Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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1,573 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

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Reviews: 1,573 | Ratings: 4,117
Photo of honkey
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Great head retention, good lacing. The color is a little darker than what I would expect from Czech or German brewers unless they are doing decoctions. I would describe the color as more yellow gold than the extreme light colored straw that modern brewers pride themselves on.

Aroma: Spicy hop aroma and slight lemon as expected, but a touch of honey aroma is there as well. It makes me think they used melanoiden malt to attempt to emulate a decoction mash. I suppose that would also explain the slightly dark color.

Taste: Nice spicy hops, slight citrus, biscuit, and honey. I would prefer that the honey flavor not be there and that the hop flavor would be a bit stronger. Nice crisp finish, but it does taste like it could have used more lagering time.

Feel: Mouthfeel is crisp, but a touch oily. Medium carbonation level could potentially be a bit higher to balance out the oily mouthfeel, or I'd prefer that it be a drier beer.

Overall: A better example than most American breweries make as far as pilsners go. I would like to have a drier example with less honey sweetness. I wouldn't hesitate to buy again, but I know now that it is not going to satisfy my thirst for a good dry, hoppy pils.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Pours a light yellow with a thin fizzy head that leaves trails down the glass. The smell is light but with scents of orange peel and a very dry hop scent. The taste was exceptionally clean and refreshing. Would definitely recommend getting.

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Photo of mchegash
3.64/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Date: 8/10/2014

Appearance - 4/5
Looks refreshingly crisp. A very clear golden color. Little head retention. Can see the carbonation flow. Looks appetizing.

Smell - 3/5
Smells like a standard lager. (This might just be my lack of refinement, but all lagers kind of smell the same to me)

Taste - 4/5
Citrusy. The lager taste is not as strong as in other lagers, which for me is a plus, because usually the lager taste is overpowering. The lager taste is balanced nicely with the other flavors, which would be citrus, and perhaps honey. The beer has a mild sweetness to it which is nice.

Mouthfeel - 3.75/5
The beer feels light, perhaps a little too watery. It is not as crispy as other lagers, but rather seems to have a bit of creaminess to it. The carbonation was just right, not over-carbonated or under-carbonated.

Overall - 3.5/5
Overall, a decent lager, one that I actually felt that I liked. But still, nothing super special. Just a rather quality lager.

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Photo of corywalston
3.19/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A. Slightly aggressive poor ½ inch white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Little carbonation. Color is light yellow with a light haze.
S. Lemongrass, malt, and maybe corn
T. Slightly sour, light floral hints, slight banana in the aftertaste.
M. Watery and refreshing
O. This is a good rendition of its stile. However, it is a little light in flavor for me. I would recommend it though. Good buzz for 5.0%

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Photo of FLima
3.27/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden color with a thick bright white head with good retention.
Light, but nice Lager aroma with bread and herbal notes.
Refreshing and crisp flavor, balancing malt sweetness with herbal and spicy hops. Hints of lemon and flowers. Dry aftertaste with a medium bitterness that demands another sip.
Light body with appropriate carbonation.
Mild lager but not boring, no defects whatsoever. Pils for summer volume.
Ap.3,25 Ap.3 Sab.3,25 Sens.3,5 Cj.3,5

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Photo of humuloner22
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Its the unofficial end of summer this weekend and I am just now getting to my Summerfest. Its a lager people. Its better than a lot, but really for someone who drinks mostly IPA's these days this beer had something lacking. However, I can appreciate the quality of the craft put into this beer regarding the style.

Ice cold is how this beer should be consumed. I drank it a bit too warm the first time and it was not all that good. It was the canned version of this beer and when I cracked the top the can exploded with head. Too much carbonation perhaps?

Clear yellow, typical lager color. Translucent with a lot of head that settles after a while.

Not much to the aroma, some hops, a little malty grainy in the bouquet.

Taste: A bit of hop assertiveness for the style which gives it some upside for the style but really you could do just as well saving yourself a few bucks and buy a 12 pack or even a case of Yuengling and save yourself some money. Now to drink all these "summer" beers before the end of the weekend. Challenge excepted. Now to find a bag of ice! It has to be served ice cold!

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Photo of StArnoldFan
3.9/5  rDev +6%

Crisp, clean, and dry. Very enjoyable, I can't believe it took me so long to finally try this beer. I can definatly see myself having one of these outside on a hot day.

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Photo of CTbrew32
4.29/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Golden yellow, slightly hazy, with a one finger fizzy head produced.

Aroma- Sweet, dry pilsner malts with a little bit of floral hops.

