1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Rainier Lager - Pabst Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Rainier LagerRainier Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
63
poor

140 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 140
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 2.62
pDev: 25.95%
Wants: 3
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pabst Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Adjunct Lager |  4.72% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-05-2003)
View: Beers (58) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 140 | Reviews: 59 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ericj551
ericj551

Alberta (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev +26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Rainier Lager pours a bright gold with a foamy head that doesn't linger. There isn't much more than a mild graininess in the aroma. The flavor is slightly sweet, with a bit of graininess and some very light (not quite unpleasant) sulfur. The finish is clean, with just a bit more graininess. Overall there is nothing offensive here, I would say this is definitely one of the better adjunct lagers.

Serving type: can

11-29-2010 04:46:20 | More by ericj551
Photo of ELN
ELN

Washington

2.25/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

They put this back on the shelf in about late 2007. I started buying it because I wasn't sure how long it would stick around. Now that it's been 3 years it seems so standard. It is better tasting than Pabst who also makes this beer. Not that bad warm. Pretty tasteless cold. I pick up 18 packs every now and then for $11.47. Since Pabst makes this it's usually the same price as Pabst but sometimes it's a dollar more. It's okay. Once you get over the regional love it's kind of boring. I like beer in cans and cheap beer though and there are only so many at my local Wal Mart or Winco where I generally do my grocery shopping. I'm sure it looks yellow in a glass. I always drink out of the can though. Smell is oretty light, mouthfeel is watery. Drinkability is alright. C-... cheap but ok

There's a video on YouTube of Kurt and Krist of Nirvana in Aberdeen buying this beer and the rest of the video is them practicing at Krist's mom's house which is kind of cool and special.

One time I was buying some of this late on a Friday night and an older dude like mid-30's saw me buying it and said he didn't know they made it anymore. He said he used to buy Lucky Lager which was the cheapest beer when he was younger. I wish I could try Lucky. They used to make it here in Vancouver, Washington according to Wikipedia. :(

I don't know of any other beers being made in my town ever.

Serving type: can

11-26-2010 07:17:57 | More by ELN
Photo of Chaz
Chaz

Minnesota

3.1/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale golden-Straw in color, and topped with a billowy, barely off-white head. There's plenty of lacing here, and plenty of carbonation to boot. Rather brilliant in appearance, with perhaps a touch of chill haze.

Big adjunct-y cereal grain goodness on the nose. Smells a lot like "Carling's Black Label". Hmmm. No real hop presence to speak of, but a touch of dry, biscuity malt.

Not much going on here: the first sip is wet and somewhat sweet/bitter/tangy, but all of those distinct flavors come off as ephemeral and fleeting rather than having any real presence. On the second, longer sip there's a brisk mouthfeel and a touch of bitterness along with a lightly-metallic character and some ever-so-slightly citric tang to go along with the metallic character. Dry is the word that comes to mind . . . biscuit malt character from the nose is here and seems to linger quite nicely, but there's no real lingering bitterness so it seems like almost an odd profile.

The cereal grain (corn grist rather than syrup?) character is much less evident on the sip than it was on the nose, making this one fairly tasty for what it is. That said, this here Rainier is at least as tasty as a Hamm's or the aforementioned Carling, though a different recipe to be sure.

Though I haven't enjoyed myself a Rainier since 'round about the time I turned legal drinking age, not much has changed with this beer, and the folks at SAM/Miller are doing a fine job for Pabst at keeping this one the way I remember it being.

Best-by Oct 18 10.

Serving type: can

10-19-2010 21:32:31 | More by Chaz
Photo of tone77
tone77

Pennsylvania

2.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to resi for the trade. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a pale yellow color with a 1 inch head. Smell is mild, a bit of grains. Taste is also very mild, some grain and malt, a slight bitterness at the finish. Feels light in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a mediocre beer.

Serving type: can

10-16-2010 16:06:43 | More by tone77
Photo of captainwerd
captainwerd

Washington

4/5  rDev +52.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

When I was getting ready to move to Seattle one of the first things I looked up was the cheap mass-produced beer of the area. I think an important part of getting to know a city is familiarizing yourself with the cheap beer that the locals drink. Vitamin R is the local beer of Seattle, and it certainly gets the job done. Some drink it ironically, some drink it for historical reasons, some drink it for its price, and some drink it for a combination of those three reasons.

Serving type: can

10-15-2010 05:43:01 | More by captainwerd
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I CAN't believe that they are still making Rainier Beer! I had some as a young sailor in the late 1980's and if memory serves, even toured their Seattle plant. Now, it is made in Irwindale, CA and who knows if it the original recipe or not. Nothing like nostalgic beer drinking, though.

