Olympia Beer - Pabst Brewing Company

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Olympia Beer
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250 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 250
Reviews: 97
rAvg: 2.57
pDev: 27.24%
Wants: 12
Gots: 19 | 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.
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Ratings: 250 | Reviews: 97
Reviews by neckbeered:
More User Reviews:
Photo of chadjulius
3.18/5  rDev +23.7%
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.

Photo of chrisms86
1.92/5  rDev -25.3%
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.

Photo of AllisonWunderland
1.35/5  rDev -47.5%
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.

Photo of DESTRO
3/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

Photo of Rifrafboy
1.53/5  rDev -40.5%
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.

Photo of HoppySeb
2/5  rDev -22.2%
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.

Photo of biboergosum
2.41/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

Photo of hreb
2.74/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Photo of brewnic
2.64/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Photo of Fatehunter
2.02/5  rDev -21.4%
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.

Photo of EHopkinsi
3/5  rDev +16.7%

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.

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
2/5  rDev -22.2%
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.

Photo of bditty187
3.23/5  rDev +25.7%
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).

Photo of ChrisCage
3.16/5  rDev +23%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

The 2nd in my series of cheap beer reviews for an evening!

A- Pours a light grassy color that is, once again, very clear. There is lots of big carbonation rising in many columns. There is some mild sticky lacing that clings to my glass The foamy white head quickly disappates into a thin ring around my glass. Not much else here.

S- The primarly aromas here are of sweet corn and malt. There is also some notes of dry yeast and unprocerssed grains. I don't really detect any hop bitterness, but rather some skunked aromas.

T- This is another adjunct laden lager. It is quite sweet, primarily of corn and some clean, bland white rice. There is also some mild citrus fruit notes and a very clean finish, which contains some metallic/astringent overtones that linger on the palate. Not an offensive tasting beer for a cheapy!

M- Again, this is a watery, thin bodied beer, which is to be expected. The carbonation isn't as zingy as I would have thought. It's smooth and somewhat creamy, which I didn't expect!

D- This is a highly drinkable beer I have to say! The corn sweetness hides the alcohol well and there's no real bitterness to detract any novice beer drinkers. Good hot weather beer....it's clean and crisp and I'd say one of the best values for a buck a beer you'll find.

Photo of Spikester
3.48/5  rDev +35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Don't know if this is 95% malt any more but they are using a can similar to it. No 95% malt label though. From a 24 ounce can labeled as "The Bigfoot" 24 oz.
Pours clear gold with a huge long lasting white head and plentiful lacing.
Smell is pungent spicey earthy hops with more than enough bready malt.
Taste is a bit too sweet for the OLY of memory but a tasty but less crisp than the beer of old. I think the older version used more of a Cascade hop flavor where this has some type of euro hop character now. More malt or malt + corn syrup than I like in a macro style beer.
Mouthfeel is medium and a slightly wet finish. Carbonation is robust or flaccid depending on how it is poured.
Over all if you want a good tasting malty macro beer for the hot weather give it a try. It was $1.79 for the 24 oz. can at a local gas station. Plus it has a shaded Bigfoot walking through the fir trees!

Photo of bbluemzbeer
4.26/5  rDev +65.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Looks like a yellow lager beer.

Smell: Smells like a lager beer , which smells of grains. It does not have a foul smell like some lagers have.

taste: Taste of grains and malts with a lemony zest to it. then some bitterness at the end. This is a very drinkable beer. It is well rounded lager with no off putting taste. It is a summer time and lawnmower beer which is refreshing.

Mouthfeel; It has medium carbonation and it is not over done like some american adjunct lagers are.

Overall: Olympia beer is good beer for price , drank ability high , refreshing with lemon taste to it. which make it different then regular lagers on market.

Photo of Ottertude
3.43/5  rDev +33.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This was a beer that I remember my Granpa drinking in California in the late 70's. It was also a cheaper and tasty alternative to BMC in my college days as well. I hadn't seen this brand around in a long time but had to buy the 12 pack for $7 when I saw it in a grocery store in Missouri recently.

The beer poured a golden yellow into my pint glass with a well carbonated 1 inch white head that left in no time flat. Minimal lacing on my glass.

Not much smell at all here which is okay for me when it comes to adjunct lagers in my book. Maybe some slight corn or tart apple perhaps.

The taste was of some corn, a hint of malt and a little lemony tart hop flavor to balance this. No nasty bitter aftertaste here, pretty smooth and clean. I like this better than BMC.

