Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Olympia Beer - Pabst Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Olympia BeerOlympia Beer

Educational use only; do not reuse.

97 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 97
Hads: 259
Avg: 2.69
pDev: 43.49%
Wants: 14
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pabst Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Adjunct Lager |  4.78% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-28-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (63) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 97 | Hads: 259
Reviews by Fatehunter:
Photo of Fatehunter
2.02/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A tall boy orange can. Poured a big, foamy head... a bit too much. The body is clear, golden with lots of bubbles coming up.
The aroma is grain and metal, but less metallic than most for this style.
Well, it's vying for most tasteless beer. Watery through and through with the mildest bitterness.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
I'm not sure there's actually anything in it.

 390 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of chadjulius
3.18/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This is ridiculous. This beer goes down like water, yet has a good taste that goes great with any meal. It tastes good regardless of the season, temperature, weather, or people around you. It always goes down with a chew in, or just as a pure beer to get you drunk. Its not flawless, but it's the jack-of-all trades that always works.

It's definitely not a fancy beer, nor is it particularly impressive. But it is a solid beverage at a "cheaper" price.

 453 characters

Photo of chrisms86
1.92/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

After years of being a loyal Rainier drinker, I had only seen Olympia in Clint Eastwood movies. Ever since the Pabst takeover both brands have lost their appeal, but I saw a half rack of this at the market the other day and couldn't resist.

First of all, don't expect the finest beer in the world to come from a $7.99 half rack of cans. With that in mind, Olympia is not a bad beer for the college student on a budget. A bit watered down, Olympia still feels like beer in the mouth (same can't be said for other Macros), and the taste is not completely revolting.

The alcohol content leaves a bit to be desired, but beggars can't be choosers as they say.

 660 characters

Photo of AllisonWunderland
1.35/5  rDev -49.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

"It's The Water" -- "Oly" as it's called is famous for it's water source, artesian wells, which are aquafers first named in Artois, France. Olympia itself carries the name of the town it's brewed in -- Olympia,
WA. The standard joke is that "it's the water" that makes you pee, and pee, and pee . . . along with the other jab, "You don't buy beer, you only rent it."

This stuff is pretty generic, unremarkable, macro-brew. Way back in the day (1950's) it was the women who drank Oly, and the men drank something with more body. It's as close to water as you can get and still be carded for proof of age.

On the bottles the labels used to have "dots" on the back. A "four dot" label was traditionally viewed as a sort of coupon for sexual favors. That's the tradition. Actually, the dots note which bottling line the bottle in the brewery rolled off of. There were four bottling lines.

Now, some family history:

ALL my relatives, and there were a lot of them, drank Oly. There was once the remark at a family gathering, circa 1964, that when my family stops drinking Oly, the brewery will go out of business. Ironically, most of my family has passed on, and the Olympia brewing company was bought out by Pabst.

When I was in the military, 1960's, Oly was offered at the PX on the west coast bases. I associated it with "home" and so my brand loyalty grew out of family association and nostalgia.

It's still nostalgic. The brewery in Olympia, WA actually has preserved and maintained the waterfall and bridge depicted on the label.

It passes for beer. But mostly it's all tied up in a lot of family memories.

 1,619 characters

Photo of DESTRO
3/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

come on who even poors this stuff out of the can. this is 4.99 a 12er, hell yea! this and hamm's is the beer for bbq backyard skate sessions on the ramp. its cheap, when its ice cold it has a pleasent semi sweet taste and goes down like nothing. when its 120 degrees outside, expensive strong man beer isnt always the most appealing idea. olympia will do me fine when im thirsty.

 379 characters

Photo of beerhunter13
1.75/5  rDev -34.9%

Photo of Rifrafboy
1.53/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours with very little head retention. Smell is like grass, a little burnt. Color is light pale straw. Taste is bitter, with only a slight hint of hops. Taste is mostly played out grains (corn/oat). Not a very pleasant beer but very cheap. I could get a 12 pack for $3.99 in California. Overall, I would avoid this in cans. I have heard on tap it's quite a bit better.

 368 characters

Photo of wattoclone
3.5/5  rDev +30.1%

Photo of pat61
3/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L: Brilliantly clear straw, white ½” head, multi-sized bubbles, low head retention, delicate, light lacing.
S: Slight apple and corn sweetness, no hops
T: Dry, slight apple and corn sweetness, no hops, crisp, grainy corn sweetness, no fruitiness, no alcohol warmth, dry finish.
F: a little slickness on the tongue, lightly carbonated, light body
O: Refreshing but bland. I first had this nearly 50 years ago when it was brewed in Tumwater Washington and I remember it as much better, but then 50 years ago I probably was too.

