Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

BEER AVG
3.64/5
Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl BrewpubFish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

515 Jefferson St. SE
Olympia, Washington, 98501
United States

(360) 943-3650 | map
fishbrewing.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

BEER STATS
Beers:
53
Ratings:
2,848
Reviews:
1,559
PLACE STATS
Score:
87
Ratings:
41
Reviews:
27
Avg:
3.89
pDev:
9.77%
 
 
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Ratings: 41 |  Reviews: 27
Photo of woemad
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of Hobbit
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of Erik-P
4.39/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Photo of udubdawg
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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! )

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Photo of dunix
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

This was the second stop on my mini "crawl" through Olympia, and also the 9th stop on my South Sound Crawl passport, which means I earned my free pint glass!

Clientele seemed older, 30s up to god knows how old. Wasn't PACKED, but had a nice livelihood to it on a a Sunday afternoon.

Great looking tap list. Nice variety of beers, which means it was nice to see something other than IPAs offered on tap.

Our beers were decent. I had a porter, my date had some barrel aged saison, which outshone my porter by a good furlong. I was stuffed at this point and couldn't muster tasting anything else, but these two beers seemed well made.

Big thank you to the younger gentleman server. Upon presenting my 9th pass port stamt (entitling me to my free South Sound Crawl pint glass) he not only brought me a glass, but one for my date as well--without even asking! As it would happen, she accompanied me on my 8 other stops for stamps, but the fact that he did this without even asking was a really nice gesture.

Definitely worth checking out while in Olympia.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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.

 694 characters

Photo of carln26
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of Hopmodium
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

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.

 1,330 characters

Photo of beerceller99
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Located in the business / industrial part of town , the brewery bar is in a small building. Parking is pretty easy here. The interior is on the small side with lots of fishy decor. The atmosphere has a small town bar feel to it, very casual. Seafood and sandwichs highlight the food menu here, which isn't too bad. Service is friendly enough, but like most brewpubs I've been to the staff is not very beer savvy. Lots of Fish Tale and Leavenworth brews on tap highlight the beer selection, with some 750's of their big beers available to go. They'll fill your growler or container with any of their on tap brews. Last time I visited I got a gallon of the Poseidon stout to go... for $9.95,a pretty reasonable price by any standard.
Worth a visit if only for the great growler prices.

 785 characters

Photo of weefisheads
3.93/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

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...

 1,838 characters

Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

my local brewery is a place i don't visit often, mostly because they make average beer. granted it is organic, or most of it, but that does not mean you have to make a beer that tastes merely ok. they have their fish lineup, consisting typically of about 7 beers, as well as the leavenworth line that they bought a few years back, which is another 6 beers or so. i only come here to see what they have on cask, which occasionally is awesome, like 10 squared or leviathan, but more likely it'll be the mudshark porter which is ok. they do beer to go, and growlers, but not of everything. they also have 3 ciders on tap, one of which, the dark and dry, is of incredible flavor. however, i just found out that they make their cider from concentrate, which hardly counts. it makes me a little sad. the food is pubby, and on the good side of pubby. personally, i always get the emu burger, because its the only place i know that'll serve me ground emu on a bun. cooked, too.

 969 characters

Photo of dnichols
2.98/5  rDev -23.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I visited the pub with my son and his friend. I was excited to try and carry out a quantity of Monkfish Ale which is only produced during in limited batches. I arrived after checking to make sure the Ale was "in season" only to be told that they did not have any at the pub for sale (none for carry out, none in bottles for sale at the pub and none on tap)! The wait staff seemed hurried and not very knowledgeable about the brewery products that were available so I ordered dinner and a pint. The food was good but not great and the service was fair but not good. I doubt I will ever try the pub again.

 603 characters

Photo of GeoChase90
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%

Photo of BlueSpader
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Photo of Keepnitrl
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of yeaprolly
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of Coopdaddy
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of zacharius
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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.

 885 characters

Photo of Ruddiger
2.9/5  rDev -25.4%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5

This place was very very loud, hard to have a conversation with the other people at your table as sound seemed to echo off of the walls on the top level we were sitting at. The server was also rude and seemed snooty.
The beers were good though, and the prices reasonable. The barleywine on cask was very delicious. I probably would stop in again, but I didn't really enjoy my visit, and the other people in my party didn't either. I would maybe go back, but I'm probably not enough of a yuppie to fit in here on a regular basis.

 530 characters

Photo of saintwarrick
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

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

 849 characters

Photo of ds21tango
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of jcurtis55
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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.

 1,576 characters

Photo of chad_e_martin
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of jannunziata
3.96/5  rDev +1.8%

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Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub in Olympia, WA
3.64 out of 5 based on 2,848 ratings.
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