From the CAN: "Made with Yakima Valley hops", "Naturally brewed Mountain Fresh Beer", "All Aluminum Recyclable CAN"

Following the Crack & Glug action, I was looking at a rapidly fading finger of rocky, bone-white head. Color was a pale sunshine yellow with NE-quality clarity. Nose had the typical scent of lager sweetness overlain with cereal. Mouthfeel was medium with a typical AAL sweetness on the tongue. Finish was semi-dry and quite refreshing on a hot, humid afternoon in late September. Really, it was an average beer for the style, not much more, but no less, either. I have drank enough AALs on The CANQuest (TM) than I care to think about, but this was not bad. I am glad that I got to try it, but it would not be worth actively seeking out unless you have some strange desire to drink CANned beers.

Serving type: can

09-24-2010 21:40:44 | More by woodychandler
Photo of chadjulius
chadjulius

Washington

3.09/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I always enjoy this beer, but as usual, it is far better from the bottle than from the can. Plus, the bottles are a significant part of experiencing Rainier Beer; each bottle cap has a "puzzle" on it. These are fun, but sometimes difficult to figure out. The more Rainier's you have had, the harder the puzzle, showing how alcohol does impair the brain.

The beer itself is yellow, and fairly straw-pale. It tastes fantastic; like a light beer, but with flavor. My only complaint is a faintly odd aftertaste. The bottle says hops from the Yakima Valley, which is, from what I hear, a great place to grow hops. It shows in this beer.

It's not exotic, but it is a safe, inexpensive option.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2010 22:52:36 | More by chadjulius
Photo of blackc5
blackc5

Washington

2.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Meh. Overall this is a pretty meh beer at this point. Never drank the 'original' so hopefully this is not representative of what it once was.

Overall, it seemed to be a pretty typical higher-end BMC-like product with no exceptional qualities worthy of note. Completely predictable in taste and watery body. I guess on a bright note, it did have a bit of lemony hops and decent head retention.

Serving type: on-tap

07-30-2010 18:41:26 | More by blackc5
Photo of NWer
NWer

Washington

4.25/5  rDev +62.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Warm sunny afternoon quaffing a cold beer and watching the world go by.
Strictly a thirst quencher but what adjunct beer isn't?
Ratings are based on how it is within its style. Certainly much better than Coors, which is piss.
Of course they would be much lower if compared to a quality craft beer.
In its place, it's not bad and more flavorful than most adjunct lagers. You can even taste some hops.
I would definitely enjoy another. And another. And another.

Serving type: can

07-15-2010 03:14:04 | More by NWer
Photo of bondjedi
bondjedi

Washington

2.95/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The picture of the can accompanying this section is out-of-date. The current can has a classic look.

They make this stuff in Illinois or Milwaukee now, I think. The container says that the brewers are still using Yakima hops, though. Too bad they can't use water from the Cascades.

The beer has a gravelly finish, which I like. Otherwise, it's unremarkable. No head, no lacing. Well carbonated, however.

Serving type: can

06-27-2010 03:29:49 | More by bondjedi
Photo of appenzeller
appenzeller

Washington

2.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Figured I should give this a try after a decade of living in the Pacific Northwest. Since I'm not a native, however, I have no nostalgic emotional attachment whatsoever to this brew, so I'll call it like I see it.

Pours light yellow, modest white head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is slightly sweet and malty, surprisingly pleasing. So far so good.

Taste is bland, some nice malts but not very perceptible. Fair bitterness and balance. Sort of an unpleasant metallic aftertaste, goes down watery.

I expected this one might get the old "flunkeroo" but honestly, it's not that bad. Far better than some of the cheap midwestern swill I quaffed in college. If I were sentenced to drink macrobeer this might not be a bad choice.

Serving type: can

06-05-2010 06:48:18 | More by appenzeller
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill

Wyoming

3/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz can, brewed in Irwindale CA...Miller

A clear straw coloured pour with about an inch of foam and no lacing to speak of.

The smell has some grain and some hop bitterness.

The taste has some slightly lemon like zest up front but that turns down somewhat replaced by a grainy note and plain hop bitterness.

Usual body and carbonation for the style, light and brisk, repectively.

Drinkability? It's been many years since I had this last and though it is pretty drinkable and not really offensive at all, it'll probably be more years before I have it again.

Serving type: can

04-17-2010 17:16:00 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of plaid75
plaid75

New York

3.13/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On draft at the Tug Boat Brewery, Portland, Oregon.

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

The smell featured a touch of adjunct sweetness and subtle grassy hops.

