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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 (63) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 97 | Hads: 259
Photo of InsideLiquorMan
1.2/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

The very image of deep self-loathing and crushing sadness. Another camping beer to be warned about. This stuff is a can of hatred. Picked it up at the usual store I stop in on the way to the site. Every year, without fail, I swing in, grab the Colt 45, a case or two of Mountain Crest (Damn you, Minhas!) and something else I like the look of. One year it was Cezch absinthe and I swear that what didn't come out my nose was slowly seeping through my pores for the next 4 months. This past year was a 6 pack of Olympia. I had heard whispers from the dark corners of society about such an item, but the temptation was too great and through me, it wielded a power greater than I could comprehend.

I don't quite remember the rest of that night, but I distinctly remember the taste of hops when drinking this beer, despite me not expecting it. Easy to drink, yes, but it tends to come up a lot rougher for some bizarre reason. Metallic and joy-killing. Despite what you all may think, I do enjoy good beer, just not when I go camping.

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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.

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Photo of MissYa
2.81/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Again, I only drink beers with a dash of bloody mary mix. Alone, I would not drink this, but as a red beer, bloody mary mix makes all beers taste yummier! Being from Olympia, I had to try this at least once in my life, which I finally have at the age of 30. One of the cheap beers available.

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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.

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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 colingaiser
2.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz can into a tulip...

L: It's a hazy yellow, bordering on light amber, and I managed to achieve a very delicate 2-finger head with no lacing to speak of.

S: The yeast takes control of the aroma -- it's bready and biscuity, though there's a faint note of maybe unripe pear. Unfortunately there's a distinctly metallic undertone that throws the whole thing off.

T: The flavor is light, and doesn't differ much from the smell. It's grainy, bready, biscuity, and again that off-putting metallic flavor rears its ugly head. The finish is unpleasant, kind of like your mouth is coated in yeast.

F: The high carbonation makes this crisp, fizzy, and drinkable, and it actually has a fuller body than other popular adjuncts. The mouthfeel reminds me of a decent amber.

O: This is one of the better mass-produced adjunct lagers, in that it's actually tolerable. The mouthfeel helps mask some of the unpleasantness in the flavor profile. If you need a cheap "party beer", this isn't a terrible choice.

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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.

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Photo of Gabriel_Vaughn
1.88/5  rDev -30.1%
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

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Photo of ryanopfer
2.11/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

This beer seems promising (for what it is) when purchased, a cheap $6 pack of tall boys that should be better than your typical rolling rock or High Life cheap sixer. It unfortunately isn't at all. This beer has very dirty undertones. It's actually the most prominent flavor there. If their motto is "It's the Water", maybe they should invest into Brita filters. Not recommended.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
2.82/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

you know, for a cheap and adjunct beer, this is one of the lesser of all evils. its consistent, its clean and light, and it is entirely devoid of the usual metallic and corny off flavors we are all accustomed to in these beers. no skunkiness, just boring bland yellow fizzy beer. i quite like the mouthfeel of this one, light and very active with the bubbles, good morning beer, beermosa stuff, and one of those beers you can just hammer all day and never get real messed up from. im not sure i could drink enough of this to get seriously drink, especially given all the carbonation, i might pop first. good as an afterthought beer, or a no thought beer, and frankly far better than the bud light of the world for this purpose. i see the appeal, and i think its better than most others in its class.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.85/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Best by 1/5/15.

Pours a clear gold with a foamy off-white head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, cooked vegetable, and sugary aromas. Taste is much the same with grain, corn flake, and sugary flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a below average beer that is fairly drinkable, but there is definitely a strong element of sugar and corn flakes that I am getting from this one.

Serving type: can.

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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.

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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.

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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 Furlinator
2.88/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours translucent hay colored gold with a 1/4 inch white head that quickly fades to a thin ring on top and leaves faint spotty lace.

Smell is dominated by bready malt with just a hint of citrus hops and faint honey.

The flavors are somewhat muted and consist of biscuit-like malt and some faint citrus accents.

Texture is light bodied with high carbonation.

This beer makes no pretensions and has no delusions of grandeur. It is a refreshing, light bodied lager that is ideal for warm weather drinking sessions.

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

I love this beer when I am just hanging around friends and just having a good time. A lot of my friends, myself included, drink this beer because it tastes like home. (Well kinda, more psychological if anything) You see a lot of my friends parents and grandparents, as well as mine, worked at the both original breweries. We all live within a 10 minutes radius, and now that Pabst bought Oly, when I was in middle school I think, there are just 2 empty structures that used to proudly show the Olympia beer signs. I can only hope that one day the slogan "Its the water" can come to mean something again by using the Deschutes river water to brew the beer. You can see, the art used on the can and everything, that is the Tumwater Falls park, where the brewery sat right next too. Its just too bad that a big box office brewery bought out our lovely hometown brew. Anyway.
Not much too it. Super light in every way; color, taste, smell. Doesn't hold its head for more than a minute. Like I said above, this beer is a beer to not worry about. Kinda like Bud Light, you dont drink it to tell everyone about the amazing qualities. You drink it because its refreshing and you can drink a lot of it and you can have a good time with the buds.

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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.

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Photo of Murrhey
2.86/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12oz can into a pint glass in high elevation Kalispell, Mont. Reviewed live.

A- Three-finger white head with a nice slow descent. Clear-golden color with small but active carbonation.

S- Watery malts, some golden malts and muted hops. Not much here. Kind of expected that.

T- Savory golden malts, slight buttery hoppiness. Kind of strange. Not bad.

M- Medium bodied for the style. Smooth and creamy.

O- One of the best adjunct lagers I've had. Easy to drink several.

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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 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.

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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 harrymel
2.99/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best by 04MAR13

Pale gold glass with a solid stream of bubbles from the bottom. No foam. Smells of light hay, lemon, grain and a little bit of apple. Taste is clean and corny, with some grain and a little light white grape juice. The feeling is light, crisp and moderately highly carbonated with a wet finish. All and all I'm not particularly disappointed.

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Photo of kflorence
2.08/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Thought this beer was a relic of the past until seeing it on the shelf in BevMo. Turns out it was purchased by Pabst Brewing Company and moved to Wisconsin. For a beer established on and advertised for it's local water source (Tumwater), I can imagine this brew has probably changed a lot since it was in the Northwest.

A: Pours golden in color with a good amount of foamy, white head. Lots of carbonation. Surprisingly, there is some lacing around the glass as you drink. A bit darker than your average American adjunct, but otherwise seems to fit the profile.

S: Sweet grains and grass with a touch of hops.

T: Very light and similar to the smell. Adjunct grains (corn), grass, some weak hops. Honestly, this tastes a lot like Pabst, but maybe that shouldn't be surprising.

M: Ultra light body with high carbonation. Almost like carbonated water. This is the low point in the beer for me, it's just not appealing at all.

O: I remember my dad drinking this when I grew up, so for nostalgia's sake I really wanted to like this one. But alas, it seems another classic American lager has been lost to corporatism. I'll never get to see what this beer used to taste like, so I can only judge it by what it tastes like now and I must say I'm quite disappointed. Being owned and operated by Pabst Brewing Company, it actually reminds me quite a bit of the flagship Pabst Blue Ribbon. The carbonation is probably slightly lower, but the flavor is comparable. I likely will not revisit this one.

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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.


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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.

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