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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,565 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Summerfest LagerSierra Nevada Summerfest Lager

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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
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Reviews: 1,565 | Ratings: 4,095
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: carbeers.wordpress.com

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Photo of Ottertude
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I usually enjoy most anything that Sierra Nevada puts out. I was pleased to find a couple of 12 packs left at the local Kroeger store.

The beer looked more lemony yellow than golden. The pour into my pint glass bought out a large head that looked like merangue on a pie that then disappeared. It left some nice lacing on my glass. The smell was very tangy with hops and a touch of citrus.

The taste is rather pleasant, some cracker-like malt with plenty of bitterness from the hops. The mouthfeel was not too thin.

I liked this beer quite a bit. Easy drinking, I could have several of these easily on these hot summer days.

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Photo of GeneralZod
3.1/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear golden color. Held average head retention.

Average inviting aroma. Can't quite tell what is it, but it's not bad.

Somewhat bitter. Leaves an aftertaste, but not bad.

Somewhat coarse and carbonated.

It's good beer. I would definitely have another and would not turn one down when offered.

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Photo of storksonm
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a tall pint glass.

It poured crisp and clean not much of a head but a nice clean golden yellow color. It had what I usually associate with the "lager" smell, very nice even had a clean lager smell not too danky. It is very light it was like drinking a commercial style pilsner but obviously better. The mouthfeel is drier with a bit of bitter hop aftertaste. I would love having this on a hot day after work after you've been running around all day just sit in the lawn chair or if you really got style the daven-porch and relax with one of these.

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

Pored a clear yellow with 1/2 finger head, little to no lace.

Smells like grain, grass, hay, and very light wheat.

Taste was the same as the smell. A good light lager that as another reviewer said is a great substitute for coors lite, etc. Crisp and refreshing but I would be drinking something else on a hot summer day. Not my favorite style.

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

A-- Clear yellow with a touch of orange. Lots of bubbles rising, and a thin head

S--Malt, freshly cut grass, a little hop spiciness. There's not too much on the nose, but it is refreshing and crisp.

T--The grass smell comes through in the taste, hop spice and a touch of pepper hit at the back of the palette for a dry and crisp finish.

M--Sharply carbonated, which adds a lot to this beer. Generally it is crisp and very dry. Mouthfeel is probably the strongest asset of this beer.

O--Not as good as some other summer beers I've had, but as a refrigerator staple for hot summer days it's hard to beat. It drinks like water (in a good way) and really hits the spot.

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

Nice summer lager. Lite golden color with a good frothy head. The beer is well carbonated but not very complex. Of course that's not what your really looking for in a summer lager.

What your looking for is a lite, refreshing, balaced beer to help cool you down while you're standing next to the grill. This beer does that and has enough flavor to not be bland or tasteless like the macros.

A solid drinking beer that you could serve to your Bud Lite drinking buddies and maybe convert a few from the Dark Side.

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

A - Finger-thick white head that dissipates quickly into a frothy-thin layer. This layer resides above a clear Pale Gold (SRM 4) hued liquid that exposes carbonic bubbles rising to the top at a rapid pace. Swirling the beer results in spider legs, most likely a result of the hops and carbonation.

S - Crisp phenolic Noble hop (Saaz) aroma bouquet. A mild fruitiness/peppery note is most prominent. Mild bit of creamed corn aroma comes through via DMS, though subtle.

T - Clean malty liquid washes over the palate with a mild bitterness that gives a crisp and somewhat moist finish. This beer is very well balanced and finishes more sweet than bitter, though a level of bitterness does crescendo with time and lingers for that matter. It seems to me as though the Brewer/Chemist tried to emulate a more mineral-rich liquor (water) compound of those found in native regions of the Bohemian Pilsner, which is the style that this beer seems to be trying to imitate, with an American touch of course.

M - Upon final pour, the bottle conditioned elements (suspended yeast) provide for a bit more of a graham cracker consistency on the palate. The mouth coating malts finish dry with a smooth lingering bitterness that fits nicely with the styles normal characteristics. Medium to high carbonation tingles the palate as well; sulfates add to this!

C - A session beer this is, but at 5% ABV and with a smooth sweetness that helps balance the Hallertau hops, this beer quickly turns into quite a delight. Though the crisp, dry and bitter Czech/German variants with high sulfates are enjoyable, this is a wonderful take on a traditional style that gives it just enough American punch to let you know there's something more inside the bottle than conformity!

The website states that in addition to the Pale malts used, Munich malts were also used. It also states that this beer has an extra-long lagering period, which would explain the fruitier content and malty sweetness, which is not so prominent in German/Czech variants. In addition to Saaz hops, Perle were used, which is a variation on the tradition type of hops utilized in a Pilsner.


