Sierra Nevada Summerfest | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada SummerfestSierra Nevada Summerfest
4,274 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 4,274 |  Reviews: 1,616
Photo of Gyle41386
3.96/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a .5L stange.

Pours a golden color with a massive white head. Foam retains very well, eventually giving way to sheets of lacing. I'm impressed.

Malty, pils-y aroma. After checking the Sierra Nevada website, it would appear the lemony hop note I'm smelling is from the Saaz. The aroma seems a little hoppier than most pilseners I've tried.

Taste is mostly of lightly sweet and grainy malts. Slight spicy hoppiness that carries over into the dry finish.

Crisp, clean, very refreshing. Body is on the lighter side of medium. Lively carbonation may be slightly overdone. Super easy to drink. This one is definitely hitting the spot after a workout.

This beer isn't spectacular, but I'm digging it, and pilseners don't rank too highly on my list of favorite styles. Another good one from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of jdklks
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 5

i dont like lagers a whole lot, but this one isn't too bad. SN does many good things that other breweries cannot, including brewing a drinkable lager.

A- pure gold with a thin white head.

S- smells like a lager, anything more to say?

T- hops, watery (surprised?), and some fruit sweetness that AT LEAST gives it some flavor.

M- light light light

D- drinkability is huge. could EASILY go through a 12 pack of these.

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Photo of skrib09
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear yellow. white head clears quickly.

smells slightly hopped and malty. hints of corn or corn husk maybe.

taste is boozy and bready. corn meal notes on the palate.

crispy mouthfeel and drinkable. this is where this beer comes in play. summer time fun. it has a decent backbone but it goes down well and would pair well with a lawnmower session.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
2.39/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle. 2009 release. tasted in early may 2009.

pale straw color. clear with faint chill haze. 1-finger head, fades to wisps and ring. lacing is sparse, thin, and rarely sticks.

aroma: faint malt, hint of esters? slightest hint of hop? wtf? there's almost nothing here!

taste: again, weak malt, faintly bready, but watered down. light esters mingle with fusel or phenol or even diacetyl hint. meanwhile the hops are crisp and boldly bitter, but are totally lacking in flavor - unlike how good saaz or noble hops should be.

light body, with very fizzy, prickly carbonation. resins in the finish, but of no help.

c'mon guys! what happened? i tried two bottles of this from the sixer, and i had to go back and return it. i might as well have been drinking soda water...

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Photo of JordanEllwanger
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Summerfest poured into a pint glass. Very little foam and fading fast. Straw yellow and very transparent.

Smells like a Heineken and tastes like one as well. I hope mine got skunked somehow, because this tastes just like Heineken. Which isn't bad but a little disappointing. I was expecting it to be a bit different. Less and less like a Heini the warmer it gets.

Aside from that it feels good. Carbonated well. And drinkable.

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Photo of pwoods
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. stubby brown bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

A: Pale banana peel color, perfect clarity. About 2 fingers worth of pearl white head forms and has pretty decent retention before falling to a thick skim. Wisps of lacing throughout.

S: Not getting the spicy hops that I'm expecting. Maybe they didn't use Saaz? Aroma is filled with light malts with subdued Euro hopping creating plenty of fieldy characters; Green cut hay, Russian sage, dust, and maybe some lavender.

T/M: Still not getting the spicy Saaz but still has relatively aggressive hops. More of the field characters. Light malts, grainy. Body is light with slightly elevated carbonation. Clean, crisp, and dry finish.

D: Easily crushable and definitely on style, save the Saaz, but I just can't see myself reaching for one of these over so many other personal favorite summer time beers.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a large mug, on-tap at Old Chicago in Roseville, MN as part of their summer mini-tour.

A-Pristine golden beer, showing occasional bubbles rising within. Arrived with a fluffy white head, decent retention.

S-Spicy hops, with a grainy malt character under that. Slight green apple.

T-Grainy and semi-sweet malts, with a spicy hoppiness coming through subtley and a moderate spicy bitterness. Almost a fruity character coming through, with a slight spicy pucker. Finishes dry, spicy, bready.

M-Medium-high carbonation, but still easty drinking. Moderate-light body, very appropriate for the beer and for the picture on the label :D

D-This would be a perfect beer to sit back on a patio on a hot Saturday afternoon; I guess its merits lie in its refreshing quality and less in its depth of character. Still, the beer shouldn't be shortchanged, as it's a pleasant representation of the style.

