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
Photo of bbluemzbeer
4.26/5  rDev +58.4%
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.

 653 characters

Photo of clay003
4.19/5  rDev +55.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am a big fan of olympia. Of course it is not an artisan crafted small batch lager, but I have to agree with other reviewers notes talking about perfect summer back yard days enjoying this satisfying AAL (the kind of beer dad drank) all afternoon. Put the biases and prejudice on hold for a day and reach in the cooler and crack open a beer we might not see around for too much longer.

 386 characters

Photo of dangerpint
4.03/5  rDev +49.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Havent had this one since 1999 when they quit selling it here va. Iam from washington state, born and raised there. back when it was mostly oly or rainer. oly or rainer was the beer we drank. i had wanted to try the ca version since the famous tumwater brewery has been closed for years to see how it stacked up to tumwater brewed version, so had some sent on dry ice by a freind liviing near inwindale ca were oly is now produced. pours bone white head,retention low to average not flat by any means golden pale color some adjunts"to be expected in this style" ,barley,fruit note, light hop note no offensive smells or tastes, light tasting crisp good finish, for a standard amercian beer not too bad (good price) its alot better beer than most over priced and over advertised swills. not a bad beer when you want to knock a few back.inwindale cal version not quite as good as the tumwater made olympia but still is a solid classic beer that stands up and beats most swills. has got many accolades and awards. 2010 world beer cup GOLD MEDAL winner. more states and better availability like in the past would be nice.

 1,117 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +48.7%
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.


 523 characters

Photo of hockeyhead
3.95/5  rDev +46.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured in a guinness tulip pint glass
A: pours golden with a nice head unlike other american lagers and this one i can say stays on the beer for a little bit as welll
S: strange corny barley smell up front more assertive not like other macro lager smell
T: this beer starts off little corny but then you taste alot more barley then other adjunct lagers also you get a nice spicy almost sazz like hop bitterness out of it
M: lite and crispy but still has more body than other macro lagers out there and is still a very smooth beer
D: this i can say is the best american adjunct lager i highly recomend this brew also its only 7.99 a twelve pack where i live

 658 characters

Photo of Unclebuck70
3.93/5  rDev +46.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a great American lager. I just picked some up today as Pabst is now marketing it more widely. I remember drinking this in the 80's and it seems to have the same great taste now as it did then. I wonder where this is brewed now since Miller-Coors owns this label after buying Pabst a few years back. There should be a lager beer drinking forum because it is obvious the beer snob crowd of micro-brews will not like this no matter how good and refreshing it is. Seriously it tastes good and is on par with Budweiser, Coors banquet, Pabst, and the like. Now I'm waiting for Hamms to make a comeback. Ill buy this again, but just so you know my favorite beer for the money now is Miller High Life.

 701 characters

Photo of TeamSeinfeld
3.86/5  rDev +43.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Olympia is a classic macro beer, looks like beer, smells like beer and tastes like beer with a crisp thirst quenching satisfaction, all the key ingredients of a good American Macro. This is another one of those beer drinkers beer. It's pretty much on par with Schmidt beer which in my book is a compliment. The can says "it's the water" but Milwaukee, Wisc is not exactly Tumwater, Washington anymore, at the same time the beer does not possess a bad flavor (ie milwaukee special reserve)

 488 characters

Photo of JISurfer
3.85/5  rDev +43.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Definately the best cheap beers I've personally ever had. It' definately better than Icehouse, Natty, Beast, and other cheap ones. I've only gotten it in 12 packs, but that doesn't matter, because it's that good. It has a nice and average smell to it and average lok to it. The taste is somewhat similar to a nutty taste and a nutty finish. Goes down smooth and is light on the ole stomach. I would call it the Newcastle of cheap beers. Can you go wrong with a beer that's moto is "It's In the Water" and costs $4.50 a 12? I think not!!!!!!

 540 characters

Photo of Vito
3.74/5  rDev +39%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I've always wanted to try Olympia Beer. When I was a kid it was my dad's second choice (along with Burgie) if he couldn't get his hands on some Brew 102, the Los Angeles-area regional favorite. I haven't seen Olympia for years, so I bought it when I saw it at my local beverage chainstore. The price was $6.99 for a 12-pack.

Appearance: The can has the vintage Olympia emblem and artwork, very retro. The beer poured a beery-yellow with an almost non-existent head.

Smell: There was hardly any smell at all, good or bad. It's probably the mildest-smelling beer on the market. At least it's not offensive.

Taste: The taste was typical macrobrew, with extra amounts of water. The finish is slightly sweet and nutty. Again, it's inoffensive.

Mouthfeel: Like I said, it's a watery beer. So the mouthfeel is a lot like drinking a glass of ice water: Refreshing, but flat. I would have preferred a higher amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Drinkable and reasonably smooth, good for a hot day or a long (six to 12 beers) drinking session.

Overall: Olympia is an OK beer at a good price.

 1,090 characters

Photo of rednrag
3.65/5  rDev +35.7%
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.