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Photo of Wegbier
3.24/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

a pretty white head that stays fluffy all the way down leaving some lacing, a pale to golden color with lots of lively bubbles.

s- i detect so little smell from this beer it saddens me. Very light note of floral hops.

t- light crisp clean floral hop pilsner, I dont feel like there is much going on.

m- thin and clean, i dont know what else to say for this one

d- very drinkable, this is a session beer for a hot day by all means.

I cant find a freshness date on the bottle and I suspect that to be a possible culprit for a fine pilsner with quality ingredients. This reminds me more of a typical North German pilsner than anything czech but that might be my own subjectivity.

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Photo of AlesRTasty
3.59/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Once poured into a glass a nice white head forms on top of a golden straw pale yellow brew. The head remains briefly but has some nice lacing. The nose has a very slight hint of malt underneath a strong Saazy hop aroma. And I detect something that twinges a bit like parmesan cheese or feet, which might be the hops. It has a good earthy and grassy taste I usually taste in this style of beer. Very clean and very crisp. The carbonation in this bottle is a bit low for me, I think if it had more it would be a little more refreshing. Overall it's a pretty good beer. It is Sierra Nevada so it's definitly worth trying. Finishing the 6er I bought probably won't be a problem.

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Photo of Ochsenblut
3.86/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This crystal clear Pilsner shines gold with a sticky, cloudy two-finger head. The carbonation is very active, supplying the head with ample lacing.

This beer is lightly aromatic, showing off breadiness and floral hops in limited supply.

This beer, although not exactly my idea of a Czech Pilsner, is very interesting. The hops profile is nothing short of exponential, starting small then coming to a crescendo of dry bitterness, all the while mixing with a semi-sweet biscuity malt.

The aftertaste is satisfyingly bitter, with an oily hoppiness that lasts for a good while.

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Photo of LiquidSanity
3.31/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ap: Very orange, golden straw yellow but a few shades darker. Without tasting it, it comes off appearing like an adjunct lager. The lacing and head remind you it probably isn't a macro.

Ar: Very syrupy and corn like with a mild biscuit/breadiness. Awkward smell. Not appealing.

Ta: Not as impressed with this representation by SN. Very sugary and syrupy in flavor. I'm noticing a mild presence of pineapple with some mild bitter notes. There is a nice touch of hops but nothing overwhelming. It is not a terribly delicious beer. It's just a few shades better than your typical adjunct. Disappointing.

Mf: Here is where it shines. It's smooth and rather rich. A nice creamy, frothy texture. This doesn't have the watery presence as other lagers or pilsners. This is rich and entertains from beginning to end.

Ov: Evaluating as a pilsner, it fails. It tastes very little like a pilsner. As a beer on its own, it is ok until you factor in the price. There are many other beers that can give you a similar experience. Not Sierra Nevada's best. But I can drink more than one. Cheers!

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Photo of Schneic8
3.61/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a mug. Bottled on 2/23/11.

Appearance: Light golden color similar to honey or gold. Mild amount of carbonation and a white head that didn't last.

Smell: I smell grass and floral tones. It has a clean smell and I get a hint of the hops. Not very strong smelling.

Taste: Clean crisp taste that has a nice body and slight hops taste. It finished with a citrus taste.

Mouthfeel: It has a clean crisp feel that has a slight bite to it. It goes down smooth and finishes with a slight hops taste.

Overall: Good beer that is easy to drink. The taste is not too strong and allows for the flavors to reveal themselves. I enjoy the clean/crispness which would make it a good summer time beer.

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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?

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Photo of culver501
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-pale yellow straw colored, thick white head, great carbonation, good retention, minimal lacing

S-great pale malt and hop combo with a nice yeasty tone at the end (reminds me of a fresh german hefe)

T-nice bitter hops, crisp malt sweetness, a really solid traditional pilsener taste, a hint of citrus, wish i would have had this on hand all summer, really refreshing, a nice suggestion for the MBC drinkers I would think

M-good, crisp, clean, good malty sweetness lingers along with some hops

D-check, great summer beer

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Photo of robocrouch
2.6/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured into my pint glass from the bottle. A clear golden color with almost no head and plenty of carbonation bubbles.

S: Really no smell to be smelled has a very macro feel to it.

T: Very grainy and watery. The body is so light that it tastes so much like a macro that I kept looking at my bottle to make sure I was drinking a Sierra Nevada beer. Almost no flavor.

D: Overall this is the worst Sierra Nevada beer that I have had and was shocked, honestly at how low quality this is.

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Photo of teejay76
4.17/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Light gold pour with decent head.

Smell - Malt and hops. Vague honey and citrus.

Taste - Mellow hops bitterness with slight hint of citrus.

Mouthfeel - Highly delicious and refreshing. Great aftertaste.

Drinkability - Love this beer. I'll buy more and then look forward to next summer's seasonal brew.

