3 Lowbrow Beers and the Iconic Men Who Drank Them

What do the first American to summit Everest, Legendary Stuntman Evel Knieval, and Steve McQueen have in common? When it comes to beer—they’ve got simple tastes
October 10, 2019Words by Tommy McDermott

Back when beer was beer, before IPAs ran rampant, and everything on tap had enough ABV to sedate a small elephant—there were just a handful of cans for the everyman that became unlikely icons of their time. Ever wonder what Steve McQueen reached for after a race? What the first American to summit Everest chose to sip in celebration? Well, wonder no more. We’ve done some digging and rounded up a few of our favorite lowbrow beers with highbrow history. Did we leave anything off our list? Leave us a message in the comments below. 

Evel Knievel drinking Olympia


It’s widely accepted in the scientific community that Olympia has one of the simplest, best beer taglines around — “It’s the Water.” The legend Evel Knievel was sponsored by Olympia Beer through most of his career, and the “Clearwater” in Creedence Clearwater Revival comes from an old Olympia advertising campaign. Although the original brewery was closed in 2003, Olympia is still available through Pabst Brewing Co.

Jim Whittaker drinking Rainier


In 1963, the first American to summit Mt. Everest (Jim Whittaker—a Seattle native himself) brought a can of Rainier with him. The original brewery dates all the way back to 1854 when it opened under the name “The Washington Brewery,” which was Seattle’s first-ever commercial brewing company. Today, it’s still sold primarily in the Pacific Northwest. 


Steve McQueen Drinking Lucky Lager

Lucky Lager

“One of the World’s Finest Beers,” Lucky Lager was first brewed at The General Brewing Company in San Francisco in 1934. It featured a distinctive red X logo and advertised with the San Francisco Seals through the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Even better—the King of Cool himself was photographed with a bottle. In 2019, Pabst announced that 21st Amendment Brewing would be reviving the brand.

>>Next: The Best Brewery in Every State


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