Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

4,146 Ratings
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: 1,581 | Ratings: 4,146
Photo of Soilworker
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: Pale Golden yellow with a thick head that dissipates quickly.

Smell: Very clean aroma. Floral notes dominate the bulk of the nose accompanied by light fruity smells (almost like fruity pepples). Light hay/malt is present as well.

Taste: Very light and crisp; lager style malts dominate after a hit of light fruity and hops (florally and minimally bitter) taste.

Mouthfeel: Very refreshing and crisp. Could definitely see drinking this one a hot summer day.

Drinkability: As mentioned before this beer exceptionally refreshing and would definitely see drinking this on a nice summer day.

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Photo of nota
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gold color filled my glass. Nice white frothy head that dissipates into lacing. Good hop presence, grain, grass taste. Dry bitter finish. Soft carbonation, medium body. I wish I would of bought more than one. Easy drinking without sacrificing flavor.

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Photo of scottblaze
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a sixer, never tried this before.

Nothing particularly outstanding about the appearance, pretty much like a macro, thin head goes away fairly quickly, a little lacing. Smell is grassy floral, citrus, a little ginger. Tastes a little citrusy, maybe some lemon, lots of hoppy bite and lingers for a bit. Tingly mouthfeel. Easy enough to drink but when it comes to hoppy brews my favorites are elsewhere. If a little maltier, flavour wise this could almost pass for an IPA, Czech Pilsner? hmmm.... try another one and think about it.

Edit: Opened another, drank slowly, trying not to think about it too much, it is more complex than I first gave it credit for. Either that or I'm getting a buzz going.

Edit #2: My initial IPA comparison was completely wrong. Although hoppy, the bottom end is completely different ... dry.
This one threw me off, not really crazy about it. Summer refresher?,,,not me so much.

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Photo of micmillon18
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pilsner glass.

A - Pours a clear straw yellow color with a big bubbly head that dissipates quickly. Lots of lacing.

S - Sweet grains, spicy hops, and some light grassy scents.

T - More sweet malt hit the pallet along with a nice spiciness bitterness from the hops. Light citrus notes, similar to lemon, along with bitter hops finish and continue into the aftertaste. I feel at times that the malt out weights the hops though I'm undecided if this has any adverse effect. A pretty clean and tasty flavor.

M - Crisp and clean.

O - Sierra Nevada creates another well rounded brew. Nothing earth shattering but a good session brew and despite its name, one for year round.

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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 DeepSix
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Almost 2 bottles into a 23oz mug club mug...what? I barely can find a use for it. Not a huge head here, a little bit more darker then I'm used to for this style. Don't get me wrong, its light, but a bit more amber and less clear yellow.

Not much smell here, for me. Light grass notes, but no floral hop notes that IS tasted. Some lemon there too.

A crisp semi-sweet malt taste, hit midway through a hop presence that makes itself known.

The light body you'd expect, along with some fairly moderate amount of carbonation.

This a pretty drinkable summer beer. Not really the best czech I've had but I looked on the bottle, it doesn't really have that word anyway, just "lager", so ya know why not give em a break. Not quite low enough ABV for session but close em to drink a bunch of em on a hot day.

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Photo of Gruntlumber
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm amazed at how varied the reviews are for this beer. Some call it "too heavy", even though it's one of the lightest micros I've ever had. Some say "too bitter, hoppy", even though there is barely a trace of hoppiness in my opinion. Some say it tastes like Bud. Some say it tastes like SN's Pale Ale. Maybe this brew varies a lot from year to year, because I disagree with many of these comments.

This is definitly a pilsner-style lager: pours very light and has a nice refreshing aroma with a hint of hoppiness. If I tasted this blind, I would say it tastes like Pilsner Urquell, one of the best lagers out there. I want to taste the two side-by-side because the similarities are many. Summerfest has a fresher, cleaner taste however, probably because it IS fresher than the imported PU. I thought this was a great brew. Lagers are never really high on my list because they are all so similar, but given the choice I'd take this anyday over most other lagers.

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Photo of Lepley
2.83/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark yellow in appearance, with mild carbonation, and very little head. Has a light grainy smell and is sweet to taste with a slight bitterness and citrus to it's aftertaste. A pretty watery and light beer. I would say it's very drinkable though not overly impressive.

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Photo of AmishT
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a brilliant golden-yellow with a nice white head that doesn't retain for very long. Some nice champagne-like bubbles rise to the surface.

S - Bold, bready, malty sweetness is the most prevalent aroma, with some faint spicy hops in the background. A very pleasant and inviting character one, which is good because this is a Summer Seasonal. Interesting nose, for sure. I was expecting a stronger hop character.

