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Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

Not Rated.
Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl BrewpubFish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
BA SCORE
88
very good

34 Ratings
Ratings: 34
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 11.89%
Active Beers: 42
Beer Ratings: 1,966
Beer Avg: 3.65
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask:
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

515 Jefferson St. SE
Olympia, Washington, 98501
United States
phone: (360) 943-3650

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 34 | Reviews: 25 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of woemad
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%

This is my second attempt to post a review of this place. The first time, my computer locked up when I hit review, and it never showed up on the site. That was a number of months ago. For one reason or another, I never got around to trying again until now.

I stopped by here last August on my way to meet my brother at his about-to-become-in-law's place, which was the staging area for his bachelor party. I got into town around 10AM, spent a good hour trying to find the place (I'd forgotten to print out info from Beerfly). I finally had to buy a 6-pk of Fish's IPA just to use the map on the bottom!

The Fishbowl is in a somewhat industrial part of town. When I entered, I was greeted by lots of aquatic-themed artwork, a large fishtank featuring some exotic (to me) looking fish, and a friendly barmaid. Being still somewhat early, there was only one guy in the place when I arrived. While I was there, the lunch crowd began to filter in.

I had three beers, a bowl of their seafood stew (which was rather tasty), and a competently made yet unmemorable sandwich. The beers I sampled were the mudshark porter, the amber ale, and the Leavenworth blind pig. The amber was average - I was mainly trying it because my brother had told me they were going to have a keg of it at his wedding - but I really liked the other two. I asked the woman behind the counter why the Mudshark was no longer bottled. She said, 'Yeah, we don't like to bottle it anymore," then left for the kitchen! While she didn't leave me hanging for any length of time, the service was rather perfunctory, and she seemed uninterested in talking about the beers, which kind of put me off.

I was pressed for time, so I didn't attempt to try any other beers. I hoped to get back to the place again while I was in the area, but my time wound up being monopolized by pre- and post- wedding tasks. Not a bad place, the beers are mostly outstanding, but the service needs to be improved a notch if my time there was any judge.

woemad, Mar 25, 2005
Photo of weefisheads
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%

Had to make a trip to Fishbowl as an homage to the maker of some of the finest PacNW beers - Leviathan, 10squared, and the highly coveted Poseidon. Needless to say, my hopes were rather high.

Located just a few blocks away from the main street in Olympia, it's but a short walk to the State Capitol building. From the outside, Fishbowl looks much like many other small brewpubs replete with it's own back loading dock. Nothing very memorable.

Inside, the decor obviously was themed to match the Fish theme as there were a number of fish-like pictures and a fair sized tank with a few fishes in it. The room we were in was pretty small sized - large only to accommodate 5-8 people at the bar and only a few tables aound the room - but there appeared to be another room next door that was undergoing to work. Expanding, maybe?

The food, too, was fish themed, though there were also a few items for the non-seafood fan. Alas, the pretzel I had was...pretty poor (soggy and no flavor) and the food me wife had was described as bland. Quite a shame.

In addition, while the bird behind the bar was pleasant when we asked questioned and fairly knowledgable of the beers, she didn't really do anything to make me happy to be there besides bring me what I ordered.

But there is the silver lining to a visit to the Fishbowl - their oh-so impressive beer! I had few of their beers that are not bottled - Dunkleweizen and Harvest Ale - and thought they were lovely. I wish they had more of their beers on sale at reasonable prices (their Old Woody and Monkfish were all they had and each was $5 MORE than I can get 'em in Portland!), but what they had to drink were very, very good.

All in all, I don't think I'd detour very far to go back for another visit. While I LOVE their beer, the Fishbowl is pretty average.

Sorry, Red...

weefisheads, Oct 19, 2004
Photo of RedDiamond
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%

UPDATED 2008: When I first began drinking at the Fishbowl Brewpub in the mid 1990's, the bar was a cramped, single room with the brewery beneath the same roof. The brew house has since expanded and moved across the street. The pub grew to include a second room, and then a third room with a loft. And the original roster of Fish Tale Ales has joined forces with Leavenworth Beers and Spire Mountain Ciders.

Most of these changes have been for the best. Fish now brews at least three organic ales, and the expanded seating capacity at the Fishbowl is put to good use by a hearty crew of regulars who keep the place festive seven nights a week. And while the giant wooden carp still arches above the bar as it did a decade ago, I do miss the live fish tank. I miss the gourmet pizzas and the tangy salmon mousse from the old days, too. But the new menu is, if anything, improved. Organic ingredients abound, with food specialties ranging from soft baked pretzels and seafood stew, to oyster shooters and free-range emu burger. And prices still respect the Olympian working class.

Beer quality remains good, though I'm not convinced that quality standards have completely survived the numerous transitions and expansions, and production of Fish's showcase ales (known as "Reel Ales") has been scaled back appreciably. Big beers such as Leviathan barleywine and the exquisite Poseidon Imperial Stout have taken a back seat to their line of organic standard bearers such as Wild Salmon Pale Ale and the Organic Amber. It's understandable that Fish would seek to emphasize production of its best sellers. But with Old Woody Strong Old Ale winning a recent GABF Gold Medal, it would seem the time is right to grant their specialty beers the greater exposure they deserve.

When Fish merged with Leavenworth late in the last century, the idea was to compliment Fish's Anglo/American beers with Leavenworth's traditional German varieties. As its name implies, Leavenworth Beers originated in Leavenworth, Washington - a Bavarian-themed tourist destination in the heart of the Cascade Mountains. Leavenworth beers are now brewed in Olympia. They are not bottled and receive only modest distribution. But the brewpub regularly keeps three on tap. The Fishbowl also maintains a lineup of three Spire Mountain Ciders (including their perry), two guest taps, a cask, a non-alcoholic ginger beer, and a host of seasonals and specialties. Cheap beer pours Mon-Thurs from 9-11PM.

RedDiamond, Mar 26, 2004
Photo of zacharius
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%

Atmosphere: This place has a good atmosphere, it has a big fish tank with live tropical fish. The walls have salmon and other ocean related artwork on a rotating basis, most of it is local artwork for sale. This also is a nonsmoking pub which is hard to find. Lots of locals hang out or eat lunch here.

Quality: The quality of their beers is great. Fresh and tasty.

Service: Service was quick. Bartender was knowledgeable about the beers.

Selection: They have about 10 different beers on tap plus the cask of the day. They have both the Fish Tale Brewing Company beers and the Leavenworth Company beers here.

Food: The food is high quality but it is a very ecletic menu of appetizers, soups, salads and sandwiches--lots of seafood. Vegetarians and health food people won't have any problem finding food but burger and fries guys may have to settle for the chicken nachos.

zacharius, Mar 04, 2003
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Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub in Olympia, WA
88 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.