The taste consisted of an adjunct sweetness, grainy malt and flowery hop.

The mouthfeel was full for the style.

Overall a good macro.

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2009 15:20:22 | More by plaid75
Photo of erikm25
erikm25

Washington

3.13/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: Pale yellow with a slight gold tint. Head is full at first, after a quick pour, but quickly vanishes. Lacing is pretty much non-existent.

S: Grainy and earthy. Maybe a hint of light colored fruit at best. Says it is made with Yakima Valley hops so that gets an extra point in my book.

T: Wheat grains with a subtle candy corn sweetness. Overall not that offensive and it reminds me of PBR which is no surprise (and which tends to be my go to beer in a pinch). All things considered it is not too offensive and has a slight malt taste towards the end.

M: Light but with lots of carbonation. Smooth like water.

D: Overall this beer is probably not worth your time. However it is drinkable on a dime and considering the competition in this style I would consider buying it again. I didn't grow up in WA but if I did this would have probably been the beer my friends and I jacked from the old man's garage fridge on a Friday night.

Serving type: can

10-02-2009 03:22:59 | More by erikm25
Photo of Bookseeb
Bookseeb

Washington

3.73/5  rDev +42.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 16oz can I found being sold singly, and this one is brewed at Rainier brewing company, Irwindale CA. Appearance has a light golden yellow with nil head. A clean smell of light hops and grain. Taste has a light grainy sweetness with the yakima valley hops. Mouthfeel is light with good carbonation. Takes me back to the good old days in high school when Rainier was brewed in Seattle.

Serving type: can

09-19-2009 23:40:10 | More by Bookseeb
Photo of Wetpaperbag
Wetpaperbag

Washington

3.8/5  rDev +45%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Clear golden yellow. Light very white head that is very light, yet dissipating quickly.

S- A sweet banana smell, with a grain earthy smell. The alcohol smell is there as well.

T- The taste is grains up front with a slight sweetness. Then as the taste goes away there is even more of an earthy grainyness. It isn't too bad, easy going and smooth, great beer for football watching.

M- The carbination is there and average for beers of the style.

D- Easy to drink.

Serving type: can

09-14-2009 20:13:56 | More by Wetpaperbag
Photo of njmoons
njmoons

New Jersey

1.68/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Back in my college days out west, we used to get kegs of Rainer Beer, for house parties etceteras. It was on tap at all the local bars, and cheap at the market.

In all that time I can honestly say I never enjoyed a single one.

Pale adjunct lager with almost no malt taste, and a terrible finish that made me think they must not ferment at lager temperatures.

There are worse beers, but not many.

Serving type: on-tap

08-05-2009 17:02:12 | More by njmoons
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

3.33/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Who can venture west to the Pacific Northwest and not enjoy a Rainier at least once? I comes in pounder cans, which are great for camping and hiking; and when you wander into a small town with just one even-smaller bar (that offers only video poker, T.V. Keno, three menu items... all deep-fried!, and a 'limited' selection of beers) what are you to do???

So... golden, crystal clear, "mountain fresh", and pretty much just as you'd expect it to be. Smooth and clean with no rough edges. There's some obvious use of adjunct but it's not overdone, and there are at least a few hops involved in the brewing process. It's an average mass produced beer.

Serving type: can

08-04-2009 23:49:48 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of Magpie14
Magpie14

Michigan

3.1/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a tall 6-pack for under $5.00...can't go wrong. Also new can with classic/vintage feel for the "Vitamin R"

A: surprisingly a little more depth than I was expecting for AAL. The color has some shine of deep golden versus the usual glowing pale straw colors. Coarse bubbles right after the pour and one of the quickest foam vanishing acts around, no lace

S: grains, light vegetables, a blade or two of grass with a sweet sugary whiff all around

T: dried cut corn and thin malted barley with a few teaspoons of honey. Some grassy/vegetable flavors might be pulled out of the mix, mostly towards the finish. Finishes clean, which is pretty nice
This beer has me happy. It hit 90 today and this beer was in order, it did the trick. One of the more satisfying Adjuncts I have had in a while

M: the usual macro-adjunct-type of feel. Maintains a fizzy caliber with light airy body. For the style it hits right

D: man, this is a decent Adjunct Lager. I will get this again when I am short on cash or throwing the Frisbee on warm day like today. One of the "betters" on my short list of light beers

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2009 03:09:42 | More by Magpie14
Photo of beertunes
beertunes

Washington

3.48/5  rDev +32.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured enough into a small glass for the visual components, drank the rest straight from the can. Poured the bright, clear yellow that was expected. A bright, white head was fuller than expected and had better retention, although almost no lacing.

