Sierra Nevada Summerfest | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada SummerfestSierra Nevada Summerfest
Liked This Beer
3.67 w/ 4,240 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,240 |  Reviews: 1,610
Photo of Soneast
4.32/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a crystal clear light golden color with a 2 finger bubbly, white head.

The initial aroma brings to mind floral hops and pale sweet malts with an earthy finish and a touch of spiciness to round things out.

The flavor consists of a somewhat, peppery, spicy, hoppiness, a mild sweet graininess with a very delicately balanced bitter finish.

Appearances can be deceiving, as I thought this beer would feel lighter on the tongue but it actually has a nice body, and a complimentary amount of carbonation. Fresh and delicious, great summer beer. Whoda thunk?

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Photo of colts9016
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pokal glass at 42 degrees. Appearance: A one finger foamy and creamy white head that has some retention. The body of the beer is a medium gold color. There is a lot of effervescence in the beer. The clarity of the beer is clear and brilliant. Nose: A malty goodness with a sublte sweetness. There is a little bit of spiciness with floral and citrus and a touch of wood. Taste: A decent maltiness with a sublte sweetness. There is a light hoppiness that is spicy, floral esters and a touch of wood. Overall: There is a creamy carbonated mouth feel. The body of the beer is light and the finish is light. This is not a great beer but it is decent. I really didn't care for it.

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Photo of melagnus
4/5  rDev +9%
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 BeerNinja007
3.39/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a chilled pint glass.

Pours an extremely pale, clear, watery yellow. Settles to virtually zero head, just some very faint wisps on the surface. I set the glass on a page of 12-point text and, while looking from the top down through the entire glass, had no trouble reading every word. It looks like there's absolutely nothing to this beer.

Smells like typical pilsner hops, complete with a touch of skunk. Hops are fairly pungent and crisp. Taste is also very typical.

Mouthfeel, however, is a huge surprise. I don't know where this gets its body from, but it is surprisingly creamy. Carbonation is moderately heavy and creates an interesting balance with the creaminess. Not at all as watery as it appears. The mouthfeel undoubtedly is what makes this beer stand out.

Thin and crisp overall, goes down very easily. Absolutely a beer for chugging on a hot summer day. Will not fill you up, will not coat your tongue, will not warm you up. Easy-drinking, cooling, liquid refreshment.

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Photo of ATPete
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Pours a transparent golden color with a small but strong white head. Clean, crisp lager nose with a healthy dosage of hops. Good balance achieved here in flavor semi-sweet, semi-grainy cereal malts with a fresh, bitter hop blast. Crisp and refreshing with a dry finish. Very sessionable, a damn good summer option.

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Photo of wheatyweiss
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pils glass.

Pours a golden straw with a decent head that recedes to a cap and has bubbles climbing the sides of the glass.

Aroma is of light malt. Somewhat sweet. The noble saaz aroma is there, altough a bit muted.

Flavor is crisp light malt. Slightly bitter hops are present in the middle. More than I'm used to in a pils, but good. The malt is sweet but crisp with a crackery profile. Hops are well represented here, and in perfect balance. A very good representation of a pils in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing. Carbonation is active and bubbly. A little thin, but it is a pils.

Very refreshing, I could session this beer all night long.

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Photo of digitalbullet
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep golden color with a thick head that has some staying power
Smell: Citrus notes with a light hops in the back ground
Taste: Light citrus color with a malty background. Very light on the hops.
Mouthfeel: Very easy on the palate. Good crisp carbination
Drinkability: This brew can be very dangerous on a hot summer day. This very easy to drink and a great session brew.

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Photo of natasharai
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured with an off white fizzy/foamy head that dissipated fairly quickly leaving a very little lacing at the top of my glass. The beer is crystal clear with a medium toned yellow gold color.

Smell: Light floral, yeasty, slight metallic aroma, and some grassy smell. When it warms it smells like slightly rotten apple juice

Taste: Very refreshing, some citrus hops, bittersweet floral hops, some lightly sweet lightly toasted malt.

Mouthfeel: Light body, crisp carbonation, a small hop bitterness, some sticky film left over but overall a quite refreshing feeling.

Overall: Really drinkable, nice crisp refreshing flavor and mouthfeel. This is the kind of beer you just drink and enjoy on a hot day, not much to really admire in the appearance or smell.

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

Straw yellow in color with a white head that dissipated quick. Has some decent lacing.

I smell some grains with some malts. Not a whole lot to it.

Grainy taste with a touch of citrus to it.

Mouthfeel has a crisp high carbonation content. Light bodied like it should be for a summer beer.