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Photo of aaronxsubaru
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

i wanted to give this a better score but i remebered it tasting better the first time i had it. still overall my favoraite summer beer so far i think.

looks light, lighter than it tastes which is good. i like how the sweet notes help balance the hops in this. its also nice that it doesn't hit you all at once giving it more complexity. as a summer beer should be this is crisp and drinkable but without being boring.

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Photo of scottyk04
2.86/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- golden yellow, very clear, with minimal head

S- slight hops, slight real strong smell in my opinion

T- I found this beer to have more flavor as it warms up a little..if you are trying this beer for the first time, don't drink it ice cold! Just like the smell, it has a very slight hops taste, very slight citrus taste, and the warmer it seems to have a hint of spice taste.

D- goes down very smooth, definitely a good summertime beer. However, there are definitely MUCH better summertime beers. (I.E. Southern Tier's Hop Sun).

I enjoy most SN beers, but this beer is average all around. Probably would not but another 6 pack, even though it was only $6.99.

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Photo of sbe1
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very tasty summer larger.

Appearance: A clear, crisp light golden color, with a fizzy frothy white head that does not last long. Some lace on the glass.

Smell: Clean gut grass smell, some hop spice in there as well.

Taste: Clean dry malt, a little citrus and spice. Nice dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Light, crisp and refreshing, mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Excellent. A fantastic summer session beer.

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Photo of froghop
2.85/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

summerfest 2009.

pour is a clear yellow with a medium white head, and some lacing.

smell is faint, slight grain, some straw, and a little citrus.

taste is crisp, smooth, grain, some malt, a little corn, and some citrus.

overall better than most pilsners.

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Photo of mikedashg
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4


A- White fizzy kind of head, pours a very clear yellow. Yellowest beer I've had in a while.

S- Interesting, lemon citrus, yeast

T- Similar to nose, with an addition of bread like

M- Light to moderate carbonation, very crisp

D- Lots of drinkability in this one. Wouldn't want too many myself. But would probably satisfy your "average" beer drinker in the summer time.

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Photo of LittleDon
4.17/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Crystal clear and light yellow with plenty of carbonation and a small white head. Pleasant malt aroma with a hint of hops. Light mouthfeel with a somewhat bitter middle and finish. An excellent very drinkable beer when you have to live through a Texas summer that has already been too long.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear gold with a pleasant white head. Pretty standard looking lager but for some reason it really seems to be saying "drink me."

Smells like hay and fresh, chilled wort. Tastes crisp, clean and...inoffensive? Nothing outstanding but so perfectly rounded. Lightly grainy, this is what I think of when I hear the word "beer."

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Photo of sophisticated
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love SN. Had this in my fridge for ages though before I actually tried it.

Poured a golden yellow with a small white head. Fast dissipation, but nice lacing all over the glass.

S - mild hops and citrus

T - more bitter than I expected, but well-balanced with the mild malts, biscuity, light citrus flavour

MF - fairly crisp
D - good. Could definitely be a session beer.

Not the most amazing beer ever, but definitely a decent light summer beer from SN.

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Photo of Lerxst
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Golden yellow with a billowy white head that fades fast and leaves just a little lacing.

S-biscuits, hints of citrus and hops. Not bad at all, but not overly impressive either.

T-very clean, crisp pilsener, with traces of malt, citrus and hops. Again, not bad at all, but hardly knocks my socks off either.

M-crisp and clean with a bite of carbonation.

D-This is light enough to easily be a session beer. But there are better selections out there.

SN doesn't do anything badly, and this is no exception. It just doesn't "wow" me.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.02/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ordered a pint of this at The Endzone in Chico a few nights ago. Review written from notes.

Served in a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Clear, pale gold body with a small, sticky, white head on top. Moderate carbonation can be seen within. Pretty lousy head retention but good stringy lacing.

Smell: Honey, crackers, and pine. EDIT (06-30-09): Had this on-tap tonight in Danville and leafy hops, honey, spice, other sweet components, and dry alcohol. Smelled good, not anything special however.

Taste: Spicy Saaz hops, honey, lemon, bread, and pine. The overall taste is light, but the flavor profile is enjoyable and that bitter hop zing is fantastic. Sadly, I don't think this is as good as the bottled version. EDIT (06-30-09): Just had this again at Piatti in Danville. Went perfectly with the spicy Hawaiian swordfish I ordered! Pizza dough, spicy hops, and light buttery sweetness were the main compnents I noted. Solid bitterness to boot.

Mouthfeel: Spicy, bitter, and light-medium bodied. A bit oily with a good amount of chewiness and lots of bite. EDIT (06-30-09): not as harsh and biting the second time around. Carbonation plays with the palate; doesn't assault it. Malty and oily - nicely balanced.

