Olympia Beer | Pabst Brewing Company

BA SCORE
66
poor
107 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Olympia BeerOlympia Beer
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Pabst Brewing Company
California, United States
pabstbrewingco.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
107
Ratings:
275
Avg:
2.71
pDev:
26.57%
 
 
Wants:
13
Gots:
34
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 107 | Ratings: 275
Photo of Jordyn
3/5  rDev +10.7%
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.
ABOUT THE BEER ITSELF:
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.

 1,260 characters

Photo of bbluemzbeer
4.26/5  rDev +57.2%
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.

 653 characters

Photo of Murrhey
2.86/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

 486 characters

Photo of JamesQuaff
3.23/5  rDev +19.2%
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.

 1,170 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 aa8ball
3.64/5  rDev +34.3%
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.

 866 characters

Photo of harrymel
2.99/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

 357 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 RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +47.6%
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.

RJT

 523 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 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 Converge
2.39/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

355ml can poured into a 16oz pint glass.

A - Over two fingers of fizzy white head that rapidly recedes to a paper-thin cap. Typical golden-yellow.

S - Sweet cereal grains upfront with a surprisingly pleasant hoppy character as well. Grassy and grainy, but not terrible.

T - Grains, kind of stale and musty. Pretty mild overall. Slight hop finish, but not a lot. Adjunct grains, cereal sweetness, and a light grassy flavor.

M - Definitely over-carbonated. The fizz is unenjoyable. Light body. Bad.

D - Not very good. Compared to some others in it's price range, it's not awful, but this just isn't a very good beer.

 620 characters

Photo of LWG1970
3/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bought a 12 pack of cans at Jungle Jims, for 6 bucks.

Looks a Darker yellow than straw, smells like corn, taste is sweet, very carbonated. Slight aftertaste.

Honestly taste a lot like Pabst. Very east to drink.

For the price not a BAD choice, but there are better.

Worth a try if you never have, and can find it.

 320 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 biboergosum
2.41/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

355ml can, the made in Canada, by 'Oly Brewing Company' version (aka Great Western Brewing, of Saskatoon) - so I don't see how the same claim to water superiority or consistency can still hold true.

This beer pours a crystal clear, medium golden yellow colour, with two fingers of weakly puffy, bubbly, and thinly soapy bone-white head, which leaves a few streaks of low-lying cloud lace around the glass as it rashly settles.

It smells of mildly sweet cooked corn, a touch of biscuity malt, middling warm plastic notes, and astringent dead grassy, weedy, and somewhat skunky hops. The taste is sweet corn and rice husks, a further tame graininess, weirdly perceptible saccharine alcohol, and mildly weedy, but not at all bitter, hops.

The carbonation is on the soft side, so only a rickety frothiness, the body fuller than the average light weight for the style, but that's mostly due to an airy, sugary cloyingness. It finishes still sweet, in the clammy sense, that lager-soaked barroom floor experience starting to tighten its unholy grip.

Hard to say how truly this local-ish version complies with the Cascadian original - this one is pretty blah, but serviceable enough for its place just above the canned 6-pack dregs at yer typical booze emporium, which seems about right, given the actual brewer here.

 1,316 characters

Photo of OneLowChevy
3.13/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

 375 characters

Photo of dangerpint
4.03/5  rDev +48.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Havent had this one since 1999 when they quit selling it here va. Iam from washington state, born and raised there. back when it was mostly oly or rainer. oly or rainer was the beer we drank. i had wanted to try the ca version since the famous tumwater brewery has been closed for years to see how it stacked up to tumwater brewed version, so had some sent on dry ice by a freind liviing near inwindale ca were oly is now produced. pours bone white head,retention low to average not flat by any means golden pale color some adjunts"to be expected in this style" ,barley,fruit note, light hop note no offensive smells or tastes, light tasting crisp good finish, for a standard amercian beer not too bad (good price) its alot better beer than most over priced and over advertised swills. not a bad beer when you want to knock a few back.inwindale cal version not quite as good as the tumwater made olympia but still is a solid classic beer that stands up and beats most swills. has got many accolades and awards. 2010 world beer cup GOLD MEDAL winner. more states and better availability like in the past would be nice.

 1,117 characters

Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
2.96/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Light yellow color. Decent head on pour that evaporates quickly. Pretty clear, looks like it may have some substance.

Smell: It has a faint, sweet vanilla smell. Not much from the malts.

Taste: Doesn't taste bad. It's a bit sour. The hops are faint but pleasant with some bite. Its not super watery. It doesn't linger in the back of throat and finished better than other macro lagers.

Mouthfeel: Despite the can saying, "It's the water," it isn't the most watery beer i've ever had. The beer is light and doesn't have a ton of character. The brewers made up by putting some serious carbonation in this beer.

Drinkability: Olympia is my favorite macro american lager at the moment. It has more flavor than PBR or MGD and it's hoppier than both. It's also cheap which makes it a good deal if you are on a budget.

 827 characters

Photo of BradLikesBrew
2.71/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Continuing my tour through "sub-premium" beer territory.

Pours a light yellow that might be half a shade darker than PBR. White head recedes quickly.

A suggestion of malt aroma with a good helping of DMS.

The flavor has the characteristicly vague maltiness that seems to define adjunct lagers. Then things get a little funky with a bit of tartness (green apple?) and a vegetal flavor before a rush of carbonation overtakes the palate.

Crisp, highly carbonated, thin bodied.

At first glance, it seems easy to cast asside all adjunct lagers and say they all taste the same. While there may not be a large difference between them, Olympia is proof that they are not all created equal. Schlitz and PBR are clearly superior. Olympia exhibits several off flavors and aromas. Though some are acceptable for the style, not all are. And in a beer with this little flavor, a few minor off flavors can take over quickly.

 914 characters

Photo of emmasdad
3.18/5  rDev +17.3%
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.

 380 characters

Photo of brewnic
2.64/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Cheap and after that first sip that seems like this beer was left in the sun will taste like water. Don't know if it was because this was served ice cold so their couldn't be a taste or really if that's what they were going for. You know what you are going to get even before you try this one.

 293 characters

Photo of crossovert
3.1/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

 373 characters

Photo of msmezher
3.65/5  rDev +34.7%
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?

 474 characters

Photo of Ottertude
3.43/5  rDev +26.6%
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.

 999 characters

Photo of ChrisCage
3.16/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

 1,282 characters

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.

    Subscribe