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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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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: 4,124
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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Pours a stray yellow with maybe a hint of amber, a finger of white foam. Low bubble column activity.

Smells of grassiness and a sharp twang of hops that almost snaps in front of your nose.

Taste is superb for the style. Malty backbone, but finishes dry and tight thanks to the noble hops. Crisp beyond belief. Dry finish you'd expect from a good pils.

Mouthfeel is all crispness and a dry finish thanks to the hops.

Overall excellent. This is a great pils, one I will buy again, and one any fan of the style should check out.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

One word for this beer: crisp. It has a nice snap to it as you sip and its very refreshing. It may not be as extreme as other beer styles out there but this one is great to have on a nice, hot day. I have yet to be let down from this brewery and they seem to tackle all assortments of styles with ease.

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Photo of Stubbie1
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a nice golden colored beer. It gave off a frothy whitehead and left a patchy sticky lace to the end of my beer. The aroma was light and refreshing. Hints of pepper and citrus are noted with a light malt aroma left behind. The taste is refreshing; mainly malt to start with a nice flavor of the hops coming in at the end for the finish. Another beer that I will keep on hand and another r fine brew form the folks from Sierra Nevada. Thanks to Scooter77 for dropping this one off while taking my old beer bottles to his house for his oatmeal stout.

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Photo of dhannes
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured chilled into a Perfect Pint.

A=Medium gold...slightly darker than adjunct lagers. Head was white and reached one finger, but dissipated within a minute.

S=Almost none...hint of lemon perhaps.

T=First sip blew me away (in a good way)--crisp with a hint of citrus--like other pilseners but with more flavor and a hint of citrus/lemon. As it warmed up, the malt came through. A bit of aftertaste, but not overwhelming.

M=Very drinkable...good session beer. Light carbonation.

O=I will definitely try this again, as this is now the leading candidate for my summer seasonal beer--light but flavorful.

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

12oz bottle into pisner glass.

Crystal clear light straw color with a two finger bright white head that settles to a thin cap.

Light and biscuity malts, along with slighty sharp hop aromas - very grassy.

The malts are light and sweet in the flavor, allowing for a good balance of some moderately spicy hops.

Nothing too complex, but it's a refreshing lager that hits the spot. Very good in the summer. Recommended.

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

Appearance: A clear, golden-straw colored body with a generous and bubbly white head on top that leaves good lacing. This certainly looks the part.

Aroma: Grassy, herbal, and lemony Saaz hops over pale malt. Quite crisp.

Taste: Much the same story here. Classic Saaz hop character over a pale malt body with some wheat-like flavors added to the mix. The aftertaste is not long lived, and tastes of pale malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied with moderate carbonation. Crisp and clean with a dry finish.

Drinkability: Quite the quencher, this would be excellent on a Summer's day.

Verdict: Summerfest is just a solid, tasty American version of the classic Czech Pilsener. I'd love to slip one of these to one of my macro drinking buddies and see what they thought of it.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz picked up a couple days ago for about $1.30.. Label is different this year... Blue border and the "Bottom Fermented" is gone.. instead, "Lager" is printed beneath the Summerfest banner. Poured into my shaped Sam Adams glass.

Rocky head that I was able to get to tower one inch above the lip of the glass without ever spilling a drop. Head drops leaving only spotty lacing. brew is crystal clear straw gold.

Aroma is pale malts with more than enough spicy hops.. smells very clean.

Flavor is very clean.. grainy maltiness.. nice hop bitterness backbone.. midpalate mildly doughy grains with spicy/slightly floral hop flavors.. Again.. very clean.. body is perfect for the style.. Finish lingers for a while.. playing pingpong back and forth between the hops and malts.

I could drink buckets of these.. the problem is, I never gave it too much play until this year. I've had my fair share of Summerfest over the years and never put too much thought into it... this year, with the label change, I did a little research and decided to give it a proper go around. Really, it is a damn good pilsner .. I now am very interested in picking up the other locally available Czech Pils and trying in a row... I would bet this plays ball well with its European brothers.

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Photo of pweis909
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear yellow lager with a 1-inch foam cushion that recedes to lace glass. Smells initially of honey, floral nectar and spicy hops. Malt contributes to initial sweet taste sensations but the beer finishes with a crisp dry bitterness. Sierra Nevada shows some versatility, branching out from their cascade-hopped ales to nail down a pilsner!

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Photo of Parmesan
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Straw gold color with a small creamy head with about half an inch remaining on top, no lacing and lots of carbonation bubbles.

S: Spicy noble hops, white bread and grassy malt.

T: Very clean, grassy and white bread, lots of spicy floral hops, finishes pretty dry. Very good lager.

F: Light, crisp and very easy drinking.

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Photo of mpyle
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Ap Golden and brilliantly clear. Modest white head with some creaminess and retention. Coarse, cola like carbonation bubbles

Ar. Soft nose, malt, sulfur, minimal hop. Mostly clean. More noble hops (spicy/herbal) as warms.

Flav. A bit of malt sweetness and some spicy noble hop flavors up front. Clean flavor profile. Finishes with some gentle bitterness.

Mf. Med body and med high carb. Very unobtrusive mouthfeel.

Overall Flavor and aroma not quite up with best of style, but a super drinkable seaonal lager from Sierra Nevada. As warms up seems a bit like an American Pilsner Urquel

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 4,124 ratings.
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