Not much aroma, what there is, is the sweet corn scent usual for the style. The flavor was surprisingly good for the style, but without any standout aspect.

Typically thin and smooth body, and of course this beer has the drinkability of water.

Overall, an above average example of the style, if you're going for fizzy, yellow beer you could do worse than Vitamin R.

Serving type: can

06-23-2009 20:17:34 | More by beertunes
Photo of Docer
Docer

Washington

3.88/5  rDev +48.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Nice to find the classic once again in test market. To me it brings back old memories of playing quarters and slamming pounder bottles of Rainier...not into macros.. but I just had to bum one off a bud inbetween a Hop Czar and Deschutes Cinder Cone Red...

- Very light color like I remembered... very clear... white foamy head died down quick...

- Grain, Barley.. alcohol.. and a bitter hop blast...

- Bit bitter... alcoholy.. barley, grain..

- Watery and grainy mouthfeel.. bit dry but not really... kind of only in the flavor..

- Super drinkable... goes down easy.. not too bubbly that it makes me belch half of it up in foam.... easy drinker for those that want to attempt a 12-pack again for old times sake lol...

Serving type: can

05-06-2009 02:29:11 | More by Docer
Photo of SeattleBeerBlog
SeattleBeerBlog

Washington

3.15/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Straw yellow with a good head, that then just evaporates. Clear and bubbly looks like a typical American Lager.

S- smells like DMS and a little bit of citrus hops? weird for a lager.

T- no flaws, light easy to drink, no hint of malt or hops. Tastes like an American Lager should, tastes like water.

M- no body, and just disappears after it leaves your mouth. Exactly how it should. Would be nice to be surprised.

D- in terms of a American lager I kind of like it. Will be drinking this instead of the other Macros for my once a year epic Beer pong game.

Serving type: can

03-25-2009 20:44:37 | More by SeattleBeerBlog
Photo of mrkc
mrkc

Alaska

2.53/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It took me a few seconds to figure out what the beer aspired to be: a) cheap and b) easily drunk. It excels at both of these. The taste is watery, and inoffensive. There's a slight bite to the after taste, but nothing that remains for anymore than the most fleeting of instants. The beer is clear, straw coloured, and carries a high head long after its been poured. While I consider this above others that attempt the same qualities, such as `Miller Light,` neither its watery flavour nor its nondescript mouthfeel are much to brag about. It is definitely better when cold, so to lightly numb the mouth and prevent you from picking up on the corn taste.

Skip this, and try other macros.

Serving type: on-tap

11-06-2008 02:48:20 | More by mrkc
Photo of Spikester
Spikester

Oregon

3.08/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours golden with a one inch white head. Some very modest lacings.
Aroma is very mild floral hops.
Taste is sweet light malts with a nice bitter hop flavor. Mildly bitter semi-dry finish.
Mouthfeel is about average for a macro lager.
Very drinkable cold on a hot day. Not sure the brewery data is quite up to date. I think my can said brewed in Illinois. Anyway this is a pretty fair beer when you have few choices.
A bit of personal history regarding this beer. Back in the 1960's this was the hoppiest and most bitter of the Northwest lagers. Even their "light" beer was quite well hopped for a 96 calorie beer. This version pales in comparison to the original. But maybe the can that I drank being two months old was enough to diminish the hop bitterness. I will buy another 24 ounce can later and look for a fresher example. Also if possible, bring back Rainier Light please. Low calorie, and big hops. (for the style)
Edit: 10/25/2013.
Just bought a sixer of tall boys in a "winter jubilee can 1963" Same beer now this pack says brewed in Irwindale, Ca. Best by date is Jan 13, 2014.
My previous review covers it pretty well.

Serving type: can

09-23-2008 04:03:53 | More by Spikester
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
AKBelgianBeast

Alaska

2.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 4

Rainier and PBR are basically the only macros i buy, and only when I am really poor (now). This brew pours a clear yellow piss color with white head that lingers for about a minute. Smells of grain and some corn. Taste is watery and grainy with some slight crispness on the finish. grains linger in the aftertaste. mouthfeel is ridiculously thin, very light feeling. Drinkability is good, because it tastes and goes down like water. It usually takes me about 12 of these babies to get buzzin hard. Obviously there are about 780,459,997,748,097 beers I would prefer to be drinking, but i will take this one time Seattle staple over Budmilloors.

Serving type: can

03-10-2008 08:01:30 | More by AKBelgianBeast
Rainier Lager from Pabst Brewing Company
63 out of 100 based on 140 ratings.