Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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1,570 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: 1,570 | Ratings: 4,107
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pale straw and clear with a bright-white head that quickly disappears. Minimal lacing left on either the glass or the top of the beer. Lively carbonation pulls from the bottom.

Smell: Grassy with touches of spice on the back. Loads of grass. A touch of cereal grain and pilsner malts bring the whole thing up a notch, adding some depth. Faintly toasty.

Taste: Big spicy hop smack up front. A nice solid earthiness rounds out the spiciness from the hops. It's a combination I'm not used to with a lager. Touches of toasted grain and a pronounced grassy flavor bring up the back of the taste. A little rough around the edges.

Mouthfeel: Solid medium body accompanied by a solid carbonation. Only faintly dry, which is a little shocking. Crisp, clean, and easily drinkable.

Overall: A very solid summer lager from Sierra Nevada. It carries some of the trademark Sierra Nevada aggressive hopping, but like all their beer, it works. It's never overbearing and super refreshing. Lawnmower beer for sure.

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Photo of elniko
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: Light amber coloring with nice head and rather substantial lacing. High carbonation apparent. Good looking brew.

S: Nice pilsener tones, mostly grassy and malty tones with just a hint of the hops as well. Solid.

T & M: This is my go-to summer brew that I never got around to reviewing last year. Nice maltiness up front with crisp nicely bitter finish. Mouthfeel is not thin but not overbearing either, some slight buttery tones as well. Carbonation does not overwhelm.

D: Super drinkable, I could drink Summerfest all day long.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pale gold with decent clarity. Two and a half finger rocky head that holds well and leaves sticky patterns of lace. Pilsner malt and prevelant saaz hop aromas. The pilsner malt is actually sweet upfront, with a crisp dry tone coming on in the aftertaste. Full palate of saaz flavor, and thankfully not overdone bitterness. Medium body with a medium level of carbonation; but in conjuction with the malt and drying hops, this finishes clean and soft. Highly drinkable with a excellent balance of flavor and great example of the style.

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Photo of BigRedN
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Being in the midst of another typical Nebraska summer (High's in the mid 90's and humid for about the 8th straght day) it is definitely summer beer season. This beer definitely hits the spot.

Appearance: Pours from the 2005 edition bottle into a pilsner glass near clear, bright golden. Big, fluffy white head (about 1"), fell to a nice cap over the liquid. No lacing, some good carbonation evident.

Smell: Slight malty sweetness with a decent floral hop scent. Overall, probably the weakest aspect of the beer, but I don't expect much for this style, it's not supposed to be a big IPA hop bomb, or be a big chocolatey, roasted malt stout, just simple, IMO.

Taste: Some nice malt backing (malty sweetness in the middle) with a tinge of hop bitterness at the finish just to let you know that there are some hops here. Takes the macro lagers and other pale lagers like Heinie behind the woodshed for a little ass-kickin.

Mouthfeel: Lighter in bodied (good for the summer), clean, crisp, and a little dry.

Drinkability: Very high, which is important for a summer seasonal beer IMO. This must be lighter, easy-to-drink, and refreshing. In this, this beer succeeds, and it has flavor! I'd recommend this on a hot summer's day.

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Photo of DarthMalt
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

What do you know! A lawnmower beer for beer geeks.

I have no idea how this would taste to a "regular" beer drinker, but to me, it reminds me of "the first time." You remember? Hamburgers and hot dogs. The 4th of July. And then, suddenly, without warning, Dad says, "Here! See what you think of this."

Was it the paternal camaraderie?
Was it the fact that this might be something cool to do while your tee-totaler teenie-bopper friends looked on in jealousy?
Was it the thirst-quenching refreshment of the bitter, cold, fizzy, yellow beverage after a day of carnivorous bingeing?
Or was it just the heat?

Whatever it was, it was something special, and your taste buds will never forget it.

Thank You, Sierra Nevada.

PS - This is a freaking addictive session brew (e.g. fruit lambics). Remember, there's water too.

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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 Chaz
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a brilliant pale golden in color, with a solid, tight off-white head. Excellent lacing. Nose is pungent noble hops and a dusting of pale malt; fairly convincing. Sharp hop bite is the first impression on the palate, with a light scrubbing carbonation on the tongue. Dry, biscuity, bready malt qualities are very ably balanced by the hops. Notes of golden pear and grape skin, and light honey are all punctuated by the hops, which themselves add a gentle floral touch to the aromatic qualities. Dry overall, but fairly juicy and creamy on the tongue, really goes a long way for such a light-bodied beer. Truly exceptional drinkability. For years this was the one Sierra Nevada seasonal I had trouble selling-through, and I always felt it a shame as it's so well-done, and is probably my favorite Sierra Nevada offering. Would that this could be my daily beer I'd be a very happy man indeed. I'd put it up there with Prima Pils as one of my favorites of the domestic craft renditions.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.09/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crystal clear golden straw color, with a thick white head.