Easy to drink, not a whole lot of flavor like i usually expect from SN, but its a good beer to refresh you on a hot summer day.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.66/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

2009 Summerfest (original review 6/1/09):

Poured a straw yellow with a big white fluffy head that was well retained.

Aroma was a little weak, at least from what I have come to expect from SN. Light grain/bread aroma.

Taste is grainy and hoppy with what seemed to be an overly dry slightly bitter aftertaste, until it warms a little (original score: 2.0).

The beer had a light body that was relatively smooth with nice carbonation.

Drinkability is slightly better than average, until the beer warmed a little and then it had a very metallic, very off-putting after-taste, so much so that I did not finish the beer (original score 1.5).

Update 4/2011: I decided to try this one again, since I have been into lagers lately and it appears that the one that I had originally reviewed may not have been a good bottle. The most significant changes come in taste and overall. The appearance, smell and mouthfeel are consistent with the prior review. The beer did not have the same metallic taste to it, so that dramatically improved the taste and overall score of the beer. Overall, a very enjoyable lager and if they are consistent with this 6-pack, I could see buying this brew more often.

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Photo of BigMike
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 Summerfest
Pours a crystal clear pale straw yellow color. Very minimal amount of head that disappears in seconds.
Smell is crisp and clean. A bit grainy with some light malts and some light citrus aromas.

This is the epitome of a crisp and refreshing summer lager. Light flavor with some citrus notes. Mainly lemon zest.
Very easy to drink and at 5% it's easy to drink a few.

This is a really good example of a style that's begining to grow on me lately. Maybe I DIPA'd myself out over the winter but I'm starting to enjoy these "summer" type beers for what they are. Refreshing and easy to drink.

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Photo of ghebel
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours clear, yellow to gold color with an adequate bubbly head that dissipates quickly to a thin ring leaving some lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - Grainy malts and earthy hops.

T - Follows smell with moderate bitterness.

M - Starts smooth, ends with a carbonation bite and a lingering bitterness.

D - Drinkable.

Overall - When in the mood for something lighter with distinct lager characteristics, this is your beer. Much more flavor than the macros.

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Photo of Foxtrot
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I haven't given Pilsener's a try, and thought it would be appropriate to give them a go.

Poured a nice clear tawny yellow with ample fizzy bubbles and a small head with light retention and light lacing.

Nice aroma's of hops with some pale malts. Nice and crisp even in the nose.

Taste is a nice quick snap of hops and prickly carbonation on the tongue. Flavors of grains, lemon zest and spices really deliver midway through the sip.

Mouthfeel was good. Nice carbonation and crisp/light body make this a really good summer beer.

Drinkability is good. Clocking in at 5% ABV. makes this a huge session brew.

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Photo of MaxBrews
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Light amber color. Very carbonated. A mild head that gives way to a thinner lacing.

Smell: Cereal grains, malt, not a very strong or distinct smell.

Taste: A light citrus taste, grainy and grassy in the malt

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated but smooth.

Drinkability: smooth an refreshing, fits the summer vibe with its citrus notes. A nice smooth, somewhat light easy to drink beer for those hot summer nights. However this beer easily surpasses many other beers in quality and taste.

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Photo of jsh420
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours bright clear yellow gold with a 1 finger white head that leaves spotted lacing down the glass

smells of sweet cereal grains and grassy hops with a little lemon

taste/mouthfeel - nice and crisp - a light body of sweet grains with just enough bitter hops on the finish

drinkability is strong - sure i would like more hops (prima pils) but this light drinking pils is perfect for summer

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Photo of rgore
3.16/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Nice bronze color with a some carbonation. Pours with about an inch of dense off white head. Nice lacing throughout.

S - Earthy and Malty. Not enough hops for me. The malts smell too sweet off the nose without the requisite amount of bitterness to balance them out.

T - Similar to the nose. My complaints are the same: not enough bitterness in this beer to balance out the overwhelming sweet and earthy malt in the beer. Overly bready, a little too carbonated.

M - Good mouthfeel, it lingers enough and isn't too thick or too thin.

D - The alcohol content makes it seem drinkable but for me its not light enough. Again its too heavy without the hops to balance it out, the sweet malty bread flavor with the carbonation keeps me from enjoying more than one or two.

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Photo of Seanstoppable
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a nice gold color with a decent amount of head. Smell is definitely hoppy. Nice crisp taste, with some sweetness and some hoppyness. Smooth overall. Something I would definitely drink while sitting out on a patio (which is what I am doing with it now)

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Photo of RollingRocker
4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the first time I've tried this beer and i must say that i am enjoying this beer quite a bit. Not only does it taste awesome it also goes down smooth clean and is very refreshing, especially after a hot days work (like right now).

