Alex Chesbro's Blog

Summertime, and the Living is Easy…

August 1, 2009
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So I just got done mowing the back yard, and like a real man, I craved a nice crisp beer after being in the 97 degree sun for 2 hours.   I reached into my fridge and grabbed a Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager.  Against my will, really.  I’ve got some Widmer Drifter Pale Ale in there as well, but I wasn’t feeling “fruity” at that moment.  I was thirsty.

I like this beer, I really do.  But I’ve got my qualms about it.  3436902288_9f1d917a39Let’s start at the beginning though…

I love Lagers.  Love them with all my heart.  That said, I love Pilsners just as much, possibly more, especially Budvar (Czechvar for you US people).  I don’t know what Sierra Nevada was trying to pull here, though.  Well, I do really; they were trying to make a European Pilsner, as evidenced by their inclusion of the Perle and Saaz hops and Munich malts.

Someone forgot to show up to the party though.  They were Mr. Saaz, Mrs. Perle, and the mayor of Munich.  Seriously, this tastes like a slightly-better Miller High Life.  Ok, it’s not that “bad,” but it’s no Premium Lager. I’ll drink a Becks import over this any day of the week.

But that’s not to say it’s not refreshing.  Sierra Nevada is known for its copious amounts of hops that they use, always well-balanced.  I don’t know if they used American Saaz and Perle hops or what, but the true colors of those flowers sure didn’t shine through.  It has more a citrusy, floral nose than it really should.  And the taste, the taste is “American Pilsner” all the way.  It’s an expensive Miller Lite, and it’s priced accordingly at “1/2 a kidney.” 

Ok, this beer is good, not Sierra Nevada’s best by any means, but it’s not Lager Good.  I could go so far to call it “American Pilsner” good, but I’m not going to.  I don’t know if they continuously ferment, skip kraeusening, or what, but Summerfest Lager taste just like a beefed-up macro brew lager/pils.  Not good enough for me to drink all summer, but good enough for me to enjoy once in a while.  Maybe as a 6-pack that I bring to a BBQ, or want to chill out on the porch when I want something tasty and decent.

I remember when I was still living in Dusseldorf, Germany, sitting outside one day concepting with my Art Director partner.  We were at a bar, sitting outside, the sun blaring at us.  2pm or something like that.  We drank lagers the whole day, and that’s how I like to remember lagers.  Eminently drinkable.  Smooth.  Crisp finish, thanks to Czech Saaz hops, German Perle hops, German Munich malts.  Everything from where it’s supposed to be.  

Thats what we want to be able to do.  Brew America the first Great American Lager.  Ales are great and all, but you can’t exist on bread and water alone.  We want to bring you the “Fluessiges Brot” of Germany, and let you drink it ’till your gullets explode.  

More coming soon…..