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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,565 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: 1,565 | Ratings: 4,095
Photo of chrisms86
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Pours with a thin layer of sticky head. The taste is great, some notes of citrus add to the full flavor. A very drinkable beer with a pleasant aftertaste, which stick around for awhile due to the syrupy texture of this beer. The carbonation seems artificial, which really brings down the quality of this lager to something like a Henry Weinhards (goes for a good taste, but it all seems somewhat fake).

Without the strong carbonation this would have been a common sight in my fridge, but as it is Sieraa Nevada Summerfest will only make occassional appearences.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.47/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear bright gold in color. Fluffy white head settles in nicely and remains for the bulk of the beer. Light citrus in the nose and also some floral hops. Taste is excellent. Hops are bold and spicy, malt is full yet smooth. This is a great summer beer with hints of citrus (lemon and grapefruit). Excellent, I will definitely enjoy more of these this summer.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.82/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is a healthy shade of yellow and the head is average-sized. Carbonation is very good. The aroma is fairly clean with just a mild spicy hop smell. The taste is strongly (for a lager) of spicy hops with a tasty light malt body. A light citrus bite is also noted. This is very different and much more interesting than expected. Mouthfeel is appropriately crisp and drinkability is great. This is a choice summer seasonal beer, light enough to quench thirst, but still very flavorful.

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Photo of silver0rlead
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, golden yellow color with a frothy white head that leaves nice lacing. Smell is pale malts and a graininess with a hint of spices. Taste is a grainy malt flavor with a hint of fruity esters, and a clean dry finish. Mouthfeel is crisp and smooth and drinkability is high.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden color with a decent head and very good lacing. Smell s of a rich malt with just a faint hint of hops. Full bodied as "summer" beers go. A rich malt flavor with and nice hop bitternes and flavor - not IPA or even APA hoppines but it is very detectable. Smooth and crisp. High carbonation. A nice summer beer. Not a lawnmower beer, but a sitting on the porch type.

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Photo of pentathlete
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bright golden clear beer, with a foamy head that left a little lace on the glass. Mild nose with just a hint of floral hops. Bitterness is barely present in the taste. Medium mouthfeel. Overall, my basic complaint is that this beers simply isn't crispy enough. I want a little dryness in the finish. This finishes...wet. An easy drinker, a nice alternative, but there are better selections.

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Photo of asabreed
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I decided on a summer, thirst-quenching beer tonight, or one that I figured would be such. I'm splurging tomorrow for more cellar-away brews, but tonight I wanted a 6-pack of something lighter that I'd never had before. Here goes.

Appearance: What a great head. Halfway through the glass the sucker is still thick and foamy, and the lacing is webbing nicely around the glass. I know for this type of beer the color's supposed to be lighter and yellow, but it looks a lot like Miller Lite. Thankfully it doesn't taste like it. But the head and the lacing are eye candy, especially since I wasn't expecting it.

Smell: Herbal and hoppy aromas up front, and faint grass. Some lemon and orange zest, though it's faint. Malts and yeast, though the yeast is a bit stronger. Not extremely discernible, though it's still warming and not at cellar temperature. I still couldn't see this opening up to insanely great aromas, however, though it's certainly not even close to unpleasant.

Taste: Kind of a mesh of all mentioned above, really. Malts and yeast coming through the most, a bit of sweetness, grass, then slight hop bitterness at the end. Faint lemon and orange zest. Not bad, but I wish it was more interesting.

Mouthfeel: What I expected. Pretty light body. Light carbonation. It's quenching, I'll give it that. Could be better.

Drinkability: This would be a beer I'd bring to a grill out for someone who'd usually be drinking light swill; if it were ice cold I couldn't find many people who aren't even remotely adventurous drinkers finding a difference (though this may be a bad thing I suppose and I should probably give them some other better craft beers to try possibly). That's not saying it's a bad beer, it's just not one of SN's best by any stretch.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.01/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours to a pale yellow with a thin and fizzy white head that leaves no lacing. Doesn't appear to be too impressive. The smell, on the other hand is quite zesty and powerful. Smells like a merlot or a shiraz or something with a powerful fruity blast.

The taste is also very similar to a wine, yet it has that cold and crisp carbonated mouthfeel I'd expect from a lager. Only a tiny taste of the hops, and the malts don't seem to be too "malty" tasting either, yet it is a good refreshing drink. I would rate this much higher on the drinkability scale, but after one or two the tartness begins to overwhelm my palate.

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Photo of ypsifly
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage poured into a pilsener.

Pale gold with a decent head of white that falls to less than a cm of foam. Does a good job of coating the glass as it goes down.

Smells malty with a good pairing of floral hops. Am I smelling an ale?

Hops take an assertive role in the taste. Again, this is coming off more as an ale than a lager. It does finish clean as I would expect from a lager, but the crispness isn't as pronounced as I would expect.

Medium mouthfeel that goes down easy. Pairs well with grilled meats. This one did a good job of washing down braised short ribs and bbq pork tenderloin this evening.