 520 characters

Photo of msmezher
3.65/5  rDev +35.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Olympia is one of the first beers I drank at home, my dad's friend brought a 12 pack over, and as my dad doesn't drink beer, I helped myself to all of them over the course of a few weeks when I was an 18 year old car salesman. Obviously not a craft/microbrew beer, but Olympia is the kind of affordable beer I think (positively) of when I think American macro lager. Olympia isn't out there to be the best, but damned sure it's the averagest, and sometimes, isn't that best?

 474 characters

Photo of aa8ball
3.64/5  rDev +35.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer really captures the taste of the original Olympia. I'm glad it's back on the market.
Packing 11 plus carbs, it is full bodied and flavorful. Alcohol content is right up there and so I feel as though I'm being treated properly in this regard.
If the water is as pure and natural as the artisian well at Tumwater's, then I'm very happy.
Pabst has brought back an oldie-but-goodie. They know how to make excellent beer that's priced right for the every day drinker.
One might argue it has too many carbs and we're getting too big around the waist...
Oh, and I'm growing tired of reading about those folks abroad who claim that our American beer is tasteless, has too much carbon dioxide content, and is of poor quality. It just ain't so.
Pour it from a higher altitude, get rid of the gas you're complaining about and try to be more honest about the taste.

 866 characters

Photo of PintOHops
3.53/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Glass - Pint

A - Classic BMC appearance, clear yellow with ample Co2 rapidly rising to the top, and a fizzy 1-finger head that dissipates in a snap. A thin ring stuck around the top of the beer but no lacing here.

S - Typical sweet corny aroma with some other grainy notes underlying, a bit of fruity grape or apple as well. Some cracker, mild hop when swirled.

T - Mildly sweet corn & grain flavor dominate, around the middle I get a bit of soft citric hop character, it's very soft but helps balance this beer well. Finishes with just a bit more bitterness than your average for the style.

M - Moderately crisp & pretty thin feel. Goes down fast.

D - Hmm, not bad at all. Most of it is average but the taste is a little better to me, as it doesn't have an intense grainy flavor like Budweiser, and drinkability is through the roof as it should be for the style. I'd buy this again over Most other BMC brews, but competes against my favorite for the style, Schlitz! Recommended.

 984 characters

Photo of creeperjones
3.53/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Ahh, Olympia Beer. I remember witnessing my father's scary grizzled friends sucking back a few of these in the summers when I was a little kid. I also recall it's many appearances in the film Every Which Way But Loose. Olympia is one of those beers that you know deep down inside sucks but you keep coming back to it. Probably because your job sucks worse than Olympia and you hate your life. To me it symbolizes a simpler time in the Pacific Northwest, when little breweries like the one in pleasant Tumwater were king. I never had a chance to experience real Olympia (note: this Pabst/Miller version is not the same, I'm told), so unfortunately I'll never know if it really was indeed the water. But today, I hold a can of Olympia in my hand as a time warp back to 1977. Here we go.

It pours what all standard cheap American Lagers pour - a dense, golden color with a head that disappears almost instantly. I cannot smell too much aroma from the glass. When you smell from the can it smells like beer, cheap beer, which is exactly what it is. Go figure.

The taste has that tinny, corn-syrup taste that good bad beer is known for. It's light-bodied and crisp and there is a slight (very slight, probably tin and corn syrup) kick to it once it goes down the throat, but when it's cold and the sun is ablaze, this is the beer that I want to have. It was made for mowing the lawn on hot summer days, sitting by the pool on hot summer days, having a barbecue with loved ones on hot summer nights...there's a reoccurring theme here. Hint: think hot summer. Now think wet hot America summer and go drink some bad beer.

Overall, this is my favorite cheap American Macro Lager. I've had many sessions with it in the past and I do believe I shall have many more in the future. For the cost and the taste it's better than the big three, and it's always fun to support the little man, even if he was swallowed up by the machine decades ago.

The can is pleasing to the eye as well. Good luck! Good luck indeed.

 2,006 characters

Photo of Spikester
3.48/5  rDev +29.4%
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!

 894 characters

Photo of Ottertude
3.43/5  rDev +27.5%
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.

 999 characters

Photo of ZAP
3.35/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had to give this oldie but goodie (maybe?) a try after seeing it's strong silver place finish at the 05 GABF.

Light straw color....initial head fades quickly...nose is sweet cooked corn, just a hint of cheapness to it....medium bodied....I expected a lighter bodied beer from it's old reputation, (or at least that's what I thought it was supposed to be like.)

Nothing offensive at all about the taste...sweet...almost sugary sweet....adjunct notes abound but there is nothing wrong with the taste.

Overall I could drink this easily after playing hockey...I think this beer could surprise some people (particularly macro drinkers with an open mind)..no bad off flavors or bad finish...nice sweeter taste....not bad at all for the style...

 747 characters

Photo of JosiahS
3.28/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured this from a what looked like a faded labeled can, into a standard pint glass. Color is the typical straw, about the same as any other light lager. Lots of carbonation bubbles floating to the top. One finger of fizzy white head that dissipated within 20 seconds.

The smell is of sweet malt, tart grape or apple and some graininess.

The taste is surprisingly clean. A little grain followed by some tartness and finishing with just a little hops.