Drinkability: I love the bottled version of this beer, but this tap version (could just be the place I was getting it from) was a little disappointing. The flavors and aromas felt a bit worn down, and there was a particularly strong bite at the end of each sip. I'll have to revisit this one - most likely at the brewery. EDIT (06-30-09): Went great with that swordfish tonight. I would've had another, but I decided it would be better to hold back. That's the Summerfest I remember! Will definitely order again.

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Photo of Ottertude
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
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 Arbitrator
2.88/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Chilled 12oz bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a sparkling golden color with 1.5 inches of off-white head that quickly vanishes completely, leaving no trace of lacing.

S: Some biscuit, a light floral hop, and pilsner malt. Really lacking in the aroma department.

T: Pilsner malt, crackers. Some light floral hop and biscuit follow. It's a pretty clean flavor.

M: Light-bodied, with low carbonation. The label promises crispness. The beer most definitely isn't. A weak presence and not particularly refreshing as a result.

D: I think I'll get something else for a summer brew.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.05/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Nice looking decorative label - the beer itself is kind of uninteresting. Pale yellow color with active white foam that dies down quickly and leaves no evidence.

Smell is unimpressive - just a smell of beer, really. Maybe some citrus buried below, but not much.

Taste is very clean. There's a hop about 1/3 of the way through that lingers - maybe even a tad too long. Definitely like a pilsener. Not your typically "summer" brew.

Its clean, its drinkable, its from a well reknowned brewery. Its just not great.

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Photo of soulgrowl
3.99/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not a particularly attractive beer, golden with large bubbles and an active, fizzy, short-lived ivory head. Smells pleasant enough, biscuity in the malt department with a buttery sweetness and a crisp, citric-floral hop aroma. Delightfully bitter and snappy on the palate, with a mild malt profile of caramel and crackers that defer to a firm, tight, grapefruity grip of lemony-leafy hops with a hint of pine. Consummate dryness adds to the decisively clean and refreshing character, making this extremely flavorful (if simple) and thirst-quenching. Well done, SN.

Very good with aged Cheddar and Gouda and amazing with Shropshire Blue. Not so much with Camembert.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.26/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: On tap in a Guinness 20 oz pint

Appearance: Rich golden beer with a medium white cap which fades to a thick steady film

Smell: VERY clean, crisp, with a touch of lemon and grain

Taste: Again, very crisp, with plain popcorn graininess and sharp grassy hops on the finish

Mouthfeel: Light, crisp, and very refreshing

Drinkability: Medium-high

Conclusion: Meh...I've had much better Czech Pils...there's nothing WRONG with this per's just very plain and honestly pretty boring.

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Photo of KBrady487
4.19/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- A 1 inch bubbly head, quickly dissipated to ring around the beer, left no lacing on the glass. Color was golden and crystal like.

S-Strong pilsner smell, slightest bit of sweetness.

T-full bodied taste of pilsner. Great balance of hops for a summer beer, not to strong but has a presence in the beer. Hops and pilsner give the beer an earthy tone.

M-well carbonated, smooth after bubbles dissipate

D-easy beer to drink. perfect for a hot summer day tailgating at the ballpark.

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Photo of katan
3.66/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

the 2009 edition into a pint

A - Very neutral gold color - very clear, filtered. No hazing. Light bubbling. Head formation is initially quite strong, up to 3mm, but breaks down to a film quickly.

S - A strong hit of pilsner malts - light sweet and refreshing. A small amount of yeast notes. No hops to be noticed.

T - Starts off with those familiar pilsner sweetness notes - light and smooth. Bitterness does build mid-stream, but hopping is very restrained. Starts to roll to a bit of bitter bite and a grainy edge in the final. Aftertaste is a bitter cloying flavor. Fairly monolithic in its flavors.

M - Moderate to heavy for a pilsner - lots of fermentables here. Not at all biting, smooth texture.

D - Very easy to drink as a summer beer should be. ABV is quite manageable. Flavors are light and well integrated.

Just a bit boring - but then what are pilsners most of the time anyway.

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Photo of strengthdoc
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Just tried the 2009 version. There is a very strong lager yeast aroma. The color is light golden. The mouthfeel is light which is typical for the style. The taste is much bolder than I expected. There is a mild malty sweetness in the beginning that gets progressively hoppy through the mid taste and finish. The beer is fairly refreshing, but the after taste is too strong and musty for me.

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 4,274 ratings