Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,576 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Summerfest LagerSierra Nevada Summerfest Lager

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

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Reviews: 1,576 | Ratings: 4,135
Photo of Tone
3.81/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, pale gold color. 3/4 inch head of a white color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of pale malt, sweet malt, hops, hint of citrus, and a hint of wheat. Fits the style of a Czech Pilsner. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong pale malt, slight citrus, hint of hops, slight sweet malt, and a hint of wheat. Overall, decent aroma, good blend, and good body.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.07/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is served in a stange. Beer is yellow and completely clear. Carbonation is moderate and made up of medium bubbles. Forms a white broken head that clings to the glass interface but doesn't leave any lacing on the glass. Looks fine.

There is nearly no aroma, slight grainy smell. Faint. I know aroma is not a big part of this beer but its not appetizing.

Beer has a grainy taste to it but it finishes nicely. Overall just a plain, blank slate, almost a palate cleanser. There is nothing special or interesting about this beer. Its bland. Easy to drink though.

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Photo of stevoj
3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Light, smooth and drinkable. Clear golden with small white head. Light grain aroma, taste is crackers, bread, more cereal grains. Hops are an afterthought, not enough for any bite or finish. As the name implies, a good summer beer though....

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

Poured in a pint glass - golden in color with a 1/2" head. Lacing develops. The aroma is very mild tones of grass, citrus, and hops. The flavor follows suit as the malt and hops are softly balanced with some lemon and grass / hay flavors.

The mouthfeel is crisp as the carbonation is strong. The finish is a little crisp and dry. This is a lighter bodied brew. Extremely drinkable for a hot summer day and the flavor is just strong enough to excite some tastebuds without sending them into overload.

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Photo of tempest
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oh man, I remembered this just being a light lager, but I've since gotten into pilsners and this one impresses me. The aroma got me first, it's pretty spot-on with the imported pilsner's like Jever or Budvar - slightly sour with a bland grain element. The flavor is surprisingly strong with a burst of citris and grassy hop flavors. It tastes like American hops might be in there. There's a nice white head and lacing to complete the appearance, and like all good pilsners, its quite drinkable.

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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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Photo of Wasatch
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

05 edition Pours a clear yellow color, some carbonation, small head, nice lacing afterwards. Scents of malt, lemon grassy, and kinda sweet. Very nice taste of .light malty and sweet. Light body. Very drinkable lager from SN. Another very nice brew from SN.

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

From the bottle into a stange, it's frothy white head floats on top the clear straw colored body. Aroma is grassy. In taste, it's more of a helles lager than a pilsner to me, as there isn't much hop profile, which is surprising given this is a Sierra Nevada brew. Somewhat like drinking saltine crackers with grassy notes to it. It's still a pretty good hot weather beer.

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Photo of tone77
3.44/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a pale yellow color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts, a touch sweet. Taste is crisp, very refreshing, a bit of sweetness with a tad bit of bitterness at the finish. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a golden color with a white head. The aroma is a mix of grassy hops and pilsener malt. The flavor is more of the same. I get some grassy and earthy hops as well as some biscuit malt. Low bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Easy drinking and would be nice on a hot summer day.

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Canterbury Ales, Huntington, New York.

Poured a medium to dark straw hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a sift malt and spicy noble hop.

The taste was very well balanced with a musty hop and super biscuity malt.

The mouthfeel was toward the softer side of the style.

Overall a tasty and refreshing pilsner.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Sierra Nevada Pint glass.

Bud light yellow leaning towards a blond color that's quite bright. Sediment free with no debris. A stealth pour yielded a foamy top 1/4 of the glass with the white stuff, no lace.

Not a bold nose here, very muted, smells like a slightly fruity pilsner. Pale malts and some European hops.

A real crisp Pilsner right here. The taste is not much but man is it refreshing. A light sense of malt breadiness, straw, lemon spritz and hop bite at the end that's a bit floral. Simple and a good Czech Pilsner.

Light in body without being thin, the carb is nice and packing a punch without numbing the tip of the tounge. Goes down all to easy. Quite a drinker.

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Photo of biegaman
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It just seems that, for whatever reason, yellow is the colour best suited to hot summer days. With regards to this beer, it's likely because it mirrors so prettily the sun's brilliant luminosity. Indeed, peering at it now, sitting directly in the sun's path, it glistens with golden splendor (enough, in fact, to gain the affection of the bees). Its head is no site to behold although its bubbles put on quite the show.

