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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,576 | Ratings: 4,136
Photo of Grindelvasdrum
4.16/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into glass stein.
A-Clear gold with one finger white head, excellent lacing.
S- Mild malt & mild hop.
T- A big spicy peppery hop flavor but not really that bitter mind you, just distinctively hop, balanced by a mildly sweet malt.
M-Big carbonation, light body, very clean & crisp, slight astringency.
O- Great summer beer! What else did I expect from Sierra Nevada?

 380 characters

Photo of AleMan66
2.98/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I poured this from a bottle into a clear teardrop glass. It pours a clear golden with a one finger white head. The smell is a bit skunky. I'm not seeing that others have made that same observation. The taste is spicy and hoppy, very average. I'm not impressed.

 265 characters

Photo of StoutElk_92
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 03/15/16

Pours clear straw yellow with a frothy white foam head. Smells skunky and citrusy with lemon and orange peels, biscuity cracker, honey grains, some apple and pears, with floral earthy grass and pine. Tastes like lemony orange citrus, honey malt, bready grain sweetness, some biscuity cracker, mild green pear and apple, surprising tobacco-like spice, with floral pine and dank earthy grass. Feels medium bodied, creamy with moderate low carbonation. Overall a real nice, crisp and refreshing Czech-style lager.

 533 characters

Photo of OldSwampy
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color quite pale straw yellow with a moderate white head. Nose reticent, typical mild lager profile. Taste is rather reticent as well - it is nicely balanced and refreshing, but surprisingly nondescript. I can't say that it gives me any reason to search it out again. I enjoy Czech pilseners, and love Saaz hops, but this one simply doesn't have the character of the best of the class. Bottle says "PKGD 04/18/16" and I drank it on 17 May, so freshness was not the problem.

 473 characters

Photo of Alan_Bats
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

L- Very light and clear. If it weren't for the nice frothy head, it would appear like a light beer.
S- Not very aromatic but it is nice that both hop and malt aromas come through.
T- Very crisp. Really a great balance of hops and maltiness. Hops are on the citrusy side and the malt gives a nice aftertaste
F- Light bodied but still extremely crisp
O- Sometimes it is hard to find a summer seasonal with much flavor. This beer makes up for a bland look and smell with good balanced flavors.

 491 characters

Photo of FBarber
3.94/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours a light clear crisp golden hue. Thick pillowy white head slowly dissipates leaving tons of sticky lacing and a thin white film on the top of the beer.

Smell is a nice aromatic blend of bready malts, sweet honey, and crackers. Slight floral undertones from the hops.

Taste follows the nose with a blend of bready malts, fresh baked bread, and cracker, with a slight honey like sweetness. Slightly spicy on the back end giving way to a mild hop bitterness on the aftertaste provides a nice balance to the mild sweetness.

Feel is very smooth, crisp and supremely drinkable. Mild carbonation.

Overall, a wonderful summer beer. Nice Czech Pilsner - perhaps a bit sweet for the style, but one of the better American examples. Every year this is one of my go to warm weather beers.

 792 characters

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.

 326 characters

Photo of 81tillinfinity
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nothing better than a nice crisp pilsner to shake up the mundane (not!) Life of a beer geek. What's not to like? "Oh but it's not a barrel aged sour?" To you I say, "sir, you do not like beer."

 193 characters

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.

 669 characters

Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 04/18/16

L- Clear, golden, and gorgeous. The head is fairly restrained at about 1 finger high and is bone white. Lacing is absent.
S-Pretty clean nose of bready malts and muted hop presence.
T- No earthshattering discoveries here just what you would expect. Bready malts and a balanced hop presence make this beer exactly what you would want during or after a long day in the sun. Crisp, clean, and refreshing as advertised.
F- The carbonation is prickly but restrained. The overall mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium. There is a real smoothness behind the prickly carbs which make this really enjoyable.
O- This beer is exactly as designed and promised. Perfect for a hot summer day. Makes all that yardwork worth it.

 742 characters

Photo of BrewsingBuffalo
3.76/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz Bottle. Dated 03/17/16.

L- Pours a pale golden color, with a small, soapy white head. Clear. Minimal lacing. The head recedes to a thin collar of foam that lasts throughout.

S- Grassy, slightly sweet malt, spicy hops. Fairly subtle and straightforward.

