Sierra Nevada Summerfest | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

4,191 Ratings
Sierra Nevada SummerfestSierra Nevada Summerfest

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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Ratings: 4,191 |  Reviews: 1,597
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of WMEugene
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Slightly hazy golden color, but see through in parts. Nice head that dissipates rather rapidly once it calms down. Faint lacing.

S - Nice light malts and grassy/floral hops. A few notes of citrus, particularly lemon.

T - Nice Pilsner taste that strikes a balance between hops and malts. Slightly aggressive in the hops, which is nice for this style. Undercurrent of citric flavor.

M - Medium bodied, crisp. Cuts a little in the mouth - not bad, but not as smooth as one would hope.

O - Sierra Nevada Summerfest is an enjoyable summer lager that will quench your thirst. Nothing outstanding, but solidly put together.

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Photo of stephenlee
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of beeragent
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle. The beer pours a light hazy gold. 1/4 inch head that faded quickly, with light spots of lace. The aroma is light hops and grain. The taste is light hops, a hint of malt thickness, and a slight grassy finish. Light mouthfeel and smooth finish. Overall, this is a very easy crisp pilsner. High drinkability. I'm looking forward to having a few of these on one of those hot Texas summer days.

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Photo of Sam-VW
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Pint glass.

A - Yellow/Golden with a thick white head that dissipates quickly to a ring around the glass. Small pieces of head float in the middle. Small dotty lacing.

S - sweet malt aroma, subtle banana, crisp noble hops. Some citrus and floral notes in the background.

T - Some biscuit, bread, lightly fruity and spicy. Floral finish with some grass.

M - Medium to high carbonation expected from this style. Finishes very crisp but starts very dry.

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Photo of Malone47
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%

Photo of Agentveba
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of nickfl
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of cjgiant
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap:
Nice golden, crystal clear, but the head only ends up with the thinnest ring (tap pour, so can't tell build up before).

Grassy to hay-like, herb bread, lager yeast detectable. Light metallic note.

Light bread malt - almost a white bread like note, with its light sweetness. Balanced quite early by the neutral to grassy bitterness. Stays pretty balanced through mid taste, but the bitterness takes over. It becomes grassy and slightly metallic.

Crisp, light, straightforward a beer that leaves my palate with just a light bitter tingle, requesting another sip.

Definitely a good beer to grab when actually thirsty. A beer it would take a few to get tired of. It does fade a little in enjoyment for me as it warms, though. Luckily it's pleasant enough to drink that it is unlikely to get too warm too often.

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Photo of Philousa
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very clear pale yellow with little foam that sinks back down with each sip. Light seems to pass through the glass, doesn't really catch anything in the beer itself. Aroma starts with very floral hops, then slightly pungent yeast, and bright, light lager malt. Very classic for the style. Light, crisp, honey kissed malt greets the tongue. Tangy yeast yields to somewhat bitter hops. I get some fresh cut grass/pulled weed taste, as well as sugary floral nectar. Feel is balanced as is the finish.

Very good beer when you want a quality pils. No part is a standout, but together they all mix to become a somewhat unique beer. It's like Voltron for your mouth.

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Photo of WeymouthMike
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this as a mix 6 of summer beers, not ever looking at the label to check the style. Appearance is a clean light yellow that is typical of american light beers. Very little head even with an aggresive pour. A bit of lemon and whole lot of wheat apparent in the nose. One sip and you can tell they nailed the pilsner style. Usually I am not a giant fan of pilsners but this is probably the best pilsner I can remember having. Mouthfeel is light with some carbonation and a dry finish.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 350ml bottle with a BB of April 2013. 2012 vintage (heh). Picked up recently from Trembling Madness in York.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A bright pale-yellow hue with faint haze and light carbonation. Forms a decent head of creamy white foam that lasts for a few minutes before dissipating. Aroma of light malt with subtle notes of floral hops and citrus. A hint of grain and noble hop character. Nice.

Tastes of light malt with a crisp bitter finish. Notes of faint grain, mild citrus, aromatic noble hops and stewed hops. Dry, with a suggestion of sweetness and a slighty spicy quality. A restrained bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is light, smooth and tingly, with good body for the style. Somewhat astringent, with an aftertaste of bitter aromatic hops.

Tasty - a quality lager. The flavour/aroma is subtle but nicely balanced and drinkable. Good malt, and the hop aroma has a citrus edge to it. An unmistakeable 'SN' aroma lurks in the background - perhaps the yeast strain? At any rate, worthy of your time. Grab one if you see it.

 1,052 characters

Photo of Ben1313
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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 zimm421
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Appears a clear pale yellow with a nice thick white head.

Smells somewhat of hops and spiciness, but the malts are strong in the back as well. Taste is similar with a nice strong malt presence to hold up the hops, which have a small amount of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is very light and sits at about an average level of carbonation. Very easy to drink and very sessionable. Picked up a 6 pack to start off vacation and it works great at the end of a hot day on the beach.