Lagers are infinitely better with proper hopping. The grainy, toasty, sweet-smelling scent of pale malts has its charms, but it's made much more splendid when it has the accompaniment of grassy, zesty, lemony Saaz hops. Continental hops may not be as brassy as American varieties, but they're every bit as appealing and aromatic.

The beer has a fairly rich maltiness but it isn't all that complex; its plain breadiness makes a perfect canvas for the lemony, spicy, ultra-floral bitterness of the hops. Without the hops - and without this many of them - the beer might be a little humdrum and quickly tiresome. With all those spicy, lemony, grassy, floral components at its side, however, it's delicious.

The beer is appreciably clean and its bitterness is prominent but far, far from crude and does not linger. The aftertaste actually contains a good dose of both grainy sweetness and spicy, floral bitterness although neither lasts long and the interval between sips can be as little as seconds long (and the sips themselves quickly become more like giant gulps).

Hoppy, zestful, refreshing, quaffable pilsners like this seem to me as essential to hot summer days as sun screen, sandals and a pool or lake. Ignore food pairings (although just about anything done on a BBQ seems a safe bet) and just pair this with friends and a beach. This beer is as agreeable as the summer season itself and, like it, I find myself sorrowfully missing it the other months of the year.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a bright clear gold color with a nice white head. There is a nice hop aroma accompanied by a slight lemon aroma and some floral grassy notes. There is a sharp carbonation which gives a sense of acidity up front. Nice and clean tasting with a hop bite finish. This lager has a very clean bitterness from the hops. There is a nice amount of body, but it is still quite quenching. This clean beer is a vehicle for the hop aroma and bitterness that the brewers have seen fit to add.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap in a pint glass at the Barking Dog Alehouse in Seattle.

Appearance: medium golden hue with a light haze and a lazy effervescence. Head is a finger of pillowy white foam. Nice.

Smell: light aroma of malt and some noble hops. Well composed but mild.

Taste: good malt flavor with a hint of grain and bread. A nice noble hop character rounds it all out. Tasty!

Mouthfeel: medium light body with a good level of carbonation-- more than I would have guessed from the effervescence. Creamy and fulfilling.

Overall: actually a very satisfying pilsner. I would gladly have this again, especially on tap like this.

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Photo of dar482
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This was bottled on 3066, or early February of 2013. First digit being year and next three numbers being Julian date.

The beer pours out in a straw golden clear yellow with a big fluffy head. Standard look.

The aroma has some grassy floral hops along with some spice. Very traditional smelling pilsner. Some fresh citrus peel in there as well. Some light cracker malt and grains in there.

The flavor hits you with some sweet grains with a hint of lemon as well This beer is very crispy with a decently bittering grassy hop in the back, but it’s also slightly metallic for some reason.

This is a crisp beer with subtle hops with a good amount of drying on the end. Unfortunately, not much flavor in this one. It’s a bit toned down, even for a pilsner. I do prefer the true German or Czech versions of this beer, but still decent.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz picked up a couple days ago for about $1.30.. Label is different this year... Blue border and the "Bottom Fermented" is gone.. instead, "Lager" is printed beneath the Summerfest banner. Poured into my shaped Sam Adams glass.

Rocky head that I was able to get to tower one inch above the lip of the glass without ever spilling a drop. Head drops leaving only spotty lacing. brew is crystal clear straw gold.

Aroma is pale malts with more than enough spicy hops.. smells very clean.

Flavor is very clean.. grainy maltiness.. nice hop bitterness backbone.. midpalate mildly doughy grains with spicy/slightly floral hop flavors.. Again.. very clean.. body is perfect for the style.. Finish lingers for a while.. playing pingpong back and forth between the hops and malts.

I could drink buckets of these.. the problem is, I never gave it too much play until this year. I've had my fair share of Summerfest over the years and never put too much thought into it... this year, with the label change, I did a little research and decided to give it a proper go around. Really, it is a damn good pilsner .. I now am very interested in picking up the other locally available Czech Pils and trying in a row... I would bet this plays ball well with its European brothers.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz 2007 bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

A: Golden straw color with light carbonation. Nice clarity. Slowly dissipating one finger head that leaves thin film over surface
S: Malty, grassy smell. Nothing spectacular, but appealing
T: Crisp, refreshing flavor to start, with a hoppy bitter finish. Some hints of lemon.
M/D: Medium bodied, mild carbonation finishes very dry with bitter aftertaste. Nothing too spectacular, nothing bad. Nice summer beer but coming from SN slightly disappointing compared to some of their other seasonals.