T - Well the flavors aren't nearly as bold as the aromas; not very complex either. Right off the bat, a feeble balanced malt and hoppy flavor is overwhelmed by the strong carbonation of the brew. Some lemon flavor is present. A nice earthy hop finish is present, but I would definitely enjoy stronger hop flavors.

M - As mentioned before, very strong carbonation. Light-medium bodied. Not watery, but not much flavor. Pretty smooth. Some dry earthy hop flavor coats the palate after swallowing.

D - While it isn't the most flavorful beer, the light body and nice earthy hop finish bolster its drinkability. Definitely a crisp and refreshing summer brew.

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Photo of RickKrumenacker
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- clear, crisp straw colored...head quickly disappates...leaves a nice cap

S- lemon rind is the first thing that I notice...some grassy notes sneak in there as well...little bit of a skunky funk, but it somehow seems OK

T- Grassy and earthy...some peppery notes as well

M- sweetness up front...bittering on the back and sides of the tongue...very active carbonation

D- refreshing...a good summer beer

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Photo of jhollick
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

2006 Edition:

Presentation/Appearance: Poured a deep but clear gold/straw color, with lots of carbonation rushing to the surface. 1" head that lingered for a while.

Smell: Faint hint of lemon and spice, but mostly grain and hop.

Mouthfeel: Light and slick, but as expected for the style; lots of carbonation.

Taste: Crisp and refreshing. This is a pretty highly-hopped Pilsner. It has a very refreshing flavor. Lemon and grapefruit mix with the grains and hop flavors. There is little to no malt presence. There is a little bit of a barn-ish flavor/smell, which reminds me of some flavors from a Saison. There is a fusel smell and taste that comes out a bit as the beer warms.

Overall: I'm not a pilsner expert, but I like this. The hops were a welcome treat. I guess I haven't had too many Czech Pilsners. This is also a VERY drinkable beer. The rest of this six pack could easily be gone soon, but I'll get into trouble if I do that. Nice effort from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of Jinholic
3.4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Golden straw body clear as day no head on it though.

Smell - Grainy and citrus up front clear lemon peel in this. Smells of summer which is nice when its 108 out.

Taste - Slight lemon on at first thats buried by the hops and malts in the middle and the finish brings all the lemon back out at once for a crisp citrusy end.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and very light bodied, clean finish not dry at all.

Overall - Refreshing for a summer evening but not all that tasty leaves me wanting more. That said go grab one and see for yourself.

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Photo of beakerboy
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A selection from Liquor Barn's Ultimate Brew Crew June '06-Summer Seasonal Beers

A:Pours a golden amber color with a 1/4 inch of thick foamy head. Significant carbonation

S: Plesant Sazz hop and sweet malt characteristics dominate.

T: This beer has a good pepperyness from the hops.

M: Better than most lagers. More body than a Euro Pale Lager or American Macro.

D: I think this is the first good american lager I've had! I'll make sure to have a few on hand the next time friends visit.

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Photo of talkinghatrack
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Light beer color and perfectly clear. Thin head.

S - Crisp with a hoppy sour and a little metal. Nice summer ale scent

T - Is "refreshing" a taste? The usual subdued sweet and sour of a summer ale that finishes on the sour side.

M - Smooth and mouth-coating with a good bite of carbonation that doesn't push past the sip into the swallow. The medium body is surprising for its clear look.

D - A solid cookout beer. Might get a little too sour for the occasion if I tried to session them. But standard cookout procedure is to go with 2-3 tasty beers up front and switch over to the lighter side so no harm there.

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Photo of Farewell_Transmission
4.32/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 bottle.

a- nice head, very light white colored beer. Head fades quickly.

s- smells as if you are in a garden. Very fitting for the style of beer.

t- strong hops flavor very up front in it's flavor.

m- what you would expect from a czech pilsener.

o- this is a very fine beer for a weekend afternoon, preferable with 90+ degrees temperatures.

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Photo of risendragon
2.98/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

From a 6 pack bought with surplus grocery money. I've tried Sierra Nevada's Extra IPA and Winter varietal in the past and was rather impressed with both. This one, not so much so.

A- Light honey color, head dissipated quickly.

S- Grassy, hay, some floral notes, some citrus. Not as bold as advertised.

T- Similar to smell but again, not as bold as advertised. I get a nice citrusy, hoppy note at the finish and that is quite frankly this beer's only redeeming quality.

M- Crisp, refreshing, the kind of brew I would drink after working in the sun all day (if it were not for the sub-par taste).

O- I was expecting more from this brew, thus the lower scores. As a fan of Sierra Nevada's IPA styles I think I will stick to those from now on. But, this is a good summer beer after a long day's work. I guess one could call it a "starter" beer for someone looking to get into microbrews.

