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Grassroots Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Grassroots AleGrassroots Ale
236 Ratings
Grassroots AleGrassroots Ale

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: Belgian Saison

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bottled Grassroots Ale is a Saison formerly named "Hale Ale".

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 236 |  Reviews: 177
Reviews by ChrisMon02:
Photo of ChrisMon02
4/5  rDev +20.8%

More User Reviews:
Photo of faernt
4.2/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer seems to have the yeast from Saison DuPont. As a saison...I like it. It is more floral than DuPont, the rusty water that DuPont uses is not present which dilutes the idiosyncratic characteristic of DuPont. It loses some of it's first impression in the next bottle. It's a great yard beer. I've been working in the yard all day and it's very satisfying. I mean this as a high compliment since I consider Saison DuPont the ultimate lawn mower beer. Dare to mix grass smell and beer satisfaction and you'll understand my bias.

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Photo of ZAP
4.02/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Golden Rod colored....big frothy white head of about an inch and 1/4.

S-Three things stand out...cookie doughiness....herbalness, and sweet lemon drops...Very nice smelling beer.

T-The taste begins with the lemons and cookie dough but there is an underlying herbalness as well...lacks the anise and black licorice I find in some Saisons( which I do not like so, that is a plus for this beer.)

M-Medium bodied...pretty highly carbonated..

D-An interesting and enjoyable Saison with a uniqueness to it.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.62/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Murky looking glowing orange/amber body. Thin ivory white head. Lacing is actually pretty full. Aroma is a lot of cookie dough, yeasty doughballs of cookie dough that is, spice and cardamon. Good smeller. I notice a gaseous feel to the beer right off. A little too much CO2 in this one. Flavor takes a hit from the aroma. It's grassy and herbal. And also yeasty and doughy. But the balance is a little out of whack. This will probably go down as one of my lowest rated Great Lakes beers.

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Photo of cokes
2.59/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

It sits golden in the glass, partially obscured by haze, and stacked high with sticky, lingering white suds.
The nose exudes the flatulent-like rubber notes, dandelion, sourdough, and clover.
In the mouth, it's much of the same. A canvas of sourdough is painted with a collage of weeds and herbs: A vague mustard sourness; Lemongrass citric herbals; Leafy clover; Lavender...and I don't do enough gardening to continue. But that's all there is here. The flagrant herbal and floral traits of the beer would have been better suited with a more complex yeastiness. And the malt end doesn't add any particular intrigue either.
Texturally, it medium+ in body, lowly carbonated with a slightly tacky and chalky finish.
This is my first let down from Great Lakes. It's pretty much a total miss and not worth retooling. Bring back Moondog.

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Photo of Wildman
4.12/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a cloudy straw color and formed a foamy white head that left circular lace as it subsided. A medium amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of wheat, coriander and other spices. The flavor was of wheat, citrus, candy/bubblegum and grass. The body was light and the finish was sweet, yet slightly sprite. A nice summer beer.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask version at Barley’s 5th Annual Mini RAF (04/28/07): This beer is a hazy yellow color with a thin and quickly diminishing white head. Minimal lacing. The aroma is yeasty with some ginger and lemon. Light, crisp body with zesty citrus, wheat and ginger flavors. The finish is refreshing and citrusy and leaves a mild bitter hops aftertaste. A lawnmower beer as only Great Lakes could provide.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.01/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a clouded honey golden with a huge billowing creamy chunky white head leaves fine lacing all throughout the glass.

Aroma has huge banana, coriander and herbal notes going on. Some mildly toasted marshmallow I'm getting from the chamomile plus some citric and notes from the lemon balm and basil. Saison yeast used tends to have a really bread dough with some lightly peppered spiciness.

Flavor has a strong unwavering sweetness built up with banana and citrus notes with herbal green notes and light hop oils. A wildly original ale, farmhouse for sure not much funk more heavy handed with yeast, herbs, and spices primarily coriander. Honey drizzled roasted marshmallow sweetness going on with bitter spices and dry yeast packets giving a bready kick to it all.

Mouthfeel is a bit syrupy almost cloying at time carbonation is lively enough but I'd prefer some effervescence from this style. Spices down weigh to heavily on my palate, finishes with some biscuit malt and honey sweetness but doesn't ruin the mouthfeel.