The mouthfeel is watery through and through and the carbonation is lighter than one would expect out of a adjunct, light lager.

This beer is extremely simple, clean and refreshing. A bud has more flavor but this doesn't have anything undesirable in my opinion. It's nice, for what it is.

 743 characters

Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.28/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I guess since I live were this used to be made, I want to give it a try.

A- The beer itself looks like a pale straw yellow, with a good amount of activity in the glass itself. The head is very white, came to about a finger and a half width and is disappearing quickly now.

S- There is a sweet clove smell coming through the beer. A good amount of grain smells, almost as if you were grinding up wheat. I'm also getting that traditional adjunct lager smell.

T- This is different from other AALs out there. This has a darker nuttier taste. The more I drink it the more I want to say corn, but its hard to tell. The taste isn't too bad for a AAL.

M- Feels like a beer, but a little thin.

D- Easy to drink for sure. I could see this being a great hot day, working hard type beer.

 781 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.25/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – The beer is served a light golden color with a one finger head of fizzy white foam. The head fades super-fast, leaving almost instantly and leaving almost no lace on the sides of the glass

Smell – The aroma of the beer is strongest of a corn syrup sweetness mixed with just a hint of grass and a little bit of bread. Along with these aromas comes just a hint of paper and some light metallic smells.

Taste – the taste begins with a sweet corn syrup taste mixed with some other sweet tastes of caramel and a little bit of a bready taste. As the taste advances even more corn and caramel sweetness comes to the tongue and with it comes a little bit of a paper and grassy taste. These flavors take the taste to its end where they leave a rather sweet and moderately smooth taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is average for an adjunct lager of 4.6 % with a carbonation level that is on the average side for the style. The moderateness of the thickness and carbonation are perfect for the style and make for an easy drinker overall.

Overall – Not a flavor powerhouse, but overall a very easy drinker at a low price. A decent cheap session brew.

 1,231 characters

Photo of idResponse
3.24/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Olympia Beer is something I am biased on. I have grown up in the town of Olympia and thus have watched it go from a decent local beer to absolutely nothing.

Old olympia beers were much much better.

Miller purchased the Olympia Brewery and then shut it down. 400+ people became unemployed. Olympia's slogan was "It's The Water!" modeled after the artesian springs from where the water used to brew the beer is from. The artesian springs here are no joke. Simply some of the best most pure and tasty water known to mankind. You simply cannot compare.

Now that olympia beer is no longer being brewed with this water, the beer quality has dropped significantly, and the trademark "oly subby" bottle has been discontinued.

A local restaurant used to serve "Pasta A-La Oly" which was spinach pasta in a tasty butter sauce surrounding an Olympia Stubby bottle. It had class and character and local heritage written all over it. Now it is no longer possible.

Miller has been served right by being bought out by South African Brewing Company.

Overall, Olympia beer even through it's horrible new production value has still managed to usually reign as king of beers to me. It beats the crap out of PBR, Miller, Budweiser, Coors, Etc... anything else in that american domestic pisswater class.

It's the baby piss I choose to drink regularly when on a budget, and so should you, just to maintain heritidge.

Okay, a Rainier once in a while is okay...

and honestly, sessions is a pretty mean olympia stubby knockoff...

 1,531 characters

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

Photo of JamesQuaff
3.23/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a snazzy orange can into a pint glass.

Pours a nice clear golden with a hint of orange, with an abundant foamy white head that sticks around for a minute and leaves extensive lacing. Looks pretty rich for a canned American lager.

Smell is typical for the style, and is absent of any real unpleasantness. A tiny bit of cooked corn, but otherwise it smells clean and malty. No real hop presence in the nose.

Taste is very mildly sweet at first, tapering off into a bready, biscuity malt finish. No off flavors. Simple, clean and enjoyable. Very refreshing. Totally inoffensive. Pairs well with pretty much any warm, savory food item.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thin, body is light-medium, but it maintains a very mild 'coating' quality once swallowed. Carbonation is just right.

Overall I hold Oly in rather high regard as one of the very best basic American macro lagers. Lately when my budget is low I tend to go back and forth between Oly and Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve. When I'm flush, one will rarely find either of these beers in my possession. But when the bank is broke, you better believe you're getting offered an Oly or a Hank's at my place.

 1,170 characters

Photo of hwwty4
3.21/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Onward through my summer attempt of drinking at least a 12 pack of every major Retro beer. This would be number 3 in the series. I poured this 12oz can into my New Belgium pint glass. It poured a straw yellow with a huge white foamy head. It actually reminded me of those keg parties in college where everyone would pump the keg till hearts content and then complain that all that was coming out was foam. It left minimal lacing that just slowly slid down the glass. It poured a mildly straw yellow, not as golden as a lot of Macro lagers with really just a slight bit of carbonation. The aroma of the beer is mostly corn, but hints of candy sugar and grass (it could be that I just mowed) are also found. The taste is just like most every other Macro lager. Sweet corn and nothing else, buy hey, its par for the style. The mouthfeel isn't as carbonated as I would have liked. Not even enough to make your tongue tingle. While easily quaffable, the mild carbonation gets some points taken off.

 993 characters

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

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