Pours a golden color which you can see right through with a giant head that needed several minutes to settle, plus a good bit of lacing.

Smells slightly sweet with some hoppy undertones.

Tastes very crisp and clean with an excellent balance between the hops and the sweetness of the malt. Hop flavors linger for a little bit.

Mouthfeel is very nice just the right amount of carbonation.

Very drinkable beer, noticed that one glass leads to another and they go quick. DELICIOUS!

Solid Sierra Nevada of my favorite brewers.


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Photo of Onenote81
1.89/5  rDev -48.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

This beer pours a crystal clear pale gold with a huge frothy white head on top. Excellent retention and great sticky lacing on the glass. So far so good. But wait a minute...

Smells slightly skunked. Aromas of grass and big time lemon zest waft out. Not too bad. I sort of expected this I guess. Now the mouthfeel...what in the world?! Water. That's what this feels like. I tall glass of water. This is so slick and wet I wonder if there's any carbonation left. A quick glance tells me that there is, as I notice a moderate amount of bubbles rising up. Hmm. Weird.

This is one of the worst lagers/pilsners I've ever had in respect to flavor. This is extremely watered down and weak. It tastes like lemon water, light on the lemon. I would drink any BMC lager over this one, if this is the true representation. I am sorely disappointed. I have enjoyed every other offering from SN, but this is an atrocity.


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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a glowingly clear dark yellow color with a fairly stiff white head that has great retention and lacing. A pretty good looking pils here.

A nice spicy saaz aroma greets the nose upon sniffing. Not too much else, maybe a hint of grainy malts and lagerous sulfur. Very clean and fresh smelling brew.

Leave it to SN to brew a refreshing summer lager with a bunch of hops...go figure. Lots of saaz flavor and maybe some other floral varietal as well. Malts could use a bit more presence here, but other than that it is a nice pilsner offering from an American brewer. The Prima Pils is still my favorite, but this is not too far behind.

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Photo of JamesS
2.75/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a nice fizzy, pale yellow beer with some nice initial head, but almost no lacing. Decent malty scent and decent malty taste, although I would have classified this as a macro lager, as there was very little hop presence and there was a bit of a skunky/adjunct flavor and aroma. It went down smooth, but this is by far my least favorite SN beer to date.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a light golden straw hue with a thick white head with average lacing.

S - Balanced aroma of malts and hops, but more on the malt side.

T - It tastes almost like a weak SNPA but with a lot more crisp finish. The hop profile is similar but not as bitter, more flowery, and not nearly as present. Light crystal-like malts are the biggest flavor.

M/D - Has a medium body that is very crisp and clean. Average carbonation.

A nice "plain vanilla" lager made by a microbrew...nothing too special but a good alternative to a refreshing summer beer.

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Photo of br3wmeister
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Medium sized bubbly off white head that dissipates quite quickly. Bright golden colored beer very normal for a lager.

S- Light grains and some hops nothing to aggressive.

T/M- Grainy and light bodied with a nice crispness. A moderate amount of hops present as grassy flavors . Pretty good tasting lager.

Overall this is a pretty good lager great for a nice hot summer day.

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Photo of tjwarren
2.61/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle to a pint glass after trying it out of the bottle (to see if it is a worthy picnic beer.)

Pale straw color little to no head, not impressed at all.

Smell, I felt it was a little skunky. Not what I was hoping for. I kind of had Sam Admas Summer Ale on my mind and I felt this was a disappointment.

Taste, not a whole lot there. A little skunk with almost a grassy finish. Not bad for what they were going for but not really the bite I was expecting. It was crisp and clean like a summer beer, it just didn't do anything for me. Did not jump off the page at me.

Mouthfeel was somewhat absent, a little watery but if I was drinking it on a hotter day I think I would have liked it more.

If you are looking for a summer refresher, plain and simple and the little bit of skunk does not get in your way this is probably a winner.

For me as a summer beer I don't think this quite cut the mustard. I think the SA mentioned and Anchor Steam summer or Bell's Oberon would do better. In fact I would pick a Corona and lime over this. To be fair though you should try it on a hot summer day. Might improve then.

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Photo of againes
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an all around good Czech style Pilsener. Superior to the macro American lager styles with a fruity, citrusy taste and dry finish. The aroma is a little lacking compared to say a Staropramen but clean and effective nonetheless. The color is a rich gold compared to the straw gold macro lagers.

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 52.1% out of 100 with 4,240 ratings
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