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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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1,575 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: 1,575 | Ratings: 4,122
Photo of sixerofelixir
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with a serene, stylized landscape painting on the label.

Pours a super clear light golden yellow. A frothy white head laces the glass. I see many trails of carbonation. Smell is sugary sweet, with a whole lotta light biscuit. Taste is pleasantly bitter upfront, with a good dash of hops and more biscuit to back it up. Spicy finish, but very smooth. A bit of complexity for a pilsner, and it goes appreciated. "Crisp" as the label says, it is, and this would be a great session beer for a warm evening. Very good. I don't regret purchasing a sixer, and I'm sure a few more will follow..

 600 characters

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

After reading a forum about this seasonal lager changing character from previous years, I thought I would revisit it.

The pilsner poured a standard clear, golden color with a nice white fluffy head. If you enjoy lacing, this will not disappoint.

The aroma was largely noble, european hops. The sweet malt aroma was very inviting.

Similar to most czech style lagers, the flavor was initially sweet followed by a nice refreshing hop bite. It is always a pleasure to enjoy this style very fresh.

Overall, this one is light in body with a sweet, slick mouthfeel. In keeping with a traditional czech pilsner, the carbonation is not over the top.

Immensely quaffable, this is the ideal summer lager. I noticed that only the smell dropped from my previous review in 2008. As they say, the olfactory suffers with age.

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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!

 328 characters

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

Gold body with a fluffy white head.
Aroma is hoppy and grassy with a light citrus lemon essence.
This is a great tasting lager. Moderately hopped with herbal and fruity notes. Malty flavor really shows up as the beer warms. Great grainy/bready aftertaste but still with a crisp finish. Makes you want another sip. Far better than the other common summer brews out there (samuel adams, petes). A great tasting lager in my opinion. Very easy drinking. I was pleasantly surprised by this brew and will probably pick them up again this summer.

 542 characters

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

Simple lager done well fills that nice niche where you want a light beer for the patio that still has the right flavours. Kinda tastes like a kolsch with that very pale colour coupled with pleasant hops on the nose. Slightly dry finish and solid midbody make this a winner. Not as hoppy as Prima Pils but still more European in attitude than some US lagers

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

Sierra Nevada Summerfest 2005 pours a clear golden hued amber from a 12oz dark brown glass bottle with a twist off cap. Head went to well over two fingers before collapsing to a full carpet of fine foam and ample lacing all along the glass walls.

Nose is a spicy citrus pine with notes of grapefruit. Palate is is a well bittered sweet barley malt with a side of pine and grapefruit. The level of carbonation is pleasing and brings up the rear with a firm bight. Aftertaste is a pronounced grapefruit mingled with pine.

Refreshing to the palate and pleasing to the eye, Sierra Nevada Summerfest 2005 is holding up the tradition of good beer coming this way from Sierra Nevada.

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

It's about 90 degrees today, so I decided to test the Summerfest. It pours a clear yellow with a nice foamy white head that's very inviting. The smell is surprisingly nice for a summer lager: floral hops and a very nice hop smell that has undercurrents of bread/biscuit. The malt smell is more than backed up by the flavor and the hops lend a slight bite while contributing a nice tropical flower taste. Drinkability? I'm still trying to figure out where it went.

 463 characters

Photo of botham
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass. pours a crystal clear straw color with a sizable light yellow head that dissipates at a moderate rate leaving no lacings.

smells of light pale malts, with a touch of lager yeast as well. very restrained in the nostrils. slightly sweet, with no hops.

taste is of pale and munich malts, remaining light on the flavors, and keeping to a good light lager profile. crisp and refreshing. overall, slightly on the sweet side, but not by much. solid pilsner.

aftertaste is dry, with light malts sticking around. here is the first and only place that hops are present, though still subtle.

mouthfeel is very smooth and silky. great texture. light bodied, with only a touch of CO2.

drinkability is great. this is a light and crisp lager that is refreshing, and does not fill up the stomach. cheers!

 845 characters

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

Golden to light straw like color. Nice white head. Adequately carbonated.

Aroma is floral and spicy.

This is a classice pilsner. Clean and crisp taasting. This beer has some zip to it with a slight tart finish.

light bodied and very drinkable. It's refreshing on a hot summer day. Another terrific beer by Sierra Nevada. A classic style brewed by a classy brewery.

I suggest you seek it out on tap and get yourself a pint or two.

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

12 ounce bottle purchased at the North Coast Co-op in Eureka, California.

2004 edition.

Pours a luminous gold. The head rises aggressively -- overflowed, just a little -- frothy, cloudy bright white, and leaves a pretty collar of detailed lace around the glass. I've never seen a lager with a head this substantial.

The nose is a pillow of fresh, light malts wrapped in a thin sheet of fresh grassy hops.