The mouthfeel was pretty watery but that helps this go down pretty easy. A good thist quencher on another miserable hot summer day. It is decent for what it is. The price is nice and it is a suitable lawnmower beer for a hot day.

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +55.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Olympia beer has a thick, white head, a clear, bubbly, straw appearance, and a nice amount of lacing left behind on the glass. The aroma is of sweet malt, grain, and a slight hop sting (stereotypical American-style lager). The flavor is likewise typical for American-style lager: sweet, mild malt, grain (corn), a kiss of the hops, and water. In other words, just "that beer taste". Mouthfeel is light and watery, and Olympia finishes crisp, clean, refreshing, and dry. Overall, I find it to be a good, pleasant beer.


Photo of Gabriel_Vaughn
1.88/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

A soft white lace, not much there. Pale golden hue
S scent actually jumps out at me gets the attention
T taste declines quickly, not too much flavor just dull watery..
M feel is fine at first more and more I sip, the more I feel the water

Photo of zacharius
2.46/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Back in the day, Olympia was the best of cheap beers. It's secret was reavealed on the label or side of the can, "It's the water" and it really was. Oly used artesian wells that appear all over Olympia to give it a distinct taste like mineral water. All over Olympia there are artesian wells in public places but their use seems to be limited to homeless people nowdays. Pabst bought Oly awhile ago but recently sold to Miller. When Miller bought the Oly brewery they quit using the well water but now use some type of filtered water shipped in--hence Olympia is too similar to all the other cheap tasteless Miller beers. Now Miller is shutting down the Oly brewery because of outdated equipment and they have to quit discharging waste water into the river. No more suds flowing down the Deschutes River. Will Miller keep Oly on as a brand? Only time will tell but there really is no point seeing how they don't use the water and are shutting down the brewery.

Oly is a light straw colored lager with little head and a slight skunky favor but not overpowering, somewhat mild and pleasant. Smells a lot skunkier than it tatstes. Easy to drink lots of these. Very bland and without the "water" might as well get something else.

Photo of rednrag
3.65/5  rDev +42%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thought this beer was no longer with us. Saw it at the sto' for about 10 bucks, felt kinda nostalgic so I bought it.
Now, I always considered this one to be middle-of-the road when it came to AAL's. It was actually one of my friend's favorite beer, I thought it was OK, but certainly not the best of it's style.
See that Pabst owns the label now.
You know what? This is pretty good for what it is. Clean, refreshing, tasty with no off-putting flavors.
I like it, and will probably buy it again, if it doesn't go extinct.

Photo of BigBry
3.05/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Great Western Brewing brews and distributes Olympia Beer in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Label lists Oly Brewing Company, Saskatoon. White can with golden horse shoe label that has been the same since the 70's.
The beer pours a gold yellow with a bit of foam, but no real head. There is not much smell at all, very mild grains. At least it's not sour or metallic. The taste was typical macrobrew, as expected. It is slightly sweet and nutty, nothing offensive, or adjunct flavors. Just as you expect for a easy to drink lager. Mouthfeel might be a bit watery, but true to style, good carbonation, not flat but not too fizzy either.
Drinkable, refreshing, great for a hot day after working in the sun (that was when I had it). Ok to drink straight from the can. An OK beer at a good price, better than many other 'buck-a-beer' choices.

Photo of Reidrover
1.87/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Ok bought in the 16 oz "tall boy"..another old time macro..which seems to have fallen by the wayside in recent decades.
The appearance of the bber when poured into a glass is not too appealing,,..a light golden yellow..with a head that lasted all of 2 seconds..little carbonation visible.
Smell is pretty boring stuff..typical macro hopping some malts but very weak hearted.
Taste is mostly of water..with a small amount of sickly sweet malts./.a bitter aftertaste , but it isnt hops.
Below average on the mouth watery yet cloying.
Not too drinkable for me now I might have tolerated this a few years back though.

Photo of CrazyMike
1.92/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Very bland yellow appearance with moderate head. Smell is almost non existent besides a hint of corn.

Taste is a bit malty and grainy, but overall non existent. creamy with . Very light bodied and high carbonation, kind of like flat pop, aftertaste is sour.

Very cheap excuse for a beer. Almost fit's into the "pounding 12 back like water for only $12" category but the aftertaste is horrible.

Photo of ronniebruner
2.02/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

THE choice for alcoholics of yesteryear! The only people who drink this are legitimate drunks and hobos, and well....... you get the point.

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Olympia Beer from Pabst Brewing Company
62 out of 100 based on 250 ratings.