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Photo of Gruntlumber
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm amazed at how varied the reviews are for this beer. Some call it "too heavy", even though it's one of the lightest micros I've ever had. Some say "too bitter, hoppy", even though there is barely a trace of hoppiness in my opinion. Some say it tastes like Bud. Some say it tastes like SN's Pale Ale. Maybe this brew varies a lot from year to year, because I disagree with many of these comments.

This is definitly a pilsner-style lager: pours very light and has a nice refreshing aroma with a hint of hoppiness. If I tasted this blind, I would say it tastes like Pilsner Urquell, one of the best lagers out there. I want to taste the two side-by-side because the similarities are many. Summerfest has a fresher, cleaner taste however, probably because it IS fresher than the imported PU. I thought this was a great brew. Lagers are never really high on my list because they are all so similar, but given the choice I'd take this anyday over most other lagers.

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Photo of acrawf6
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a nice golden. not much head in this one, but good lacing. this one is, like other sierra navadas, bitter and hoppy. The mouthfeel is good, nice carbonation, maybe a little oily. Its a decent beer, and tastes like it would be nice on a hot summer day, but its not great. honestly if you miss this one, you wont be missing much.

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Photo of pikemark
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single at Gorodon's.

Poured a clear golden, looks like vegetable oil. Little head and moderate lacing. As I poured it I could smell the yeast coming of it, like frsh bread, very good smell.

The actual tasting was not as promising. Pretty dry and went down easy, but tasted too light for me. Carbonation helped it go down, but not much to the flavor.

Its good for a summer day but not one I would buy again.

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Photo of PhillyMonk
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear, straw-colored with very little head. Smells surprisingly malty, but clean. Taste is crisp, carbonated and a bit astringent at first, giving way to a fair amount of hops. I'm not a huge lager fan, but even so I would have expected a little more out of Sierra Nevada, which I'm a big fan of in general. If you like hoppy lagers or pilsners, this one might be worth a try. This wouldn't be a bad barbecue beer and would pair well with some grilled chicken and veggies.

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Photo of whartontallboy
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gold orange pour with a medium sized white head. Hoppy scent that you'd expect from these guys with a little bit of gruit and grass. Flavor is okay, but nothing to write home about. It's got a light hop profile, and the malt comes to the surface with some real sweetness and a little bit of a crisp finish. This one's okay, but I thought it was a bit overpriced and not quite there to be a nice refreshing lager. But Bigfoot was good.

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Photo of GolgiIPAratus
2.4/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Sampled: 4.13.05

Medium pour produces a dense, one & a half inch head that fades at no speed above abnormal, and fades at no speed below abnormal. The liquid is transparent, offering a clear view of my fingers on the other side of the glass through a golden filter. Lacing is average, nothing special.

The smell is malty caramel, which is strange for a summer time offering. Tangy tidbits twist in the nostrils as well. Nothing here whetting my desire to get into this beer.

The first taste is dominated by that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale flavor. A caramelized malt whip pushes those overwhelming hops aside, however. A light, light bitterness peeks through upon the swallow. I'm not impressed with this flavor. Not sure why this is their version of a "summer" beer. It's just too thick. The mouth is creamy and lightly carbonated.

Drinkability depends on how much you actually enjoy the beer (obviously) . I didn't enjoy the flavor, so drinkability wasn't good for me.

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Photo of pjwilson
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2005 Edition... hmmm why is a West Coast lager listed under Euro lager... Tastes more like Bud than Heini...should be american lager..anyways
Pretty damn good drinkable lager. With the hot weather i was starting to go crazy drinking bitter beer... I literally ran to the corner store to get either a lager or wheat beer... went with this 'cuz guy said it came today so it must be fresh...which is so important with lagers....
Pours straw color/ nice head that sticks/ smell ...well there isn't really much....
The taste is much more malty than bitter...this is no Czech Pilsner...
Drinkablitly is off the charts

Final Notes: Some may crucify me for this to me this is like Budwieser done right. There's no cringe and it's tastes great...goes with any food and anybody would like it... In an ideal world this beer would be Budwieser and cost 7 dollars a 12er but it's actually 7 dollars a 6er.... the price the only negitive I guess... ps i do live about an hour from Chico and it got shipped today so it is very, very fresh...might not be as good on the east...but just a guess

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Photo of Goldorak
3.54/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Found this hidden in the back end of my Beerfridge...

Appearance: Clear, golden yellow with a little off orange hue, with only a hint of ring around the glass.

Smell: Decent hoppy smell, that must be Saaz, or a close cousin.

Taste: Most definately grassy, with the aftertaste of baby radish shoots, or maybe those wheatgrass shots you can get in those yuppie juice bars. Ok maltyness, aftertaste lasts long, and sticks to your tongue, I like that.

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Photo of dauss
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: short stubby 12 oz. brown twist top bottle. 2004 on the label around the neck.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy golden straw yellow. Big fluffy white head forms with good retention and a ton of lace.

Smell: floral noble hops, a little fruitiness, and grassy.

Taste: Good dose of flavoring hops, very floral. Sweet malt start up front, with a very light bitterness. Light carbonation, medium-full body, clean fruity finish.