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Photo of Superheatnsubcool
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of CBlack85
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24 oz. bottle into a dimpled mug.

Pours a clear golden straw color with about three fingers worth of white foamy head. Good head retention and leaves very little lacing. Lots of carbonation bubbles rising to the top throughout the life of the beer.

Grainy and bready notes with some grassy and floral notes as well. I also get some lemony notes

Bready malts and lemony and herbal hops seem very well balanced. Some grainyness and finishes dry. Tastes very clean and crisp. Medium/light bodied and well carbinated. Very easy to drink and refreshing. Great summer beer

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Photo of fx20736
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Pilsener Glass.

Poured yielded a bright gold with seltzer like carbonation and a two finger ivory white head. The almost total lack of lacing detracted from me scoring it higher on the appearance scale.

Aroma: Classic Pilsener aroma with bready malt & floral hops.

Mouthfeel: medium feel, which considering the high level of carbonation is surprising.

Taste: Bready malt with a faint herbal hoppiness on the back end, leaving a perfumy, floral hop bitterness which lingers for a moment and is gone.

Notes: My first SN beer and I am quite surprised at how modestly hopped this beer is. This doesn't fit my imagination of what West Coast beer is (but then again Anchor Steam surprised me too.). I guess my first reaction is disappointment, expecting more with bolder hoppiness. However I next am in awe of the sheer drinkability and balance of this beer. Not as bold as Troegs or Brooklyn, this beer is utterly and seductively sessionable. At 5% abv this is a beer that one could down bottle after bottle on a Summer day and all through the evening. What a pleasure to drink.

 1,112 characters

Photo of PaulSlazinger
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of johnrobe
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew has long been my lawnmower beer of choice; just perfect for slaking your thirst on a hot summer day. It pours a solid 14k gold with a voluminous frothy white head. The aroma is of lightly kilned malt, herbal/grassy hops and just a hint of lemon. This brew is nicely balanced. I taste light malt which has, if only for an instant, a vanilla-like sweetness. Herbal hops and some cereal-tasting grain are also present as well as just a slight citrusy twist on the finish. Not overly complex, but it shouldn't be. Recommend this one to your macro-swilling friends. You just might convert them.

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Photo of danreitz
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a mason jar. Appears a slightly cloudy gold with a foamy, quick-dying head. Aroma is bright and malty. Immediate hop flavor followed by a slinky citrus flavor. Finishes lightly bitter with a bite that gets stronger after you've taken a sip. The citrus flavor gets slightly less prominent as the beer warms. It's very bubbly on the tongue and light-bodied.

An easy-drinking, bright-tasting lager. Complex enough to please my palate, but refreshing and light enough to throw back a few. Recommended.

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Photo of rypkr
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Groomsy
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

Appearance: Classic pilsner appearance - clear and transparent golden yellow with active, lively carbonation and a fluffy/slightly soapy head of three-fingers consistency, eventually dwindling down to a full cap of foam and leaving occasional loose lacing down the glass. Retention and lacing were fair at best, but the carbonation stayed persistent through the session.

Smell: Again, classic pilsner. Nails the style, but doesn't necessarily add anything. The spicy and floral notes from the Noble hops are definitely present, if a little more faint than expected - even so, the nose on this is bolder than most pilsners I've had. The malt shows up in the form of some grainy sweetness and some pils malt. There's just a smidge of citrus that appears, and lemon comes to mind. Very well done. Mild but enticing.

Taste: Mirrors the nose almost exactly. The malt presence has a little bit of buttery flavor to it, but doesn't overwhelm the palate. The hops are in focus here, and the trademark pils flavors are all here: The spiciness, floral notes, and subtle bitterness from the hops balanced by bready and grainy flavors from the malt. SN nailed what a pilsner should taste like. They didn't amp it or change it, but they made a simple, balanced, and enjoyable pils. For that, I can't complain.

Mouthfeel: Probably the lightest beer from SN I've had so far. Light bodied with crisp carbonation, a slightly dry finish, and subtle lingering flavors of lemon on the back of the palate.

Overall: They've made a consistent, highly drinkable pils for the right time of year. Sure, it's not breaking ground, but what it does, it does well. Excellent summer beer, but certainly not the best summer seasonal or even SN's best seasonal. Take it for what it is: Simple, clean, refreshing, and tasty.

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Photo of modernartblues
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love this beer and often drink it straight out of the bottle (I know its a sin). Its a great summer beer with its delicious crisp pilsner taste. Immensely quaffable, this is my go to summer seasonal. I love SN and this one is def. not an exception.

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. No date, just 2011 on the neckband.

Appearance - Visible sediment floating in the bottle. Pours slightly hazy yellow body. White head with good retention and stick.

Smell - Honey, citrus, and wet hay. Bready.

Taste - Light citrus. Hop. Honey sweet. Skunky. Some alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied. Frothy head adds plenty of creaminess. Not exactly crisp as it claims to be on the bottle.

Overall Drinkability - Decent. Easy to drink. No real off characters. Nothing special; not bad.

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 4,191 ratings.
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