Drinkability overall is unique one of those beers that challenges the senses and what your definition of beer happens to be, and what it can be. I will be pursuing more of this stuff just to try and figure it out completely.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale yellow in color. Decent head at first. Sulfury and yeasty aroma-somewhat spiced. Soft malty flavor with a small, off set bitterness to it. Somewhat spicey-mild lemon and citrus quality. I found the spices too much at first but by the 2nd bottle and as it warmed a bit it became quite pleasant. Nice mouthfeel-quite alive and fresh tasting. Good spiced saison and great for a summer's day.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.35/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Formerly Hale Ale: A fragrant saison blended with coriander, lemon balm, chamomile and lemon basil, some of which were sustainably grown on our "Pint Size Farm" at Hale Farm & Village.
6.2% ABV, 30 IBU.

I had this on tap at the brewery this last December and loved it. I'm so glad to have found it in bottles. I paid $9.49 for a 6'er at the Wine Palace. Best by 10/21/09. Pours out to a cloudy orange golden, forming a tall yellowish head that is very frothy and has awesome retention and beautiful lacing. Carbonation is moderate. The aroma is lovely...a nice Wit nose with wheat and coriander with delicate touches of lemon, orange, and that wonderful brightness of chamomile, which is why I love their Holy Moses so much. The mouthfeel is initially crisp and bright with a deceptive medium-light body and a heavy rounded finish. The coriander and chamomile come together really nicely and balance perfectly with the spiciness of the yeast and the delicate pear-like sweetness of the pale malts. Lightly sweet finish with a herbal aftertaste.

Beautiful stuff, really. It appears this is a "love-it-or-hate-it" kinda beer. Personally, I love this beer, and my friends that have tasted it liked it as well. I do wish it had a little more spice to it though...if they brewed this with some orange peel, pepper and either Unibroue yeast or a Trappist triple yeast, it would be killer stuff. Hrmmm, homebrew recipe anyone?

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Photo of weeare138
2.68/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to hopdog for sharing the growler...

Appears a hazy, light gold with a small white cap. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of lemongrass, vegetal, ginger, and citrus...hmmm.
Taste is saison-esque with wheat and light malt flavors. Strange herbal, vegetal flavors mixing it up.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, spicy, with a vegetal finish.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, 6.2% ABV. Best before 11/1/09. Pours a slightly hazy golden color. White rocky head holds together well for a bit, then fades leaving a bit of patchwork lace. Some tiny bubbles rising to the surface.

A bit of spice in the nose. Some lemon, and chamomile. Some coriander detected. The combonation of spices almost gives it a vegetable character, which I don't know is very appealing.

Nice lighter malt character. Some earthy flavors come out, along with coriander and the chamomile. Just a hint of yeasty flavor. A fair amount of residual sweetness.

Medium body. I would have expected a bit more carbonation for the style. Just a hint of alcohol. Overall, not as enjoyable as I would have hoped. Maybe a few too many spices. Still, not bad, just not quite a hit.

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Photo of WesWes
3.43/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a hazy gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a nice pale malt and Saison yeast aroma. It's dry and earthy with some funk scents along with an herbal, almost medicinal, aroma. The taste is average. I love the base flavors of the saison, but the herbal element turns me off. It's definately grassy tasting, which isn't what I'm looking for in a good beer. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with perfect carbonation. This is a nice experimental brew, but I'm not going back for seconds.

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Photo of alexgash
3.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle. Best by 10/21/09.

Cloudy with a suspension of fine particulate yeast. Peachy yellow body. Finger of gauzy, yeast-flecked, eggshell white head. Good lacing. Nose of wheat bread, tart bananas, tangy citrus, and an intriguing blend of spices (chamomile, vanilla, coriander?). Funky, herbal, yeasty twang up front. Cooked veggies and light banana-wheat malt. Tea and chamomile flavors blend with some late fruit and powdered sugar sweetness. Finish is herbal, faintly bitter, with lingering cooked veggies. Medium-full body with a thick, wheat-y feel. Not bad, but a little too herbal and vegetal for me.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
2.12/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer is a rare miss for this brewery. I found the smell of this beer slightly offensive (mercaptan/compost), and the flavor and mouthfeel to also be not to my liking.