Notes: Another good beer from Sierra Nevada. This beer seems to have a lot more hops, but I like it.

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Photo of clvand0
3.31/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden color with a small white head that leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is malty and has some hints of grassy hops. The flavor is much the same. Quite a bit of graininess, and a little hops. Something about this one just didn't sit right with me. It's just ok for a summer lager. The drinkability was ok, and the body was moderate.

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Photo of donnebaby
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Today was a very warm day in Philadelphia for Halloween, so why not review a Summerfest...

Thick gold color body, filled with slow bubble streams. Tactile and lasting cream top that drifted up and laced well against the glass. Nose was light and held some sweet wheat and faint citrus.

Taste, too, was full of wheat and cream--with ample sweetness. Soft medium carbonation went nicely and helped to give this beer a real light feel despite the obvious body. A great after-the-fact sharp bitterness keeps things interesting. Very much drinkable with an excellent feel.

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Photo of Skidz
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out pale straw and sits bright gold in the glass with a big fluffy white head with some big lacings.

Smells largly malty with hints of lemon and orange rind. Light notes of apples and a nice herbal dose of hops.

Tastes sweet and malty up front with bits of spicy and herbal hops pushing their way through. Orange peel and a little twang of grapefruit oil in the back of the mouth. Finish is nicely bittered with lingering herbs and malty sweetness.

Crisp and full of light carbonation in a medium body. Nice and refreshing.

I think I'd enjoy this beer more if it has a better dosing of hops. It seems a bit dumbed down to me, but, as the style goes, it works, just my preference. Still, it's nice an refreshing and quite easy to put back.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I fail to see how a beer brewed in California, U.S.A. can be called a Euro Pale Lager. Yeah, I know, if it fits the style... blah, blah, blah. But still, this beer deserves better. I therefore dub Summerfest a Yankee Pale Lager.

Pellucid bright amber with an impressively large, creamyfirm, French vanilla head that looks like it belongs on an IPA. The foam displays remarkable persistance and eventually lays down generous amounts of lace in vertical streamers.

The aroma is unmistakably of aromatic Saaz hops with very little else muddying the waters. I'm not a big fan of that particular hop, but it's actually somewhat pleasant here, both in the nose and on the palate. Its oftentimes sharp, pungent nature is blunted to some extent by a fair amount of sweetish pale malt.

A subtle clove and white pepper spiciness increases marginally with warming. I prefer more citrus in my summer beers, but I won't complain too loudly. The body is solidly medium, yet is still well within the bounds of easy drinkability demanded by the summer seasonal designation.

Summerfest is a pretty good Saaz-hopped pale lager, even if my lack of affinity for that particular hop variety keeps me from loving it. That said, this Yankee Pale Lager kicks the crap out of the vast majority of its Euro counterparts.

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Photo of AndyM
2.45/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2004 Label / Late Summer Seasonal...

Sierra Nevada has burned me for the last time. I said that after their Bigfoot Ale (a Barleywine) this past winter, but decided to give it another go when I saw this one. I will never try one of their seasonals again!

They say this is a lager, but I have a really hard time believing that. There is only the slightest hint of lager yeast flavor here (probably because it is overpowered by the hops), and therein lies the problem: to me, this beer tastes exactly like most of Sierra Nevada's other beers.

It is incredibly hoppy - far too bitter for my taste, and I really like hoppy beers. It is one of the hoppiest pale ales I've ever had - and I wasn't expecting much hoppiness at all, considering all the label says is, "bottom fermented." In fact, it was sitting with the Oktoberfest beers in my local liquor shop. It says "bottom fermented..." what would you think? Poured out into a glass, it even LOOKS like your average lager.

Unfortunately, I get sick of the taste after about 3 good sips. One of the few times I've actually poured out the remnants of a bottle of beer; usually I can at least choke the rest down, but I saw no point in finishing this one. Now I have to find some recipes to use up the rest of the bottles :

I would recommend this ale to someone who would be classified as an "extreme hops addict" (not just a fan of hoppy beers), or if you've never had a bad Sierra Nevada product. Otherwise, I'd make another selection at the liquor store.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Snaggle-toothed this Summer offering at the end of Summer on tap at UJ's in North Hills. Clear filtered straw hued tight clingy head hued cover. Excellent head retention as the brew went South.

Fruity citrous notes in a [guessing] Lager style.

First swigs: Lemony notes and crisp light body. Well balanced, dry short nearly apple twinged finish. Tangy hops, ease over light malts. Orange slices.

Feel is light for a lager even. Lasting crispness.

High drinkability for being an easily flavored and well carbonated brew.

Last swigs: As Enya's Orinoco Flow poured from the juke box, an last Summer minute enjoyable hoppy lager and red apple noted brew went back. Bring on the Fall colors.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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

The beer pours a pale gold color with a thick frothy white head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale malts and lager yeast. It has a dry aroma. The taste is decent. It has a crisp pale malt flavor with a slight hop bitterness and a very dry lager yeast finish. The mouthfeel is good. It is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a decent lager. It has excellent aroma and smooth flavor; a good drinker.

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 1,565 ratings.
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