Taste opens with a perfectly balanced amount of bitterness -- lemon grass, refreshing -- and a bready sweetness. Aftertaste is a crispy bitterness, very clean and palate cleansing.

Why can't all American lagers taste this good?

Nevermind. I (think I) know the answer.

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

This is a tasty, clean, drinkable lager with a definite full-bodied Czech quality of firm malt lightly dominated by hops.

Gold, it has a medium-large white head that is somewhat bubbly and shrinks steadily to a thin wispy top. It leaves a hint of lace.

The aroma is quite nice and clean, with a lot of grain, honey, pine, and herbs. It lacks the perfumy cracker element many California micro lagers seem to have right now and which I find tiresome.

The taste is mostly herbal with a hint of pine and some bread and grain. It has light sweetness and crisp, slightly dominant bitterness. Overall, it's pleasant and clean, very drinkable, and with moderately full body and flavour. It's a lot more flavourful, full bodied, and balanced than Sierra Nevada's omnipresent pale ale, which I find practically tasteless except for bitter grapefruit.

 846 characters

Photo of xav33
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Summerfest
12 oz bottle
Moderate pour in a shaker.
Labeled 2007, enjoyed 06/07

Poured a hay gold color with a large mostly lasting white rocky head.

Smelt of moderate citrus, grass, tea leaves and flowery wheat.

Taste was upfront moderate bitter grassy hops and light sweet and sour oranges and lemons followed by a strong bitter lemon grass medium to average finish.

Palate was light to medium bodied, slightly creamy, lively carbonated and lightly astringent.

Overall, this a great summer beer with a perfect bitter and sour bite. Kind of like a mix between a czech pilsner and a witbier. Very interesting and relaxing summer brew.

 665 characters

Photo of scaliasux
4.11/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Light yellow. Clear. Tall, sudsy white head. Dissipates quickly, but leaves a little lacing.

Smell - Light. Sweet light malt. A hint of spicy hops.

Taste - Initial maltiness is more robust and complex than suggested by the aroma. Actually quite robust for a pilsener. Ample hops to balance the prominent malt. Floral with a lingering bitterness. Refreshing enough for a hot summer day, but full of taste.

Mouthfeel - Light and crisp. Quite dry.

Drinkability - Sierra Nevalda makes some fine, flavorful beers. This one is no exception. Nice beer for a summer day without being insipid.

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.11/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

a summer beer in the winter? sure.

A- nice 2in creamy puffy white head with good retention leaves sticky clumps of lace as it settles to a soapy disk with floating chunks of foam . a tight stream of champagne like bubbles continuously rise from the bottom of my schlitz pilsener glass through the clear pale golden body.

S- fresh barley, lemony citrus , from the yeast? alcohol, grassy herbal tea like hops.

T- pale malt, granola, lemon balm coming on...then a sharp bitter lemon rind hop smack right in the middle. corn husk, thyme, brewers yeast, pizza dough, with a clean lingering spicy herbal somewhat floral finish.

MF- crisp and slightly juicy. medium carbonation makes for a velvety and astringent feeling.

D- sierra nevada always pulls a high score somewhere, and for this baby it's in the D zone. light, refreshing, it's like budweiser x1000.

 857 characters

Photo of Over9000Gingers
4.11/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome smell, awesome taste. Just great all around. I do have one MAJOR problem with it though... The head is horrible. Almost as bad as Corona! UGH... It is only about 1/4inch and dies after one sip. I am pretty unfamiliar with beer, but I've been doing the 45 degree pour and keep getting horrible foam. The foam is one of the things I love about beer and it's not there! Sad because their pale ale has an excellent head and is my favorite beer. I don't know if pilseners require a special pour or what. But this is still a favorite.

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Photo of fixscott
4.11/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the best pilsner style lagers I have ever had from an American brewery. I wish that it was a year round offering. The "kick back on a summer night" thing I think is more about marketing than anything. It is easy drinking but still quite complex. If you are accustomed to huge IPA's or stouts this may seem like a beginner beer. However, This can stand next to any pilsner in the world and command respect. This is no adjunct lager.

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Photo of BeerWizard
4.11/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've seen this around for years and never bought it because I thought it was just a pale ale or something. But I found out it was a pilsner in the off-season, and I've been addicted to pilsner lately and was excited to give this a try.

Very active with the first pour; took about three pours to get it all into the pilsner glass, where it bubbles like crazy and still has about a half inch of head after a good five minutes. Golden colored and clarified, looks tasty.

Nose is zesty and spicy. Pale citrus notes, malt and hops. Every time I put my nose to the glass I have to taste it, and I'm pretty in love with this beer. Tastes refreshing, leading in with soft malt, finishing with a zing, and leaving behind a very light bitterness at the back of the tongue. Smooth, easy drinking and satisfying, with nice carbonation.