T- Slightly sweet, bready, grassy, and spicy flavors dominant, but I get subtle hints of citrus (lemon) and corn (DMS?)

F- Light bodied, crisp, and easy to drink. Medium-high carbonation- quite lively.

O- As advertised. Crisp and easy drinking. Fits the bill very well for a hot weather refresher. I'd love it in cans.

 581 characters

Photo of Jraiona
3.29/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured aggressively into a Pilsner glass. The color was a crystal clear pale yellow with a thick frothy head that dissipated and some slight lacing. I did not pick up much from the aroma but I am a newbie and not sure of the nuances to be looking for. There was a nice level of sweetness which gave way to a well balancing bitterness on the back end. Definitely a beer I could spend a lazy summer afternoon with.

 412 characters

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

12 oz bottle. Pours a very light, pale yellow with a fairly thin white head. Good aroma with no sulfur. Light mouthfeel. Solid flavor with no real flaws. A great brew to drink on a summer day.

 193 characters

Photo of THSdrummer
3.64/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, pale yellow. Thin white head that dissipates quickly. No lacing left behind either. The aroma evokes memories of float trips and the canned beer that comes along with it. Subtle notes of citrus, and spicy hops give it a little more oomph and complexity. Citrus, spicy hop notes, with a little bit of malt round out this simple beer. Feel is crisp, and a bit harsh in the carbonation. Thin consistency. Overall, it's a beer that is at home on a hot, sunny day. Particularly one to be thrown back in gulps in order to calm the heat rather than analysis the nuances.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

 606 characters

Photo of BrokenEdge
3.09/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Surprised this is ranked so highly, I enjoy lagers but found this one underwhelming and the worst offering I've had from SN yet. Body is bright yellow gold with an initially fluffy head that quickly disappears to a light ring of foam. Almost zero lacing. Smells like apples and slightly spicy yeast. Taste is very sweet, with little hop bitterness to balance it. Lots of corn and grain type flavors, very reminiscent of Coors Light to me. Just a little hint of grassy hops and spicy yeast, but an almost overwhelming buttered popcorn type taste. Flavor is overall lacking and just a half step above a typical macro beer, imo. Feel is thin, watery, and highly carbonated, yet the sweetness makes it feel a lot heavier than it is. By the time I was finished with my glass, I felt like I'd drank a huge and heavy stout. Finish is a persistent sweetness and isn't very dry or crisp at all. I guess this would be a good intro to craft for someone used to drinking AALs, but I just found it to be an average at best lager.

 1,016 characters

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

 218 characters

Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
4.14/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly underrated in my opinion, just because it's a "fizzy yellow beer". Some of the reviewers here don't seem to understand the style of Czech Pilsener. At least the Bros are on point.

This is like an american macro lager, only done right, and with none of the BS adjuncts.

Pours a crystal clear pale yellow with a three finger head that fizzles away revealing moderate lacing.

The aroma is very tame but inviting nonetheless. Clean, grassy hops amongst a backdrop of sweet crystal malt and a mild green apple smell. Nothing fancy, but good for a pils.

At first sip a sour apple flavor hits you but only for a second. That quickly turns into a dry floral hop bite. The slight bitterness of the hops meld with the cracker like savoriness of the light malt to provide a sweet and crisp finish.

Sort of a cotton candy aftertaste...

This is a very clean tasting and approachable beer for new people who are not quite ready for ales, porters and stouts.

Regardless of that however, this is a beer that will satisfy even a craft beer geek's taste. That is to say as long as their tastebuds aren't "too sophisticated" for the style.

I really liked this one, I'll definitely buy it again if I was in a pinch for craft beer, but there are a few other lawnmower craft options I'd prefer over this.

 1,299 characters

Photo of Wiffler27
3.82/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

pours gold with a solid head. a nice pils.

smell is plain. nothing great but nothing bad, a good thing for a Pils.

taste is crisp with noble hop bitterness. not bad but not the best pilsner either. good price, would only buy this again if in cans.

 249 characters

Photo of Squire123
4.14/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Light yellow with bright white cap and fine lacing.

Aroma: Rich malt and floral hops, very pleasant perfume. Rich malt without being strong or cloying, hint of sweetness with an overall impression of freshness.