 532 characters

Photo of HoppySeb
2/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The beer is light and crisp as you'd expect for an adjunct. Flavors and aroma's are very faint and the finish for the beer is poor (unlike those AAL with bready/caramelly malt finish). Way better options for the price range.

 225 characters

Photo of hydroplaner
2.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of acurtis
1.5/5  rDev -44.2%

Photo of InfernoBoss
2.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of biboergosum
2.41/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

355ml can, the made in Canada, by 'Oly Brewing Company' version (aka Great Western Brewing, of Saskatoon) - so I don't see how the same claim to water superiority or consistency can still hold true.

This beer pours a crystal clear, medium golden yellow colour, with two fingers of weakly puffy, bubbly, and thinly soapy bone-white head, which leaves a few streaks of low-lying cloud lace around the glass as it rashly settles.

It smells of mildly sweet cooked corn, a touch of biscuity malt, middling warm plastic notes, and astringent dead grassy, weedy, and somewhat skunky hops. The taste is sweet corn and rice husks, a further tame graininess, weirdly perceptible saccharine alcohol, and mildly weedy, but not at all bitter, hops.

The carbonation is on the soft side, so only a rickety frothiness, the body fuller than the average light weight for the style, but that's mostly due to an airy, sugary cloyingness. It finishes still sweet, in the clammy sense, that lager-soaked barroom floor experience starting to tighten its unholy grip.

Hard to say how truly this local-ish version complies with the Cascadian original - this one is pretty blah, but serviceable enough for its place just above the canned 6-pack dregs at yer typical booze emporium, which seems about right, given the actual brewer here.

 1,316 characters

Photo of AlexChillton
1.25/5  rDev -53.5%

Photo of TheSixthRing
2.89/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours crystal clear and straw yellow in color with a white, one finger head that fizzes away to leave a mostly barren surface save a few suds clinging to the edge.

Smell - Typical adjunct aroma with malt and vegetal sweetness; slightly grainy.

Taste - Follows the nose. Bland malt, corn-like sweetness, and just a touch of hop spice in the finish. Nothing completely off-putting, except the boring flavor profile.

Mouthfeel - On the heavier side of light-bodied with crisp, bitey carbonation. If there's one plus to this beer, it's that it's an easy drinker.

Overall - Drinks like your average adjunct. Not much for flavor but easy to chug if one so chooses. Nothing I'd buy again, but there are worse adjuncts out there.

 739 characters

Photo of hreb
2.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I found a can of Olympia "It's the Water" beer in the way back of the fridge at my ski condo at Big Sky, Montana. I have heard about this beer "the PBR of the Pacific Northwest" but never before sampled it, so this was quite an exciting find. The beer pours into my mug a pleasing, clear yellow amber with a fat white had which rapidly falls.

It's hard to find much to say about this beer. It has a pleasant sharpness in the carbonation, which helps to counteract the slightly caramelly malt adjunct flavor. It's not particlarly dry, but it's not so sweet that it doesn't serve its purpose as a refreshing beverage.

As macro / adjunct lagers go, it's relatively inoffensive. Not as good as the Japanese lagers to drink with sushi, but better than most American macro.

 769 characters

Photo of seakayak
2.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Photo of avisong
2/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of brewnic
2.64/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Cheap and after that first sip that seems like this beer was left in the sun will taste like water. Don't know if it was because this was served ice cold so their couldn't be a taste or really if that's what they were going for. You know what you are going to get even before you try this one.

 293 characters

Photo of EHopkinsi
3/5  rDev +11.5%

Sentimental value ups its score; it reminds me of the five months I spent in Oregon. Not a great beer, but highly drinkable when you aren't feeling (beer)snobbish.

 164 characters

Photo of BigAl18
1/5  rDev -62.8%

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
2/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

When I first heard of this beer I thought it was Greek. Much too my surprise, a west coast friend of mine brought some back east. I thought it tasted skunked, but he assured me it was not. I consider this just a local macro, like Narragansett, etc.

 248 characters

Photo of DOCRW
1.25/5  rDev -53.5%

Photo of bditty187
3.23/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I bought a can of Olympia at a bar (in Lincoln); it was listed under “crappy” beers.

Olympia poured a simple, pale-gold with a ½ inch of head that was snowy-white. The bulk of the head only hung around for a moment or so, but a soapy-lace remained. The nose was of muted malt, grain, and water. But the taste was surprisingly satisfying! There were enough hops to give it a kick and minimal adjuncts, which made this BA happy. I thought the taste stayed fairly consistent from start to finish.

I wish Olympia were more readily available because I found it better than the best of its class (as in PBR, Old Style, and Falstaff).

 637 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Olympia Beer from Pabst Brewing Company
65 out of 100 based on 97 ratings.