In the nose is yeast, banana, and bread.

This is very crisp and smooth upfront giving way to a bitter finish in the back. Whole grain buttery bread up front, followed by bitter greens. a delightful brew.

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Photo of aquaderek
4.09/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I tasted the 2008 version of the summerfest lager. I poured the beer into my Michael Jackson summer glass. The beer is a golden yellow with a lace head which sticks around for a while. The nose is hay with some slight spiciness (cinnamon) in the background like the bottle says, it smells crisp and clean. The taste is wonderfully balanced light unobtrusive, but the zesty crisp clean taste with hints of citrus. The mouthfeel is quick clean and dry with a very short finish. This is the epitome of a great summer beer, light refreshing, but taste great and is well balanced. It paired great with spicy Mexican food, I may have found my summer go to beer.

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Photo of BrandonLBC
4.09/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A--Very light yellow, completely clear. Has a light head that dissolves quickly. Minimal lacing.

S--Malt first, followed by just a hint of floral/and or pine hops. The hop smell is there, but very light.

T--Very crisp. with the malt up first and then just about the right amount of hop goodness, certainly about right for a lager

M--Light to medium carbonation feels great on the mouth and makes it extremely drinkable. Quite refreshing as well. I'd love to have a few of these at a barbecue on a summer afternoon.

O--Another great beer from Sierra Nevada, and I'm so glad we can get it here in Utah. It's pretty much exactly what I expect from a good craft lager/Pils. That full flavor gives it a good bounce over other more generic lagers. Looking forward to having quite a few of these this summer.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Packaged 4/10/14. 5.0% ABV

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.09/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Golden with clarity, lots of bubbles, and some nice lacing left all over the glass. A beautiful pilsner

S - Grain and wheat, and a bit of hop spiciness

T - Malty and organic. Well balanced, and tasty!

M - Crisp and smooth. Medium carbonation. Oily. Nice...

O - Sierra Nevada nails the style. I could drink these all day. Well done!

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Photo of maedhros09
4.09/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Straw gold with average white head that maintains a film throughout Smell: herbal hops
Taste: Light but really nicely balanced, tending towards dryness
Feel: Light, crisp

Overall: A really nice light pilsner with good balance. Great for warm weather, sessionable. Lighter in body and flavor than the SN Nooner Pilsner if memory serves.

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

Poured into a tall pilsner glass from a stubby brown bottle with a crimped on cap, not twist-off like the usual Sierra's.

Clear golden color 1" creamy white head with fair retention,lively with a decent amount of carbination very tiny bubbles stringing racing to the surface, leave a good amount of lacing. Looks very inviting.

Delicate aromas very flowery with a hint of citrus,aromas of rose petals with some light toasty maltiness. Very pleasing.

Very clean tastes perfumy/flowery with a hint of cirtus. Just a very light sweet malt taste not much mostly hop tastes. Really like the hop tastes very enjoyable.

Light mouthfeel,juicy,nice tangyness,slightly watery makes for great drinkability on a hot summer day. A very good summer beer would definately drink this one again. Would like to try the draft version if I could. Worth a try !

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

The 2005 Summerfest: Pours a wedding-ring gold. Light white head dies down fast. Sweet nose, tempered with a healthy dose of American hops. I am always pleased when American brewerys make a good larger. Sometimes I feel like we are to focused on ales in the US (even though I do prefer the top fermenters to the bottom fermenters). On a warm summers day, or at the base ball game, a nice cool, well balanced larger hits the spot. The sweet malt (I presume two-row) is tasty and the crips hop makes me thursty for another.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - pours light and clear yellow with light white head and minimal retention

S - strong malts up front with light pine and biscuit notes

T - malty up front that quickly gives way to a nice light bitter hop flavor and finish. malts are balanced so they are not over done what so ever

M - very light and and very clean with a very crisp bite.

D - this is a great summer beer for those that want to bake in the sun and enjoy a cold one. one of my favorite summer beers.