Taste: Malt forward with hops singing the high notes. Rich without being heavy, complex without being complicated, malt with a touch of sweetness and hops with a touch of spice. Very clean finish with malt and hops skipping hand in hand all the way. No hint of bitterness in the finish, just a nice, pleasant fading away.

Texture: Full enough, rich enough, balance hits it right on the mark.

Overall: Very pleasing beer suitable for anytime of the year. Just wish I could get it in cans

 724 characters

Photo of GilsonPNWBL
4.27/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

My 12 oz bottle was created on 3/28/16 - Standard pub glass

Look - Nice golden color with a good looking white head after pouring that stays through about half of the beer.

Smell - Sweet and aromatic. Not too much to get excited about here. Nice light honey smells and sweet yeast smells.

Taste - Great for a pilsner with awesome flavors of hops and crisp golden finish. Sweet malt is the prevalent flavor in this beer. Very smooth and easy to drink with a light bitterness.

Feel - Refreshing on a hot day, one of my go to summer beers. Love the effervescence on the back of the palette. Easy to drink and the feel is really awesome.

Overall - One of my favorite beers for the summer. Nice hops but easy to drink. Go to when the sun is out in Seattle. Which it isn't today, but i'm still drinking it!

 809 characters

Photo of Dravin
3.96/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. bottled on date of 3/22/16.

Look -- Pours with two fingers of head atop a crystal clear straw body.

Smell -- Biscuity malt and grass noble hops with some hints of floralness and spiciness from the hops coming through here and there.

Taste -- As the nose but joined with a nice bracing bitterness that lingers briefly and a hint of grain sweetness from the malt. A very faint mineral character makes itself known here.

Feel -- Crisp and refreshing due to a light body and active carbonation which keep it light on the palate. It's dry but not amazingly so and certainly not compared to some German Pils like Jever. All in all the mouthfeel is spot on.

Overall -- A delightful Czech Pils. I prefer it to Nooner and I'm greatly appreciative that the diacetyl that can manifest itself in the style isn't present.

 862 characters

Photo of Wer34truh
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful clear golden color, with moderate visible carbonation, and a very lively looking cloudy head. Quite heavy lacing, consisting of a multitude small bubbles. Looks great.

Smells of sweet malt, floral notes, and some subtle hops.

Taste is full of quite noticeable hops, with a metallic and floral aftertaste. There is also some subtle corn and general sweetness towards the taste end of this. Mouthfeel is light and crisp, with optimal, yet quite modest carbonation for the style.

This is an excellent example of the style. Picked up a 6-pack for $8 before tax. Poured into a tonic pint glass.

 611 characters

Photo of BeerBobber
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2016 Summerfest pours a clear gold with streaming bubbles and a soapy looking white head. Lots of lacing down the glass.

Smell is white bread, biscuits and some hops hiding in there as well. Something just a bit towards that skunk smell.

Taste is like a clean lager with no adjuncts. Just a hint of hops here. That slight, ever so slight skunk is in the taste. Is this something that is used to make Czech style pilsners?

Mouth feel is fairly light with a nice crisp finish. Very easy drinking!

Overall I still question if that is some European ingredient that is used that causes that faint skunk smell and taste. This is a dark bottle that was in a sealed dark cardboard box. The beer was not adversely effected by sunlight at any time before I drank it. That complaint aside this is a very easy drinking and refreshing beer.

 832 characters

Photo of Lagerlivesmatter
3.96/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very good. A bit too subdued as a Czech pilsner, could almost pass for a Helles Lager but a bit too hoppy for that. Had the same gripe with the Nooner Pils. Nevertheless a very good lager and I prefer it to the Nooner. A straightfoward , quality, easy drinking Pilsner.

 269 characters

Photo of Stevedore
4.04/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2016 seasonal release. Served into a Willi-Becher glass.

Pours a clear dark yellow body, one finger white head, effervescent and appropriate in retention, looks clean and refreshing. Thin film and collar. Smells of bread, lemon, grain, grassy and floral noble hops. Very clean and strong overall aroma. Flavour is grassy, bread, a bit of floral notes, touch of lemon, cereal grain. Wonderfully easy to drink, medium body, crisp and refreshing as befitting the name. An above average Czech pilsner that meets the description of 'crisp lager' to a T.

 562 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.