Friday Brew Review – Summerfest


Summer is on the way and I couldn’t be happier.

There was once a time in which I didn’t care for the summer. I grew up as a fat kid and the heat of the summer drove me insane. And rightfully so. If you’re within reasonable shape and want to know what it’s like to be husky in the summer, just imagine wearing a sweat shirt and jacket during a ninety degree day. Also, you are unable to get cool because you refuse to drink anything besides OK Soda.

Yeah, the summer of `94 turned even the most urbane of fat kids into sweaty messes.

But luckily, I’m now a scrawny weakling that teaches high school. What fucking reason would I have to dislike summer? Is it the fact that I don’t have to work? Could it be that I finally don’t have to worry about my joke-of-a-disease? Or is it the prospect of grilling burgers and drinking beers on a regular basis?

Clearly, I’m a fan of summer-summer-summertime.

Ok, so we’re still in the thick of spring. But the fact is that the greater Boston area has been heating up, and we’re finally emerging from the frozen hell that is a New England winter. So now my eye is on the prize, a wonderful set of three months in which baseball doesn’t seem like the slowest leisure activity ever invented. C’mon, let’s go to the beach and hope nothing goes terribly awry! Summer is on the horizon and I’m damn ready for it.

And so are the beer companies.

Breweries are pushing out their summer-themed concoctions, lining the shelves with all sorts of shit promising to enhance the seasonal party-time. So even if it’s a bit early according to the calendar (and who trusts that thing anyways?), the beer makers say that it’s time to put on a 311 mixtape and drink a cold one. I’m down.

So tonight I’m sipping on Summerfest from the peoples at Sierra Nevada. The brewery is based out of California, and I bet if anyone can turn the spirit of the summer into an inebriating beverage it’s those laid-back West Coast stoners. Moreover, they’ve done right by me with other seasonals so snagging a sixer didn’t really seem like much of a risk.

As I always do before drinking, I checked to see what the brewery had to say about their product. In their words,

Our Summerfest ® is a refreshing, pilsner-style lager. Its incredible smoothness comes from an extra-long lagering period. Lighter in body than our ales but just as complex in character, Summerfest ® quenches your thirst with big aroma and a tangy hop bite.

Tangy? Hoppy? Thirst-quenching? Sounds pretty good. But the question is, could Sierra Nevada just be lying in an effort to sell beer? Two or three beer companies have been caught doing that before, so it’s certainly possible. But there’s only one way to find out — crack that shit open!

After giving Summerfest’s bottle cap some sweet chin music, I grabbed a glass and went for the pour. The beer came out very clear and yellow, almost like an off-color Mountain Dew. Don’t worry, the hue is more like liquid sunshine than peepee and so drinking it still seemed like a good idea. An appealing head topped off the suds and I felt even more compelled to drink.

The bouquet I picked up was light and fruity, with nary a whiff of alcohol to be found. When it comes to summer-evening beers, airing on the lighter side isn’t a bad thing and the scent reminded me of this fact. The more I got acquainted with the drink the more it seemed like a good companion. You know, like someone who pats you on the back and says, “Hey, we’re going to have a good time. I’m going to help make you feel good.”

Drinking Summerfest only affirmed my suspicions — this is a quality brew. There is definitely a notable hoppiness, which is a quality that I don’t always care for in a beer. Fortunately, this is counterbalanced with notes of fruit, adding a sweetness that prevents the drink from becoming too dry. In fact, I was so inspired that I decided to add a couple of lemon wedges the second and third Summerfests of the evening — this really put it over the top. With my addition, this Sierra Nevada staple became a perfect barbeque brew, something clean and refreshing to sip on while charring mammal flesh.

Sierra Nevada strikes again. Shit is tasty. The grade is earned: B+