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Photo of righlander
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a straw yellow with a nice head that dissipates in to a thin lace from a 12oz bottle to a pint glass.
Smells nice, light malt with a subtle yet present hop.
Taste is good. Very refreshing for the summer. goes nice and easy on a hot Florida night. A very flavor filled lager. nice easy malt show with a very well balanced hopped finish. Extremely crisp and clean. Perfect for summer.
Mouth feel is excellent. nicely carbonated with a mildly, yet dry hop finish.
Drinkability is insane. you can pound these all night.
I'm glad I bought A six pack!

Notes: A very drinkable crisp clean brew. Lighter bodied with A lot of personality. Excellent summer beer. Blows away Czech beers in my opinion.
Perfect hot weather brew.

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Photo of jsausley
3.34/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Legends Sports Grill in Maggie Valley, NC. Chose to go with some buffalo hot wings with this beer. That's what you're supposed to do in summer at a Sports Grill right?

A: Pale, thin, golden beer with some noticeable carbonation. The only thing differentiating this from a light beer is its frothy head that does actually lace fairly well.

S: Crisp and clean, lots of wheat with notes of caramel, hops, light malts and citrus. Unexpected..

T: This is a lager, I'm sure of it, but I can't tell it. It's more like a pale ale that doesn't have the hops. Or maybe an American ale that forgot its alcohol. It's not a bad beer but it lacks character. It's sweet, lightly malty, somewhat bitter, somewhat citrusy and has a wheat undercurrent. It seems confused. It also has a potent aftertaste that wasn't very pleasant for me. For a craft beer, it's lacking. For a beer to drink in the summer, it's passable.

M: Decent bite from the hops, somewhat carbonated, nothing too dramatic. Like everything else about this one.

O: Can't say I'd try it again unless my other options were all Light beers. That's just me being honest.

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Photo of SAxDRC5
4.01/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: head fades very quickly, golden yellow color.

S: smells sweet. very light citrus scent

T: nice and crisp. great for a summer lager. citrus flavor (lemon I think?) flavors could be a bit stronger but still very good

M: crisp, light, not too carbonated

D: I could have quite a few of these. not too carbonated, not to hoppy, not too citrusy (though i'm not sure that's a word)

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Photo of Gish
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Yellow with a quickly dissipating head and minimal lacing.

S - Grassy hops with a hint of mustiness.

T - Sweetness hits the tongue but is quickly followed by a big dose of crispness. Very dry, almost white grape juice-like. A tad too bitter in the finish in my opinion.

M - Lively carbonation and a light body that fits the style well.

D - Low abv and a wonderful crispness make this a great session beer. However, the dryness seems a bit out of place. I've had pilsners that were more balanced and more enjoyable. Still a very worthy buy if you're a fan of lagers.

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Photo of AbePhroman
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a six of 2003 yesterday. I remember I had this last summer and wanted to try it again. Clever label with a twist-off cap. Golden color in my class with a thick head that rose to the top. Nice lacing as it settles. Hoppy aroma like most Sierra Nevada beers. Tastes bitter and hoppy and is very enjoyable. The wheat\grain has a noticeable taste which adds to the pleasure of drinking this beer. Very drinkable IMO!! A good buy.

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Photo of audiojon
3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A decent pils, but having recently tried another fantastic one, this doesn't really stand up (the beer in question being prima, from victory brewing). Smell is good enough, taste is interesting, but rather one dimensional. I could definitely drink a few of these, but wouldn't necessarily seek it out. A recommended try for pilsener fans, but sierra pale fans need not apply.

2005 vintage, btw

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Photo of cwps48
2.31/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured into a weissen glass (half-broke college student, forgive me). Golden yellow. Mostly transparent. Head of approximately 1.5 fingers, disappears quickly with minimal lacing.
S: Hoppy, obviously. A little bit of malts. Kinda has that Natty Lite smell to it.
T: I see that it's a Pilsner. I'm not a huge fan of the pilsners, I find the hops too crisp, but this is toned down a bit. It's got this malty sweetness to it, maybe some spices in there. Nothing really to write home about. It has a good crisp finish that eventually leads to this nasty tangyness with a tinge of a metallic bite.
M: Decent carbonation. Dry.
D: I won't be getting this again. For the price of $8.50 for a six pack, it's not worth it. Beer pong beer is only $0.50/beer, not $1.42.

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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.

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Photo of Rosanne
2.5/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

much like a Carlton draft but smoother

Shared a taster on-tap as part of four flights at the brewery; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Chico, USA. As part of a six-week West Coast beer tour. I rate to taste, not to style. See my blog for more details:

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 4,146 ratings.
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