Olympia Beer | Pabst Brewing Company

107 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Olympia BeerOlympia Beer

Brewed by:
Pabst Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.78%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-28-2002

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 107 | Ratings: 275
Photo of barleysandwich
1/5  rDev -63.1%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I bought a 24 pack of this beer for $12 last time I went to the USA. I wish I had not bought it. I nearly poured it down the drain.

I waited until the beer was ice cold, then had my first one. I wasn't expecting much, but I thought at least it would be like your typical American beer, you know, low on flavour, high on carbonation, etc. This beer had enough flavour, its just that the flavour was horrible, it was like corn or something, the mouth feel was not pleasant either and the pour and apperance was not working for me either. It was pale yellow with little to no head that if there was a head it lasted all of 5 seconds.

I guess I got what I paid for! :)

 667 characters

Photo of InsideLiquorMan
1.2/5  rDev -55.7%
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.

 1,032 characters

Photo of Running4beer
1.3/5  rDev -52%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This was awful, only bought this when I was in college and couldn't afford what I thought back then was good beer(Corona and Heiniken). 12 pack for $3.50 great price for poor college kids that wanted to party. Taste and mouthfeel was horrible but it never stopped me from drinking it all I wanted at the time was to get shitfaced. It had a real tin taste to it also I can remember corn and pale yellow color with a thick frothy white head. I only poured this into a real glass a couple of times other than that this was good to shotgun and pour into those plastic red or blue cups that are good for playing beer pong. Horrible crap.

 632 characters

Photo of AllisonWunderland
1.35/5  rDev -50.2%
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.

 1,619 characters

Photo of Wasatch
1.5/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a light yellow color, nice carbonation, small white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some hops, slight caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, slight hop note. Light body. Not drinkable, would not buy again.

 252 characters

Photo of Rifrafboy
1.53/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours with very little head retention. Smell is like grass, a little burnt. Color is light pale straw. Taste is bitter, with only a slight hint of hops. Taste is mostly played out grains (corn/oat). Not a very pleasant beer but very cheap. I could get a 12 pack for $3.99 in California. Overall, I would avoid this in cans. I have heard on tap it's quite a bit better.

 368 characters

Photo of biggmike
1.55/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Refrigerated urine. One of the worst beers I ever had. Went on Spring Break several years ago with a cheap friend who brought six cases of this stuff because it was on sale. Me and my other 2 friends each brought six cases of Miller Lite (that sucks too, but we were in college on a budget). It finally got down to only Olympia was left, and we just couldnt stomach the crap. We couldnt even give it away.

 405 characters

Photo of jwc215
1.81/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 oz. can:

Pours straw yellow. A thin head becomes wispy. A little lacing sticks.

The smell is of moldy corn husk.

The taste is of tonic water with a chemical-ish sweetness. Some moldy husk.

It's fizzy and watered down even for the style.

Even for a cheap adjunct lager this is really bad. I really was thinking pour the rest down the drain half-way through, but was able to chug the second half. At least there's no aftertaste.

 434 characters

Photo of woemad
1.85/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Ah, the joys of poverty. Right now, things are pretty tight for me. So I'm turning lemons into lemonade. If I have to drink crap, it's gonna be crap I can't even get in a crummy bar, so at least it'll be off the beaten path. This is exactly the kind of thinking that led me to buy a 12'er of Oly, a beer that carries some PNW nostalgia but is nowadays pretty much just a name for PBR that somehow didn't make the cut. Set me back $5.06 (weird sale price). I imagine I can make this last for a while.

Poured a utterly clear straw color, with a big, fizzy white head that dropped faster than my wallet's ability to put gas in my car. Went from uber carbonation to mill pond stillness in about a minute. Hmm.

Smell is of corn, raw smelling wheat and an unidentifiable sour, pungent smell hovering in the background. It's saving grace is that it's rather mild smelling. Could be a lot worse (this is called damning with faint praise, boys and girls).

It is actually slightly better tasting than it smells, but that's like saying a Yugo is a more desirable ride than a Trabant. Utterly bland and inoffensive, so long as it stays cold. If this warms up much at all, I think I'd be revising this downwards (and it ain't got far to go).

Mouthfeel? MOUTHFEEL?! Who the hell cares about this beer's mouthfeel?

Acceptable if you are really bound and determined to buy beer with very little impact on your wallet, but don't want to opt for Bud/Miller/Coors. Otherwise, avoid.

 1,478 characters

Photo of Reidrover
1.87/5  rDev -31%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Ok bought in the 16 oz "tall boy"..another old time macro..which seems to have fallen by the wayside in recent decades.
The appearance of the bber when poured into a glass is not too appealing,,..a light golden yellow..with a head that lasted all of 2 seconds..little carbonation visible.
Smell is pretty boring stuff..typical macro hopping some malts but very weak hearted.
Taste is mostly of water..with a small amount of sickly sweet malts./.a bitter aftertaste , but it isnt hops.
Below average on the mouth watery yet cloying.
Not too drinkable for me now I might have tolerated this a few years back though.