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

A decent pils for a summer afternoon. Pours clear and very light pale yellow with a fluffy white head. Good retention and lacing. Grainy aroma, some grassy, vaguely floral hops, a bit bready but not all that complex.

Taste follows the nose; it’s simple and seems almost underhopped for the style; a bit bland; some grassiness but feels like it needs a sharper hop definition and bite. Light breadiness; some floral and citrus, again plainer and less interesting than I’d like. Body was light and carbonation medium; I feel like this might be one of those beers I’d like more from a bottle than on-tap, as it felt smoother and less bubbly than I’d like for the style, taking away from the crispness and refreshing aspect of the beer.

Edit: returned to this beer a few times in bottles and found the feel and carbonation to be just fine but just a little sweeter and breadier than I would have wanted - would have enjoyed it a little drier. Still not as lean and nimble as I'd want on the hottest of days.

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Photo of Zorro
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden brew with a sticky white head.

Smell is pleasant and grainy with a biscuit malt scent. There is a good solid dose of Nobel hops in the smell, nice herbal perfume and a bit of grassiness. Slight fruity nature comes out after a bit.

Taste is faint sweetness and heavy noble hops. Very fruity and perfume on the tongue. Stout bitterness in the aftertaste makes the dryness of the beer. Very good beer but the hop level makes my brain say Pilsner and not Lager.

Mouthfeel is quite good solid but not cloying.

Very satisfying and drinkable beer. A good Pilsner when you can't find a Pilsner.

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

12 oz. bottle, 2007 Edition,

A: Clear yellow, with a thick white head, which drops off quickly, lots of silver bubbles coming up to the top.

S: Bready malts and the dry Czech hops.

T: Dry Saaz hops, backed with bready malts, simple but effective.

M: Very dry, smooth, good carbonation, spritzy, and not chewy, very good for a pils.

D: A good summer quencher, a great example of an American lager.

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Photo of John_M
2.44/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I am a huge fan of Sierra Nevada beers, and would certainly place them in the top 10 of my favorite breweries in the US. So I have to say I was a bit surprised by this lackluster effort. Granted, I know it's made to be a light summer thirst quencher, but this is going too far (IMO).

The beer pours a nice yellow gold orange color, but with almost no head and little or no lacing. What little head was evident disappeared completely after a few minutes. I could smell almost nothing, despite my best efforts. Perhaps there is a slight aroma of sweet malt, but not much else. On the palate this is one watery beer. There is a hint of sweet malt, with some bracing dryness from the hops. This beer is not very crisp or refreshing, but on the other hand is certainly very light and drinkable. There is almost no finish, and mid way through my 10 oz. glass I just gave up. If I'm going to drink something with this kind of calorie intake I want it to be something with a bit more flavor.

Very disappointing effort from SN. Calling this a summer beer is no excuse for making something this flavorless.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.47/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown 350ml bottle poured into a 0.2 litre Veltins Pilsner stemmed tulip glass (twice).

Lager looking beer (what a shock!), white head sat on top of a clear golden, bright body. The large head fell away to a thin covering very quickly.

The aroma came from the sour end of citrus fruits (lemon, limes and grapefruits) along with a hint of yeast.

The taste has a grapefruit tang to it. The other citrus fruits from the aroma didn't re-appear in the taste.

Refreshing and fizzy, this is a summer beer for sure and pleasant one at that.

Zesty lager that has a lot more going for it than a lot I've reviewed, not bad at all.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. 2009 batch. Sampled on June 7, 2009.

A - A golden yellow with lively carbonation and a small and short-lived fizzy white head. Great clarity.

S - The malts are the chief aroma here with a vague hint of hops and something citrus-like along the lines of orange.

T/M - A pretty decent, medium body. The taste is mainly malts and vague hops. But it is very mild and enjoyable. A decent summer brew.

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Photo of Derek
2.64/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Clear, golden yellow, fluffy white head, some retention & lace.

S: Acidic, soapy/floral hops.

T: Slightly sweet, slight soapy/floral hop flavour. Needs some more bready maltyness and bitterness. It's just too light for a Pils.

M: Light to moderate body, moderate carbonation.

D: Approachable & quite quaffable, but it doesn't bring me back for more.

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 4,135 ratings.
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