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Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

Not Rated.
Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl BrewpubFish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
BA SCORE
89
very good

35 Ratings
Ratings: 35
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 12.34%
Active Beers: 40
Beer Ratings: 2,099
Beer Avg: 3.66
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: 35 | Reviews: 25 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jcurtis55
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%

I recently spent some time in Olympia on business and it didn't take us to long to locate this brew pub. It appears they made have changed the name to the Fish Tale Brew Pub. At least that's what it says on the door. I had dinner here 3 times and lunch once during my four weeks in town. It's a popular place and was generally pretty crowded of an evening, but we found the back area was pretty quiet if that is what you are looking for. We never tried the loft. I did not encounter the snobby attitude some reviewers encountered and the wait staff was quite friendly and willing to give out samples before you decided what to order. We did see a local bring in a small dog and actually set him on the table. Not something you see in a restaurant very often, but it didn't seem to bother anyone.

Food wise, I was especially fond of the Cod fish and chips, the seafood stew and the Summer Breeze sandwich. The reuben was decent as well. The summer breeze is a grilled sandwich with Black Forest ham, melted brie, apple slices and a horseradish sauce that all blends together into a wonderful flavored treat. I forget the name, but I had a chocolate cheesecake one evening that was completely decadent. The only downside to the food is the selection is somewhat limited.

I tried the Pear cider, which was really good. I'm taking a bottle of that home for my wife to try. Beers tried included the Fish Tale Organic Amber Ale, 50 Fathoms ESB, Old Woody ale, and the Leavenworth Whistling Pig Hef. All were very good, but I have to give the 50 Fathoms ESB the nod as my favorite.

jcurtis55, Mar 21, 2008
Photo of udubdawg
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%

After renovation this place is much improved. A little better service, especially in regards to educating their servers about their beers, and they'd be great.

Fish Tale makes many quality beers, and a few truly great ones. Three of their beers (and some items on the menu too) are even certified organic. Unfortunately they don't bottle everything, so some of my favorites like the Mudshark Porter can only be enjoyed on draft. Note that the beers on tap are even better than bottled, but I'd still like to have them more widely available.
Unfortunately they no longer barrel-age their Poseidon Imperial Stout. (They used to have a red-wine barrel aged 10% beer bottled, and a lighter 8% unaged beer on tap...now they just bottle the 8%)
A highlight is that they've always got one of their beers available on cask. Delicious!

Quesadillas are good, and the fish and chips (especially the salmon) grilled oysters, and smoked salmon sandwich even better.

(Note that if you're looking for more upscale food and don't mind it a bit more pricey, I highly recommend Sorrentos, which is the corner of the the same building. Trule awesome Italian cuisine! )

udubdawg, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of ds21tango
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%

Have had their beers numerous times but have just recently decided to check out the place. The food is really good but the portions seem a little small. The prices are relativity decent. You do get your food really quick. I ordered food to go and barley had time to finish my beer. The beer selection is good and they sell full gallon and half gallon growlers, but they did recently raise there prices. They have WiFi and a comfortable sitting area. Overall a good place to hang out. Will definitely be going back.

ds21tango, Feb 17, 2012
Photo of canucklehead
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%

I went to the Fishbowl twice on my vacation; once on the way down to the coast and once on my way up from Portland.

This is a great funky pub that located just off the I-5 in Olympia. Lots of parking and located in a cool neighbourhood. The place is decorated with lots of fish related art and has two levels. The beers are divided into Fish and Leavenworth with the latter only on tap. There is a wide spectrum from the Leavenworth Light to the Old Grumpy barley wine. Almost all first class examples of the styles with the IPA's being a must try. The food is well made and big portions. The nachos are great with the burgers looking very tasty. Good service especially of you sit at the bar.

canucklehead, Jul 19, 2008
Photo of Hopmodium
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%

4/19/12 - Visited the Fish Tale Brew Pub while on vacation after a long day on Hurricane Ridge.

It was a busy Thursday night and we seated ourselves next to some dude heavily engaged in his electronice device, after asking him if the seats we wanted were occupied and seeing his reaction on his face, we decided to sit elsewhere. The group of people we chose to sat next to wound up being rude and self-involved to the point where we wondered if we had stumbled into some dimension where the ego is all that exists. Luckily the patrons were the worst part of this visit.

Our patient waitress talked to us about some of her favorite brews so we decided to try Soundkeeper Organic Pale Ale. I had tried an organic beer from Deschutes the day before and was pleasantly surprised by the presence of flavor and lack of gimmick so once again I was happy with my choice to go with organic beer on recommendations. I liked it so much I went with their organic IPA to join my Wild Salmon & Chips which was tasty and fresh. Since I had to drive back to Seattle after dinner I convinced my wife to order the Hodgson's DIPA to go with her Fishbowl Salad with smoked salmon and she quite enjoyed the unusual pairing. Fair prices, quality service, above-average pub fair and diverse beers will keep me coming back here next time I am in town.

Hopmodium, Jun 02, 2012
Photo of GJ40
4.16/5  rDev +6.9%

I stopped into the Fishbowl Brewpub while in Olympia on business.