 618 characters

Photo of Gabriel_Vaughn
1.88/5  rDev -30.6%
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

 242 characters

Photo of chrisms86
1.92/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

After years of being a loyal Rainier drinker, I had only seen Olympia in Clint Eastwood movies. Ever since the Pabst takeover both brands have lost their appeal, but I saw a half rack of this at the market the other day and couldn't resist.

First of all, don't expect the finest beer in the world to come from a $7.99 half rack of cans. With that in mind, Olympia is not a bad beer for the college student on a budget. A bit watered down, Olympia still feels like beer in the mouth (same can't be said for other Macros), and the taste is not completely revolting.

The alcohol content leaves a bit to be desired, but beggars can't be choosers as they say.

 660 characters

Photo of CrazyMike
1.92/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Very bland yellow appearance with moderate head. Smell is almost non existent besides a hint of corn.

Taste is a bit malty and grainy, but overall non existent. creamy with . Very light bodied and high carbonation, kind of like flat pop, aftertaste is sour.

Very cheap excuse for a beer. Almost fit's into the "pounding 12 back like water for only $12" category but the aftertaste is horrible.

 396 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
1.97/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. can,

A: Pours a very pale yellow, with a soapy frothy sudsy head with very good head retention for the style, very limited lace.

S: Carbonic acid, very mild.

T: Very mild malt, with a hint of hops. Still very seltzery.

M: Light-bodied, light carbonation (though well overcarbonated on the first sip), very watery.

D: Really nothing going. One of the cheapest beers around, and I can see why.

 403 characters

Photo of zeff80
1.99/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - Poured out a bubbly, straw-yellow color with a large, pillowy, white head that actually left a little lace.

S - It smelled of corn and grain adjuncts.

T - It tasted like a macro lager. Corn, water, adjuncts with no hops or spices.

M - It was fairly crisp and somewhat sharp. A light-bodied beer.

D - Really got worse as I drank more of it. Not something that I would try again.

 386 characters

Photo of HoppySeb
2/5  rDev -26.2%
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.

 225 characters

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
2/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

When I first heard of this beer I thought it was Greek. Much too my surprise, a west coast friend of mine brought some back east. I thought it tasted skunked, but he assured me it was not. I consider this just a local macro, like Narragansett, etc.

 248 characters

Photo of superdavex
2/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This is about as generic as beer can get. When I see those cans of beer on old episodes of Roseanne that just say "BEER" on them, this is what I'd imagine those would taste like. There is nothing to gain or lose from drinking this. Not the kind of beer that makes you happy to drink it unless it's a hot day.

 308 characters

Photo of proc
2/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Back in the day, we would get the famed "Oly Bubble". It was a big, round, plastic "keg" that came in a box. You could use them as terrariums/planters or hanging lamps when you were done with them. It was cheap beer that we knew was popular out west. A regional favorite out west, but not in distribution as it once was. A regular, yellow fizzy beer, with a trace of sweetness to it.

Bring back the OLY Bubbles...

 421 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
2.02/5  rDev -25.5%
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.

 390 characters

Photo of dnichols
2.08/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I was served a 12 ounce can in a room temperature mug at Blue Mountain Casino in Walla Walla, WA. 30 years ago, while in college in Iowa, Olympia had a cult following...."Its the Water" from Tumwater, WA. We ached for the brew and when we got it we felt like the beer gods had smiled on us. Anyhoo...I ordered the Oly driven by nostalgia only to find it had been brewed by Pabst in Milwaukee. Somehow the old slogan did not have the same ring to it any longer.

A: It poured a straw yellow body that I could see through. There was a generous bone white one finger head that disappeard as fast as it had appeared. There was not lacing and the bust of bubbles from the carbonation petered out nearly as fast as the head receded.

S: It had whiffs of grainy aromas (corn) and a bit of lightly toasted malts.

T: It was a bit sweet and grainy at first but soon the hint of sweetness was replaced by a crisp bitter hoppy flavor that turned sour in the aftertaste.

M: It was light bodied and highly carbonated with a sour aftertaste.

D: Best consumed ice cold on a hot, hot day following a dust storm. Standard macro...grainy, fizzy, fluid best used for hydration.

 1,163 characters

Photo of kflorence
2.08/5  rDev -23.2%
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.

 1,493 characters

Photo of ryanopfer
2.11/5  rDev -22.1%
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.

 379 characters

Photo of BeerManDan
2.2/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Back in the OLD days, this was the beer to drink on the West Coast and Alaska. It was brewed in Tumbwater, Washington. But that was before we had the Micro Brews we have today. Now, it tastes very thin and watery. The only reason I gave it this high rating is because it was my first beer!

 289 characters

Photo of Squire123
2.23/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Loved the stubbies.

Another standard Pabst product. One hopes they will eventually start differentiating between brands but that hasn't happened yet. Light color, mild flavor, just mild everything. Use this one for mixing with fruit juices, melon, etc, if you care to experiment along those lines.

It won't hurt the beer, I promise.

 339 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Olympia Beer from Pabst Brewing Company
2.71 out of 5 based on 275 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.