Taste- Pilsner malts are big at first which leads to drying finish. Towards the end citrus/herbal hops linger adding balance and dryness.

Mouthfeel- Dry and crisp with a good amount of carbonation up front.

Overall- One of the best pilsners I've had so far. Great balance and flavor between pilsner malts and the nice kick of floral hops at the end. Perfect beer for the summer that's light, yet load with flavor.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
3.69/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This is a light golden ale, just a tad darker than a nice blonde ale, with a very clear body (only the faintest hint of haziness is there) and filled with lively carbonation. The head is a nice white color and very fluffy, but doesn’t stick around for long. There is some mild lacing too.
Grass and wheat aromas all mixed in with some mild dried citrus zest. Very nice and clean overall.
Light and crisp, this ale tastes just like its aroma, the grassy and wheat flavors hit you first and the citrus flavors come in second. It is mildly sweet overall and the alcohol is well hidden.
This is a light bodied ale with plenty of carbonation.
This is a light and fun beer overall, very fresh and crisp and it goes down well on a hot day.

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Photo of RyanK252
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Rocket Dog Brats & Brews

A: Pours golden straw with a frothy white head that settles to a light layer and leaves a little nice lacing.

S: Grainy, fruity and floral notes, a bit spicy, and a little sweetness.

T: Grainy, grassy, floral, a little lemon, a touch of spice, light fruity notes, and a little sweetness,.

M: Light body, moderate carbonation.

O: Pretty straight forward easy drinking summer beer.

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Photo of DrewsBrews450
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear light golden color with a thin head and spotty lace.. the smell is grass, cracker, funky yeast.. the taste is sweet pale malt, corn, light hop.. light body.. this is a nice crisp beer but really only slightly more flavor then budweiser.. im a huge fan of the pilsner style and this isnt a great one..

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Photo of MartzMimic
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours from the bottle a pale gold with a bubbly white head that leaves quickly. It smells of hay, grain and spice. This carries over to the taste, along with a light bit of citrus. Some sweet notes, too. It's fairly light on the tongue, with a pleasing amount of carbonation. It's not quite as substantial as a traditional pils, but is nearly perfect for a summer lager.

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Photo of microbrewlover
3.64/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a pale yellow color, mostly transparent with a fluffy three finger white head. When held up to the light one can see a lot of carbonation. There is also a pretty good amount of lacing left on the glass and some of the head remains on top of the beer until the end.

The smell is straw and wet hay. Some caramel, sweet malts, floral and spicy hops.

The taste follows the nose with the sweet malt base coming in first and dominating throughout. Then some caramel, then the finish comes with floral and spicy hops with a little bit of a soapy taste on the back end. The gritty, grainy, grassy taste that you get at the finish of most Pilsners in there but only barely. Mostly the finish could be said to be clean.

The feel is crisp and cracker like; a little spicy. There is a soapy aftertaste though that distracts from the overall feel.

Overall this is a good Pilsner, I would call it another winner from Sierra Nevada. It lacks the gritty, grainy, grassy taste you get at the finish of most Pilsners but that might be a positive for you; I, however, took off a few points for that. Nonetheless, I think you would find this refreshing on a hot summer day; I do.

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Photo of philbe311
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - A standard pour yields a modest slightly less than a finger's worth of crisp bone white colored head... Minimal retention gives way to a full lacing... There is light audible fizziness about it... The color is an uber light lemony yellow with a slight haziness suspended throughout... Loaded with carbonation that starts sluggish at the bottom of the glass before picking speed upon reaching the top...

S - Loaded with cereal grains... Sweet bread... Some light noble hops... Light lemon zest...

T - Light lemon zest to start... Bursting at the seems with cereal grains and rich toasted malts... There is a light grassy component... The noble hops are present but quite subtle... The flavors ebb and flow a bit, but compliment one another rather nicely...

M - Quite refreshing... On the lighter side of medium bodied... Smooth... Crisp... Goes down easily sip after sip... Limited carbonation... Very nice...

D - The appearance and aroma components are average at best, but the flavor and mouthfeel components are really really good... The end result is a very enjoyable summer offering in the form of a Czech Pilsner... Sierra Nevada turns out solid beer after solid beer and this one is no exception... Worthy of a six pack each and every summer...

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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 SaltofOH
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Crystal clear, pale gold, 1/2" head fades to thin white cap. Active carbonation with mid-size bubbles. Not much to speak of in terms of lacing.

Aroma: Spicy noble hop aroma; sweet, clean malt. Smells generally beery.

