Sierra Nevada Summerfest | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada SummerfestSierra Nevada Summerfest
4,258 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: 4,258 |  Reviews: 1,612
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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Photo of bamadog
3.76/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always find it interesting when a beer bottles says one thing in terms of style, but then BA says another... The bottle says lager, the website says Czech Pilsener... Oh well. Que sera sera.

Appearance: Pours a very pale yellow straw color with a big 2 finger head that fades quickly to an even and full skim that is slightly off-white; solid carbonation bubbling through and not much in terms of lacing; body is very clear.

Smell: Sadly, a bit of a skunky presence that seems to dwindle as it sits for a bit; a toasty graiiny smell comes from a slight maltiness and is reminiscent of a wheaty type of scent; there is a very slight hoppy bitterness that is fairly weak in the nose, but it's about what I would expect.

Taste: Different than what I thought it was going to be -- a mild lemony/citrusy hop presence is thoroughly mixed with the slight toasty grainy malt aspect; not much is hidden here and there's not a lot to search for -- a pretty straight forward beer in the long and short of it.

Mouthfeel: A wet and light body with solid carbonation; clean finish. Again, nothing special but nothing wrong with it either.

Drinkability: Quite high -- not something I would choose to drink a lot of but all in all, it's not an awful choice that is refreshing enough and would be easy to session.

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Photo of Gish
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
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 MDekker
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A light, golden color, topped with a little head. Looks...fine.

S: Not a potent smell - it's brisk, has a straw/hay aroma, some faint fruit.

T: It's crisp! It's summer! It's a pilsener! It's a good quality brew, but doesn't wow me into needing to say more.

M: Crisp, fine, all that.

D: Yep, goes down easy. Good summer beer.

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Photo of avalon07
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a mug. Had a golden yellow color and a slightly cloudy consistency. There was a small amount of foamy head and some decent lacing.

S: Malty, with traces of citrus, but not much else.

T: Like the smell, there was some malt and some citrus, with a trace of hops, but mainly it was a little on the thin side.

M: A decent amount of carbonation and a dry finish. Light-bodied.

D: Overall, this is a drinkable beer, but hardly an outstanding one.

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3.86/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crisp, easy drinking beer. Good beer!
This beer is full of some clean flavors. With a nice after taste. Not a real powerful beer but still very tasty. I have to say its in my top three favorite Sierra Nevada beers. I Love the Torpedo and the Pale Ale is also delicious. Great for a grilling companion. Time to go throw a steak on the BBQ.

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Photo of CampusCrew
2.7/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A poorly done SN job. I expected so much. it wasn;t awful but not up to their standards.

appearance: golden

smell: not much there. had a pilsner distinct aroma

taste: Like a classic pilsner but with a dirty macro aftertaste

mouthfeel: good carbonation and drinks thin

drinkability: there's better pilsners out there. worst SN beer in the lineup

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Photo of Lordbacchus
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - nice straw color with just the right carbonation

S - good balance of malt and hop aroma

T - nice and dry. a few malty and "peppery" notes up front with a great hop finish at the end. Czech Saaz hops - Taste is very nice. Right on target for a Lager.

M - great mouthfeel. not watered down.

D - I would definitely buy/drink this again.

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Photo of ATGHomebrewer
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearence: very light color. head quickly builds, and dissapstes quickly

Smell: smells a bit like fresh cut grass and a slight bit of lemon.

Taste/Mouth: very light. a bit of hop flavor up front,followed by some slight lemon and lemon peel flavor. very crisp.

Drinkability: pretty drinkable. great for a hot summer day. overall very impressed with this seasonal offering.

12 oz bottle in Denver, Colorado

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Photo of cottonkoozie
4.06/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - bright yellowish straw color with a nice thick white head and pretty good retention.

S - strong grassy smell, and some barley undertones.

T - taste is very fitting for the style. A clean light flavor with some grassy and citrus hops and malt barley undertones.

M - very full to be such a light beer. Great carbonation level.

D - goes down smooth and clean. Very drinkable and a good beer for summertime like the name implies.

Overall a great refreshing summer beer. Good for a hot day. A much better alternative to macros at a BBQ.

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Photo of MS2k
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A very light yellow with sparkling clarity. Head is fluffy and white.