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

Transparent golden hue, large rocky head, awesome lacing throughout. Nice aroma of hops, appears to be thin yet crisp off the cuff. Tingy hop taste throughout, some spice and lemon peel with a decent light malty backbone. Grainy flavoring pushes through; highly quaffable, for a summer session brew, this one is off the charts!

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

Update May 2008: I actually think I captured the description fairly well for the 2008 version of this beer, but I am upping the review scores, ad I think I may have been overly harsh on a very tasty beer.

Original Review: Pours a clear (ok, slightly cloudy) pale yellow very typical of the style, but with a huge massive pillowy head and a huge stream of carbonation that make for a lot of activity.

Aroma is wheaty/grainy, light and refreshing, maybe a subtle lemon and perhaps a gentle hop note. Much cleaner than the typical culprits of this style.

Flavor is gentle malty/wheaty (so I guess that means grainy) with a moderate hop back end. After a few swallows, a noticeable sweetness comes in too. Enjoyable, a bit harsh in the hop arena, but nothing like the harshness of the actual Euro mega beers that make this style famous.

Nice mouthfeel, and on a hot day, I think I could enjoy this one as a decent yard beer substitute.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Short, fat, stout, 12 oz bottle copped singly from Monarch Liquors in Long Island, New York for $1.99...
Pours a hazy, straw-colored appearance with a decent-sized foamy and frothy head that soon dissipated and left a minimal amount of lacing around the glass...
Wheaty, fruity, aroma with noticeable suggestions of florals, grains, and candied sugars...
Taste strongly resembled the flavor with a nice burst of lemon, citrus, wheat, pears, apples, and green grapes...
Decent mouthfeel with a refreshing, rejuvenating burst of drinkability...
A good, easily drinkable, light summer-time beer...
Worth a shot...

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

Smells of bright citrus mostly. Perhaps some hops. Pretty good.

Upfront taste is of lemony citrus, much like that on the aroma. Near the end of the body and the finish, there's a pretty good hop backbone present...perhaps more than many summer beers. This makes the beer pretty dry and crisp. After the swallow, a fair amount of grain is perceptible through the aftertaste.

This is a very good summer refresher. Flavorful, crisp and delicious. Definitely great when ice cold.

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

This beer pours a nice clear golden color with a nice white head. It has a grainy aroma with a bit of citrus hop presence in the nose. Its taste again has a nice citrus hop bite to go along with the clean malt character. It has a light, crisp and clean mouthfeel and this beer is wonderful for a hot summer day. I dig everything that SN does, even their light beers are great!

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

2006 release.

Apperance is a very clear golden color. Nice white head that diminished quickly.

Aroma is sweet malt with a nice hop spiciness.

Flavor is more sweet malt up front with a nice hop flavor on the finish. Slightly bitter on the finish, too.

Mouthfeel is full without being sticky. Refreshing.

Overall, I will be drinking this steadily throughout the summer.

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

12 oz bottle with a serene, stylized landscape painting on the label.

Pours a super clear light golden yellow. A frothy white head laces the glass. I see many trails of carbonation. Smell is sugary sweet, with a whole lotta light biscuit. Taste is pleasantly bitter upfront, with a good dash of hops and more biscuit to back it up. Spicy finish, but very smooth. A bit of complexity for a pilsner, and it goes appreciated. "Crisp" as the label says, it is, and this would be a great session beer for a warm evening. Very good. I don't regret purchasing a sixer, and I'm sure a few more will follow..

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

After reading a forum about this seasonal lager changing character from previous years, I thought I would revisit it.

The pilsner poured a standard clear, golden color with a nice white fluffy head. If you enjoy lacing, this will not disappoint.

The aroma was largely noble, european hops. The sweet malt aroma was very inviting.

Similar to most czech style lagers, the flavor was initially sweet followed by a nice refreshing hop bite. It is always a pleasure to enjoy this style very fresh.

Overall, this one is light in body with a sweet, slick mouthfeel. In keeping with a traditional czech pilsner, the carbonation is not over the top.

Immensely quaffable, this is the ideal summer lager. I noticed that only the smell dropped from my previous review in 2008. As they say, the olfactory suffers with age.

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Photo of John1985
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice gold color with a fluffy white head that dies down while drinking and had lacing down the glass. Fragrant hoppy aroma, crisp balanced flavor with adequate hoppiness in the back. Very refreshing. As the name implies it is an ideal beer for the summer heat especially here in the Southeast. Another winner from Sierra Nevada!

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 1,570 ratings.
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