Overall, I could see myself drinking quite a lot of these. I normally drink IPA's and Belgian styles but I do like to have a good lager on hand, and this one fits the bill quite nicely. Win.

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Photo of timontheroad
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a lovely crystal clear golden color, with a big three-finger fluffy white head, great retention and lacing. Light grassy aroma, with that characteristic pilsner noble hop smell. The taste was slightly bitter, with a bit of cracker malt taste as well, again with that nice pilsner taste. The mouthfeel was fairly thin, but very true to style, with an outstanding crisp, dry finish. Once again, Sierra Nevada has put out another outstanding beer. Hats off to them!

 469 characters

Photo of PSUBeerman
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, 2009 edition

Pours a clear golden color with visible carbonation, and a fizzy white head. The head dissipated rather quickly but left some film on top.

Nice aroma, reminds me of a summer brew. Grassy, earthy and some hops.

Great clean and crisp taste, perfect for summer. Slightly dry, but refreshing. Although this is lighter beer, it has a good amount of flavor. Very drinkable, I wish I had gotten this earlier in the summer.

 446 characters

Photo of illpass78
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear straw with heavy carbonation and a two-finger fluffy white head. Some nice lacing on the way down. I love the look of a good pilsner and this one has it.

Aroma: The beer smells of grass, hops, and biscuit. There's also an odd note of corn that is very slight but noticeable. It's not off-putting but slightly surprising.

Taste: The taste is classic pilsner. Nice dry finish to compliment a grassy flavor. The taste basically follows the nose, minus that corny note.

Mouthfeel: Nice and light, as a summer lager should be, but not watery or overly thin.

Overall: This is a terrific pilsner. I'd have this during any season, but it's certainly great as a summer seasonal.

 743 characters

Photo of natasharai
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured with an off white fizzy/foamy head that dissipated fairly quickly leaving a very little lacing at the top of my glass. The beer is crystal clear with a medium toned yellow gold color.

Smell: Light floral, yeasty, slight metallic aroma, and some grassy smell. When it warms it smells like slightly rotten apple juice

Taste: Very refreshing, some citrus hops, bittersweet floral hops, some lightly sweet lightly toasted malt.

Mouthfeel: Light body, crisp carbonation, a small hop bitterness, some sticky film left over but overall a quite refreshing feeling.

Overall: Really drinkable, nice crisp refreshing flavor and mouthfeel. This is the kind of beer you just drink and enjoy on a hot day, not much to really admire in the appearance or smell.

 769 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Rustico - Alexandria. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a clear straw color with plenty of visible carbonation and a nice white head. Some decent lacing on the way down. The nose brings a good dose of Noble hops as well as some fresh grain. The hops are key here and add a real zest to this. Nice floral characteristics. A bit of straw and grain in the background. Nice and crisp, this is a really easy-drinking brew.

 421 characters

Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Bright transparent golden yellow body with medium carbonation and little head. A ring of bubbles remains on the side of the glass.

Smell: Good. Not a lot to smell other than basic barley malts matched with a mildly zesty bouquet of floral hops. There are possibly some noble hops in here. The beer gives off a mild champagne aroma.

Taste: Very good. I taste grain and hay along with an aromatic blend of floral hops. It is very Pilsner like. This beer taste refreshing and finishes bitter despite some dryness. I also note a sweet citrus quality thought it isn't a major part of the mix.

Mouthfeel: Light and refreshing. Medium carbonation. Slight grain abrasiveness.

Overall: This is a fantastic drinkable lager. I wish Sierra Nevada made this beer year round.

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Photo of SWMeyer4141
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance-Pale straw color with a 2 finger bubbly white head. Some lacing clings but goes away fairly quickly. Definitely looks refreshing.

Smell-Very earthy, little biscuity, and some nice citrus. Very inviting especially on a hot summer day.

Taste-Piney, earthy hops up front, very smooth. Finish is very citrusy and sweet. Nice on the palate

Mouthfeel-Medium bodied with closer to high carbonation. Clean finish

Overall-Very refreshing. Awesome summer beer. Extremely soothing after a long day of work.

 510 characters

Photo of jamesdergen
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Edition

A: Pours a light honey color with an ample off-white foamy head. Pretty standard here.

S: One of the few beers that you can smell before you take a sniff. Aromas of tart fruits and wheat.

T: Smooth wheat flavors with some nutty grains in the backing. Some faint medicinal hop presence in the background, but harder to pick up. I think I may also detect some tart fruit flavors (white grape, green apple) but they are not dominant by any means.

M&D: Very smooth, refreshing taste. Perfect for a hot summer day, too bad I drank it on a cool summer evening! I only bought a single of this brew to try, but I would love another one.

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 4,122 ratings.
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