The Fishbowl is a no-nonsense, humble establishment with a solid commitment to craft beer. Maybe it's as much the town but unlike some more flashy beer bars, it seemed to be filled with locals enjoying good, local beer.

They had at least 12 on tap with some listed as Fish Tale and others as Leavenworth. I had a Leavenworth Hodgsons IPA and a Fish Tale Winter Fish. Both struck me as great, representative west coast beers but the Winter Fish was a touch better. I didn't have time for the Fish Tale 10 Squared but I plan to get back before I leave.

I really enjoyed the Fishbowl and highly recommend it for authentic, west coast beer.

GJ40, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of Hobbit
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Hobbit, Mar 14, 2014
Photo of lostbearbrew
4.28/5  rDev +10%

As we were arriving at night, it was hard to scope just what neighborhood the brewery and pub were in - seemed blue-collar to me. Street parking no problem. Brewery is on one side - pub on the other.

At the bar area are maybe 8-9 tables and although there was more seating outside, it was raining so no one was out there. The lighting was not anything to write home about and there was an industrial twinge about it - but I like that side of life, and although the atmosphere wasn't what many would call "great" I thought they pulled off the idea of being an "industrial pub" really well.

We sat at the bar. They had about 10-12 beers on "normal" tap, two ciders and a cask had pull. Bartender was a really nice guy, although he was not real knowledgable about the brews, or maybe he was shy to offer opinions...who knows?. Had whole place to himself with one other helper.

Between my wife and I, we sampled the Mudshark Porter, Hodgson's IPA, Cask Organic IPA, Winterfish and the Dantes Infernal. We started off with the hummus - quite tasty, and the pita was warm upon arrival in front of us - bonus points! Also, I had the seafood chowder and the oyster sandwich, which were both awesome. Lisa had the falafel wrap which was good as well.

Had some great talks with those around us, all of whom called this place their local - love seeing people who stop in to have growler's filled and stay for a pint or two in the meantime. Learned a lot about the upcoming two days in Olympic Natl Park, and got some valuable advice as well. Always a good thing.

Was the perfect lil stopover on the way from SEATAC to Aberdeen. Would go back tomorrow if this were my local - really enjoyed the beers, the atmosphere, the patrons and the food.

Cheers!

lostbearbrew, Oct 24, 2005
Photo of RedDiamond
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%

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 saintwarrick
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%

One of my first stops in Olympia and a good one. A top-notch brewpub with great seating outdoor and indoor, raised table and booths inside; upstairs seating and a comfortable lounge area in the back. This brewpub has a great feel to it, littered with locals and a small-brewery feel. Big windows at the head give off a great look and ambiance. Was worried about the organic brews, but the IPA I tried several times had a very good hoppy flavor that could have been most any IPA. Also tried the Whistling Pig hefe from Leavenworth, which hit the spot on a warm day; and they also offer. Ate three separate meals, and the house favorite seemed to be the fried cod or salmon with chips, which was really solid. Also stopped in for a great breakfast as the pub also does brunch. Just a great local brewpub here that is a must visit for those in the area

saintwarrick, Aug 16, 2010
Photo of zacharius
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%

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
Photo of carln26
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%

The Fishbowl is the favorite brewpub of a good friend of mine who lives in the Seattle area. I’ve been fortunate to visit this place 3 -4 times when in town to see my friend. They’ve recently remodeled and vastly expanded the pub, so I thought I would take the opportunity to write a review.

The Fishbowl is located in a light industrial area on the southwest side of downtown Olympia. The pub itself is across the street from Fish Tail’s brewing operation. Inside the newly restored pub is open, airy and bright. The bar is now a U shape, and is rather small, but there is decent seating for 30-40 people at tables surrounding the bar. There is now an upstairs area for dining, but this was closed for a private party on this visit.

The staff is very friendly and helpful. We couldn’t find a place to sit, and the waiter quickly spotted that a table was opening and ushered us over to get a seat before anyone else grabbed the chairs. They know their beers, and are quick to help out.

The beers I’ve had on site are great. I’ve had Poseidon, Leviathan, Winterfish, Organic IPA, and a couple of the beers brewed under the Leavenworth brand. All are quite good. In fact, the beers fresh from the tap are unbelievably good, much better than the same beers from the bottle. Specifically the IPA and Winterfish. It’s almost 2 different beers. The bottled versions of both are good. The tap versions are mind blowing.

The food is simple and focused on local ingredients. Smoked and fresh salmon, locally raised mushrooms, and even Ostrich can be found on the menu. Prepared simply, delivered hot, I’m always satisfied with my meals.

My friend local to the area is concerned that the new expanded pub has lost some of it’s charm, and is drawing a more upscale crowd. If it helps this brewery to succeed and grow, I’m all for it.

carln26, Mar 14, 2006
Photo of Coopdaddy
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Coopdaddy, Jul 24, 2014
Photo of Keepnitrl
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Keepnitrl, Jul 24, 2014
Photo of GeoChase90
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%

GeoChase90, Oct 30, 2014
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Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub in Olympia, WA
89 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.