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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 (62) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 97 | Hads: 259
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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.18/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the can light golden yellow color with the standard finger or so of fluffy white head. Pretty standard macro fare here, cereal, grains, corn, carbonation, drink ability, a whisper of hops (maybe?). This one was a tad darker than some of the other Pabst products I've had, and seemed to be a little more full bodied and flavorful; not a lot, but a little. Pretty decent.

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Photo of ChrisCage
3.16/5  rDev +17.5%
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.

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Photo of OneLowChevy
3.13/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a pretty average beer to me. Its smooth and easy to drink. Price is right and it beats going with bud light. Its a great beer if you can find it. I can usually get it at bevmo. Its nothing special, but i do like it. The added bonus is the retro style of the can. Im not sure how long its been since they changed the design, but it sure does bring people back in time.

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Photo of beertunes
3.13/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 10oz glass.Poured a clean, clear yellow with a tall, fluffy, white head that had very good retention and moderate lacing.

The aroma was the expected grainy, grassy, scent typical of the style. The flavors were also grain and grass with a slight trace of hops at the back.

The body was typically thin. Drinkability was good, for a style that I generally find to be nearly undrinkable. Overall, a decent version of the style, if forced to, I would drink this over Peeber or Buttwiper.

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Photo of colts9016
3.13/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I really can't believe that I have found this beer. Way back when I was little boy I remember stealing sips of this beer from Grandpa. It was my first beer and I swore I would never drink this beer again. I never knew that it would come full circle and try this beer.

Poured into a pint glass at 38 degree.

Appearance: A foamy white head that lasted all about a few moments. The body of the beer is a medium pale straw color. The clarity of the beer is clear and brilliant. There is a lot of effervescence in the beer.

Nose: This beer has a malty toasted corn aroma with a hint of flowers.

Taste: A thin light beer with a light malty toasted corn flavor with a very mild hop flavor of flowers

Overall: The mouth feel is crisp. The body of the beer is very light and the finish is nil. This isn't too bad of Adjunct lager. I can drink a couple of this on a very hot summer when you don't want o ruin a good beer.

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Photo of crossovert
3.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can, why even bother pouring it, I already know it is a light pale gold with a soapy looking white head.

This is a lighter adjunct lager, and to be honest, one of the most unoffensive ones out there, the corn doesn't blast you in the face, it is also cheap, but don't drink it unless you are broke. For an adjunct lager, this is about as unoffensive as you will get.

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Photo of soju6
3.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a light golden color with a light head and decent carbonation. It has a light grainy aroma. The taste is light and refreshing. It is very smooth and goes down easy. Definitely drinkable.

I was suprised that this beer is still being made. It brought back memories of when this was few of the alternitives to BMC back in the 70-80's.

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Photo of BigRedN
3.08/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Disclaimer: I am a bit biased against "Old Fart" beers such as this. Not because they are currently "cool" due to the fact they are retro or because of nostalgia or anything, but because they fill a niche for me. That niche being that they are cheap and easy to drink. Also I drink these at a temp of 40 degress F or less, as they should be consumed, IMO.

Appearance: Poors from the can into a pilsner glass a typical macro. Clear, gold, with plenty of little bubbles dancing in the glass. Big, foamy white head that falls to a patchwork covering. Spots of lacing as the beer is consumed.

Smell: A touch sweet. A hint of some grain and adjunct. Hop aromas not present.

Taste: For a macro this one does have a little bit of sweetness to it. Someone who I shared an "Oly" with mentioned the beers slogan, "It's the water" and remarked, they have to say that because that's all this is.

Mouthfeel: Light, crisp, lively with no aftertastes.

Drinkability: Drinkable, sessionable, poundable, affordable. It's an able beer.

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Photo of Vancer
3.08/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Farewell to Falstaff..

Well, now had the Olympia on 2nd Falstaff farewell at the Tin Can. MY college beer. Geez, actual more malty, sweet and drinkable than the Falstaff. Like a Schlitz, has no aroma at all. Used to buy it $3 for a 12 pack of bottles. This one wasn’t bad at all, I could see having a couple while cutting the grass, but I don’t think it’s even available anymore at store.

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Photo of cjhofelt
3.07/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Keep in mind that I am reviewing this beer within it's style, hence the high marks.

Thick but fizzy white head which lasted longer than I expected. The beer itself is a golden yellow, and not very appetizing to look at.

Surprisingly, this beer actually has a smell. It's a bit of a sweet grain aroma. Actually, not as unpleasent as some macros.

The taste, well, not as bad as you might think. A bit of malt and grain with a very sweet finish. A bit like a soda-pop.

A decent mouthfeel. Not to syrupy. Very refreshing on a hot day.

A very drinkable beer. I often drain a few cans of this over lunch on a warm work day, and then a few more between lunch and supper.

I should also add that this is the sort of beer that goes better in a frosty mug. I reviewed it at a warmer temperature to better taste it, but I wouldn't recomend serving it any higher than about 40 degrees F.

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Olympia Beer from Pabst Brewing Company
65 out of 100 based on 97 ratings.