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Photo of zachariaIPA
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Summerfest 2010 poured from the classic brown bottle. A nice white effervescent head rushes to the top of the glass and lingers for quite some time. A small amount of thin lacing, a rich golden body with a slight haze and streams of carbonation lining the side.

A strong a pleasant aroma full of spicy hops, lemon, and sweet malt.

Very crisp lager, full of floral hop notes at first but then followed up immediately with sweet honey and lemon malt flavors with a nice bitter but smooth finish.

A very tasty summer lager. I could definitely drink a few of these on a hot day. Would go great with some bbq.

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Photo of HarrySTruman
3.61/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into an hourglass pilsner

Clear and golden yellow, big white head that forms immediately and hangs around for a while. Lacing is light.

Smell is pretty weak. Smells like a typical Lager/Pilsner. People often call it a freshly mowed grass smell, or a hay smell, I just don't associate those smells with these types of smells.

The taste is crisp, refreshing, and light. Perfect for a summer day.

Mouth feel is light and easy drinking. Very well carbonated, makes it very easy to drink. Finishes clean, not dry, and has a nice flavor through out. Slight citrus after taste flavor that is quite enjoyable.

A very nice, easy drinking Pilsner. Fits the style very well and fits its name very well, certainly a summer beer. Perfect for drinking after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day. Has a bit more taste than most macro pilsners/lagers, but it has virtually no malt profile, making it very clean and crisp.

I don't see how this beer gets low scores when comparing it to other beers of the style, or even comparing it to other related styles. It's a very good example of the style.

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Photo of dafizzif
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look: Light golden yellow with white head.
Smell: Lot of sweet malts with little hop aroma.
Taste: Some good, mainly floral, hoppiness up front, surrounded my sweet malts.
Mouthfeel: Sits well in the mouth with a good, carbonated body. Only a bit sticks to the mouth.
Overall: A very good pilsner, though I have certainly have better. A little too malty vs hoppy. Would recommend to a friend.

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Photo of cjnuxoll
3.46/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

here's a strong, flavorful lager that makes me forget how much i really don't like everyone else's favorite pale ale. summerfest reduces the bitterness of SNPA and adds the wheaty flavor that should be common to a lager. i know i'm comparing a pale ale to a lager, but i'm just qualifying my preferences so you know where i am coming from in my beer tastes in this review.

it's lightly carbonated and full bodied. the alcohol content is slightly higher than that of a normal lager, so you know from the stronger flavor you're getting a micro brew from a company that is quickly becoming one of the largest distributors in the country. it's not a sell-out beer - it still has the uniqueness that tells you it's a sierra nevada without overwhelming or offending. just a solid contribution to give you some additional options at the beer store.

[edit] had a few more since the review. It's growing on me. The Summerfest is pretty good; but I've found, that like a fine wine, you need to let it "breathe," so the yeast oxigenates and mixes. It's lightly carbonated, but as the yeast dissolves when opened, it maintains the bubblieness and stays sharp.

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Photo of RichieS2
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a 15 oz Czech Pils glass.

T - Good for the style, straw yellow color and easily transparent. There was little head and quite a bit of carbonation.

S - Plenty of sweetness from malt and not much hops that I could detect.

T - Great; the scent was a perfect foreshadow; the brew had a satisfying sweetness that led to a slight spiciness when the hops came into play. The beer finished clean.

M - Thin to be sure, but that is the style. It felt good in my mouth and going down.

D - Excellent, I could drink this all summer long.

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Photo of axisjones
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This lager was nothing special.
The appearance was clear, with the head disappearing quickly and little lacing to speak of on the way down.
The smell was clean and mild, mostly a faint hop aroma, but definitely not a memorable aromatic one.
The one thing this beer has going for it is that is very refreshing. I had this beer after a walk with a sausage and it did the job just fine. This is easily the lightest and most uninteresting of the SN line, this beer is just plain and uninspired. The taste hardly goes beyond simple hops and a light body.

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Photo of TheOtherMike
5/5  rDev +35.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very enjoyable beer! Few beers achieve this combination of high marks in every category.

Appearance is light and clear. Plenty of carbonation. Head is commensurate with pour style.

Smell is crisp and inviting.

Taste is clean, light and straightforward.

Mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing.

Drinkability is rarely matched.

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Photo of tophers
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: Super clear light golden with mostly creamy head that is not real thick, but is long lasting

s: Crisp, spicey hop aroma. Tiny bit of pils malt sweetness

t: Moderately-low malt sweetness with a bit of spicey. Crisp, but not as crisp as some of the czech pils I have had. Could be due to the malt being more present.

m: Moderately high carbonation with a moderately dry finish. Medium body.

o: Not bad...seems more of an American version of a czech pils (ie. appears to be domestic malts). I prefer the continental malts with this style.

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 1,565 ratings.
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