S: Lightly citrus/sour with a slightly-sweet lager aroma.

T: Has a rich hoppy bitterness to it without being overbearing. Definitely some light malty character, but overall a very subdued taste.

M: Light, crisp, and refreshing. Keeps its carbonation well.

D: What you'd drink while lounging about outside on a hot summer day. As I'm doing this currently, I think I'll have another.

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Photo of nomomentwasted
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a sixer of this a while back over a BBQ with one to spare, figured I'd review it here.

Appearance: Nothing too exciting or negative. Pretty average color for a lager, golden-brown with a decent foamy head.

Smell: Pretty simple, straightforward hops and roasted barley come to the nose, but it's nothing overly exciting. Although I've had other pilseners, it's not my area of expertise, but I still feel like there's just a bit more hops to this than your average pils.

Taste: Crisp, light hops and a bit of caramel-like malt. A bit earthy flavor, but lighter than a stouty one. Really not much bitterness, and just a clean balance of hops and barley.

Mouthfeel: Clean. Really nice drink, with the alcohol never feeling too present. Agitates a little in the mouth as far as the carbonation goes, not just in the glass.

Drinkability: Almost a 5, as it's clean and awesome for a burger pairing and I sessioned nicely with it, I just wish it were a little more complex in the flavor. It's pretty straightforward, and that works to both its advantage and disadvantage.

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Photo of roadhouse
4.33/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a pils glass

Pours a clear golden color with a one and a half inch white head. It falls to a cap which retains well and leaves some moderate lacing.

Aroma is grainy overall with a bit of toasty and bready malt character. A hefty amount of noble hop aroma as well, very grassy and herbal.

Taste is mildly sweet up front with bready and toasty malt character again coming through. Balanced perfectly with a big grassy, floral Saaz hop character that works perfectly.

Mouthfeel is medium-light in body, nice crisp but creamy carbonation that's just right for the style. Extremely drinkable.

This is one hell of a Czech Pils, easily one of the best that I've had. Probably doesn't hurt that it's fresher than any of the imported Czech ones available here.

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

Poured from Bottle into Pint Glass.

Pours a crystal clear straw color with a good finger of bubbly foam that quickly dissolves and leave a fine ring around the glass. The aroma has sweet nutty malts and some earthy, grassy hops. The flavor is sweet caramel malt upfront that is supported with some bitter hops towards the end. Its a light bodied beer with lots of carbonation. Summerfest is a very easy drinking beer but I'm still trying to work into the lager thing so I probably won't be grabbing more of this soon.

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Photo of 01121987
4.31/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this is a great summer beer, light, crisp and refreshing but also flavorful. i would drink this all summer if my wallet would permit but i guess il have to suppliment with some homebrew which is not such a bad alternative. the only imperfection is the head retention which is lacking quite a bit.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Overall a good summer beer

Appearance- yellowish gold color, transparent

Smell- grassy hops

Taste- grassy hops

Mouthfeel- light body, lots of carbonation

Drinkability- pretty drinkable, a good summer beer, I would definitely drink it again.Good for working outside on a hot day

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

(kinda weird straight from bottle; not good immediately following session lager)
09 summerfest
3.5 a clear light golden. short fizzy head that barely leaves anything behind.
4-4.5 harbally spicy, grassy hops, slightly caramalized (toasted bread) malt. not as grassy as german pilsners i've had, but strikes me as more german than czech. smells like an oktoberfest with more hop presence. [into my second sixtel of the summer, the smell is kind of getting annoying with its particular brand of grassyness. i have yet to want more than one summerfest on a given day or even during a two-day period.]
4-4.5 lovely full flavor. the lightly toasted breadyness combines so seamlessly with the nobles it approaches hb o'fest in the malt dept. but the hops come in with more authority, appropriately, bitting not with a deep bitterness but a slightly astringent, puckery midpalate grassyness. some lemon in the aftertaste, which lingers on and on.
4 medium body feels fuller than it probably is, but cleans up very crisply. no lack of carbonation, but the bubbles could maybe be finer.
4.5 still one of my favorite summer beers. drawbacks are the quality of co2 and it's a bit too filling to really be "refreshing" [on revisiting has become less endearing, more of a 3.75. so darned grassy/lemony]

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 4,258 ratings