cracked grain with some clean hops. The taste is very crisp clean malt, and lightly astringent hops. Great clean, smooth palate that wips the palat clean every sip. Ready for more sips of this awesome pils.

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Photo of MobBarley
4.37/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A fine, bitter pils in the Sierra Nevada tradition.

Pours a straw-golden color with ample carbonation and a thick, white head that lasts long and laces thick.
Smells deep and bready with an underlying hoppy greenness bordering on herbal/metallic. Some citrus notes come up in the aroma as well.

The taste, while peculiar for the style, is, in a word, delicious. A big, biscuity maltiness roars out of the gate and joins forces about midway with a nice, not-too-bitter hops flavor that is slightly sweet and ultimately refreshing. The finish is dry and bittersweet...almost grassy as well.

Mouthfeel is a little chewy, nice and dry at the finish, and perfect for hot-weather quaffing. Drinkability is high, and I may just have to have this on hand for the 4th this year.

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Photo of dwren89
4.36/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: straw yellow, great clarity, thin fizzy head

Aroma: malty, very much like a brewery smell with fresh grains, slight earthiness

Taste: soft flavor from the soft water, very smooth and easy drinking, well rounded malty flavor with a carbonation and hop bite at the end (no real hop flavor though, just the bitterness)

Mouthfeel: medium body, good level of carbonation (just right)

Overall: a great beer to stock up on for the summer. This would be a much better addition to a cookout than any of the American light lagers. Well rounded maltiness and the perfect amount of hop bitterness and carbonation to cleanse the palate after some juicy burgers, dogs, or creamy potato salad.

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Photo of jjboesen
4.36/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is Sierra Nevada's version of a crispy Czech pilsner; you know, a refresing beer that one would sip after a heavy day of traipsing around Prague - maybe enjoyed at a table on the Old Town Square (perhaps with fried cheese?). I digress ...

The appearance is one of such a classic style: light gold in color, a translucent body brimming with rushing carbonation bubbles on their way to the top. There are pleasant notes of grass on the nose; the palate is inundated with subtle hops, crisp and clear and crispy on the bite; there is subtle sweetness at the fade. The mouthfeel is somewhat dry.

This is the ultimate sessional quaff, be it in lovely Prague, or not-so-lovely Arlington, Virginia, where I enjoyed it. Ahh... Prague .... ahhh Sierra Nevada!

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Photo of Redneckwine
4.35/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz frosty cold can into pint glass

Appearance - Pale straw yellow, bubbly carbonation, nice fluffy white head and good retention

Smell - Spicy/floral hops and crackery malt

Taste/Feel - Big hit of those floral/spicy/grassy hops up front, trailing off with bready cracker like malts, feint sweetness, and a little wallop of bitterness. Balance is stellar with this brew. Body is light, carbonation is gentle with a creamy feel. Hop bite is actually fairly pronounced and adds nice complexity and interest.

Overall - This is such a great Pils, and what makes it is it's balance between the hop bite, malt sweetness, and creamy feel. This one is perfect for a summer day or hell, any day. SN killed it with this one and I'll definitely be bummed when it's gone for the year.

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Photo of lic217
4.35/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: Light yellow, head hangs for a short time, not much lacing
Smell: Lager yeast, floral, and bready
Taste same as above, starts sweet ends dry
Feel: A bit thin even for this style
Overall: very drinkable solid beer

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Photo of JEdmund
4.35/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vibrant straw yellow, minimal head, minimal carbonation (seems off for style)

Light smell of grain and grass, tad bit of hops and earth, some fresh bread

Taste & Mouthfeel
Really light and smooth flavor, definitely appropriate for summer, though I could use a tad more flavor. Surprisingly robust texture, though it's not full and thick, just a nice feel from the carbonation.

I remember not being wowed by this previously, and I'm still not, but I do appreciate the subtleties more this time around. Definitely something to enjoy out in the heat, though I'd want to drink more and therefore would want the price lower than a regular SN sixer.

2010 Summerfest
I doubt it's different than 2009's, but I'm much more impressed this time. It really does have a substantial amount of bitterness for a pils. Light and clean make this a great summer beer. I'll definitely buy more, though I still wish it were a bit cheaper. I've adjusted the scores from my previous review.

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 4,136 ratings.
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