Taste: Dry arrival, saccharine feeling across mid-palate; not sweet but sweet-ish. Grassy hops then tight bitterness at the end. Dry, clean finish.

Mouthfeel: Solidly, but not overwhelmingly, carbonated. Pretty standard. Clean. Mid-to-light weight.

Overall: Not as flavorful as Mama's Little Yella Pils, but certainly better than Heineken. Above-average pilsner, though I think it should be rated as an American pilsner, not Czech. Honestly, for the need this fulfills, a part of me would rather just by a less expensive AAL.

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Photo of katjoeus
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I am from Germany, and I love German beers - this one for me is probably the closest US-brewed beer I have found to a good Bavarian beer. I love it, just wish they'd switch from those tiny bottles to regular 0.5l ones!!! Too bad it's neither easy to find here in MD nor particularly cheap, but I guess you get what you pay for :-)

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Photo of zander4dawin
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright straw colored beer with soapy head. Really bready smell, some caramel and malts. Taste is light and crisp with tones of biscuit and black pepper spice. Mouthfeel is refreshing, creamy, buttery. I actually prefer this beer to any of the classic czech pilners and look for it every year, one of my favorite summer seasonals.

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Photo of JLSIV
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass, nice two fingered medium to large bubble white head, that held for well over two minutes. Clear lager color, with maybe a hint of strawberry. Good lacing more noticeable to me than usual for American Lagers

Smell: This is what I really liked, it smelled like BEER! Some many craft breweries try to amaze us, but sometimes it should be what it needs to be. It's not an IPA, or a German weissebier, so don't try to make it one.

Taste: I felt like I got a good clean taste of the malted barley, with just a very light lager back note of the hops. If you are looking for a very Hoppy beer, this might not live up to your expectations, but I was very pleased. Beats an AAL all to pieces, but a flavor that deserves recognition.

The mouthfeel was dry, and crisp. Refreshing and perfect for hot day. Drinkable, and doesn't fight or surprise you.

Overall, this one is going in my bar as my Lager, so long as Sierra keeps brewing it, I will support them. If we ever want to challenge the InBev's of the world, we have to support the smaller breweries when they roll out a Lager.

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

Poured a light lemon color with a two finger head in a Pilsner glass.

Nice floral aroma, light fruit.

The carbonation is moderate as expected in the style.

Taste: light fruit and not as malty as in other beers in the style.

Finish: spicy light bitterness -perhaps too much for a lighter beer.

Overall: a very good summer afternoon beer. A bit hoppy for the style.
Clean taste, and refreshing. I would've liked a bit more malt backbone in the beer.

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Photo of HuskerTornado
3.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into sensory glass. Pours a clear, bright golden color with a medium sized head that has fair retention for the style and some lacing.

Smell is of hops, some lemon grass, some hay.

Taste of sharp hops up front with some dry biscuits, and a bit of tart lemon. Mouthfeel is lively, highly carbonated with a dry, hoppy, peppery finish.

Overall, a very good summertime beer, crisp and refreshing.

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Photo of hail_seitan
3.59/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz. can into a Sam Adams lager glass

A - What a crystal clear body! A pale wheat color with a bubbling white head.

S - Cracked white pepper, straw, and honey.

T - The initial taste is dominated by an earthy spiciness from the noble hops. The malt lends a saltine cracker or plain Cheerio character. The finish has a touch of lemon with more spice.

M - Thin body with a seltzer-like effervescent carbonation. Very refreshing but not substantial.

O - A decent choice for a lawnmower brew, especially since it now comes in cans. However, not one of my favorite Sierra Nevada beers or pilseners. I'll take the Kellerweis over this for a yard work libation any day of the week!

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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 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 Caveworm
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., my first by these guys. Poured from the bottle into a glass, Summerfest has got a 2 finger thick head that went away surprisingly fast. Abundant lacing, though. And a nonremarkable clear, darker yellow body.

Smells like citrus and spices. Can't sense much malt or hop aromas. But I like it, as it IS quite "summer-ish". Nicely done here!

Yep, the citrus and spices show up again in the taste category. In addition to ,yes, malt sweetness and just a touch of "whole cone" hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is also well done. This brew is very easy-drinking and refreshing. Nice 'n' smooooth, my friends.

Overall a greatly earned 3.5 for Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. This is one the easiest drinking non-macro lagers I've ever had. Which is certainly not to say this brew is void of character. Quite the contrary. This is gonna be a staple in my fridge the rest of this seasom

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 4,117 ratings.
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