Olympia has a long historical bond with beer. The pioneers that first came to our area brought a bounty of seeds to sew in the fertile land, one of which was hops. These remarkable hops grew at the farm of George W. Bush for decades and were used in early batches of local beer. Along with this crop, Olympia’s artesian water supply made it an epicenter for brewers to begin creating flavorful beers for all to enjoy. Even today, breweries set up shop in our area to tap into this supply. Sip your way through some of the modern offerings with a walking tour through historic downtown Olympia.
The first stop on our tour is the popular Fish Brewing. Founded in 1993, the brewhouse started with 15 barrels for brewing. Now, they boast 40 barrels and three distinct labels: Fish Tale Ales, Spire Mountain Cider and Leavenworth Biers. Visit the brew pub to indulge in a variety of beers and delicious food. Crab cakes and oyster shooters start off the quintessentially Northwest menu. If you want to take a pint to-go, growlers and fills are available along with kegs that can be ordered for your next home event.
Get back to the sidewalk and walk to the nearby Three Magnets Brewing for a one-of-a-kind beer experience. With a seasonally rotating menu, every experience at Three Magnets is unique. The brewers here like to incorporate unlikely pairings like orange zest, beets, pineapple and even coffee from Olympia Coffee Roasters. Get a flight to taste multiple options or buy prepackaged four packs to take home. Along with the rare beer flavors, visitors will find distinctive food options as well. Chimichurri steak fries and pork belly sliders are just two of the must-have items to pair with a frothy mug.
Along 4th Avenue sits the Spar Cafe. McMenamins is well known for their breweries in both Washington and Oregon. The buildings they are housed in are focused on the history in which they are located. The Spar is no exception to this rule. This location brews their beer using water from the artesian well located in the basement. Make a phone call before you go and you can book a tour of the brewing facility during your visit. Their famous Ruby Ale is brewed using raspberry puree and pairs perfectly with their scrumptious tater tots.
Keep walking down the avenue until you see the shining sign for Well 80 Brewpub. One of the newer breweries in town, this location brings the history of beer in Olympia to the forefront of their pub. Signs and photos of the past Olympia Brewing Company are easily spotted as murals and the brewers here have even created Leopold’s No. 1 Lager. Working with Paul Knight, the last brewmaster at Olympia Brewing Company, Well 80 has created a replica beer from Leopold Schmidt’s 1896 recipe. It’s a step back in time that can’t be enjoyed anywhere else. The cozy ambiance in the bar and pub fare makes this a great location to enjoy dinner after a long day of brewery tours.
Ready for dessert? The final stop on the tour is Whitewood Cider Co. Inside their “Teeny Tiny Taproom” visitors will encounter big flavors. The brews here are made from apples sourced from local farms. During the summer months, they even made a refreshing Summer Switchel Cider in collaboration with Seattle’s Timber City Ginger Beer. The cider variety here is unmatched and makes for the perfectly sweet ending to the tour.
Walk your way from the start of Olympia brewing history to the new modern blends with a brewery tour everyone will enjoy.