It pours a cider-y and hazy yellow color with pretty good, tight head that forms nice lacing. Aroma is clove-y and of coriander, but the real presence is of mercaptan, a chemical compound that to my nose smells like compost, and is not something I'm looking for in a beer. Flavor is mercaptan on the nose, with some spiciness. As it warmed a bit, that spiciness gave way to a lingering puckeriness, like a fruity pear or peach. Mouthfeel is thin. I think of farmhouse ale or saison or whatever you want to call this as a sort of delicate style, and the mercaptan aroma/taste to me extremely unpleasant and not file-able under the "funk" category of flavors that sometime describe beers like this.

Oh, why did I buy a six-pack of this stuff? Definitely not recommended.

I bought my 6-pack (unfortunately) at Blacklick Liquor in Blacklick, OH.

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Photo of mentor
4.22/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle was a 2006 GABF left-over that was given to me as a reward for my volunteer efforts. Thanks a million to GABF and to Great Lakes Brewing for the opportunity. Entered into judging in category #5A (Herb and Spice beer).

Pours a two finger nearly white fluffy head over a cloudy bright yellow liquid. Smells ginger and citrus. Earthy with a mild malt sweet. Tastes potent ginger that comes across as quite fresh and carries a bit of orange zing. Also a touch of lemony sweetness. Malt sweet has similarities that blend with the spicing and the cabonation sting works with the zing. Md body and strong stingy carbonation. Quite enjoyable and has some similarities to a Shanty (beer mixed with lemonade).

Simple. A nice light summer drinker that I easily could enjoy another (although I'd like the carbonation to be a bit less).

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Photo of akorsak
3.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle purchased at Vintage Estates.

A: The saison sits hazily in my glass, buffered by a half a finger of white head. As the head recedes, nothing is left in its wake. Under the head, a golden ale sits brightly, despite the haze.

S: Unusual, unpleaseant even. Overripe fruit aroma are strong with green vegetables adding a leafy, asparagus aroma. Took me a while to pinpoint that, but it is what it is.

T: More asparagus in the taste, but it is met with lemony citrus and a mild ginger profile. The carbonation is strong, cleansing the tongue with each sip. Despite the unusual flavors, I think that the ale has an intriguing flavor that I keep coming back to. Grass and hay are prominent, maybe those flavors keep pulling me in. Overall, I'm sold on this, even with its beyond-a-saison flavor.

M: The mouthfeel starts off with the asparagus before ginger and citrus arrive to save the day. Don't judge this beer by the first sip.

D: An odd brew that I can't put down even though part of me wants to. The initial impression on each sip need improvement.

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Photo of merlin48
3.23/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle pours a yellow/golden body with a two finger vanilla head that leaves patchy lacing. nice aroma has chamomile, soft herbal hops, and a woodsy yeastiness. Light medium body has a zesty carbonation. Taste is disappointing. Caramel, herbal hops, vegetal raw mushrooms, and a note of lilac water don't come together. Malt sweetness is a bit too much. Not one of the better American interpretations of the style.

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Photo of asabreed
3.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: A full, hazy golden color with a nice billowing white head, though not a ton of lacing as the foam slips and slides down the glass.

Smell: Big herbs and spices initially, along with mild roasted grain aromas. As it warms, some chamomile, coriander, and lemon peel come out, along with earthy greens, maybe a bit of grass. The more it warms, the earthier it gets and the less spice present.

Taste: Spicy at first, with a lot of herbs and chamomile, and seemingly some coriander. As it warms, the earthiness come through, and some citrus comes through. Only to me it kind of tastes more like a wheat ale with spices than a true Saison. The herbs are there, and the spiciness, yes, but it gets maybe a little too heady and unbalanced, and it loses any sense of funk that could be there from the yeast.

Mouthfeel: Seems under carbonated and a bit sticky to me, which makes the sweeter wheat-like flavors and sweeter spices and herbs a bitt too much on the palate as it warms.

Drinkability: A decent stab at the style, and though it seems really hard to mimic a good Saison, I expected more from Great Lakes, one of my favorite breweries in the US. Glad I tried a bottle, but it's not something I'd want to drink more than one of.

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
2.17/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A-Slightly orange-hued golden body with very little for a head. Minute lacing. Not a bad looking beer, but not all that true for a saison.

S-I really dont know where to begin. This is awful to the point of disgust. Hello cooked veggies! It actually smells like vomit in a way and takes away from the entire beer. They went for an herbal approach but it would have been better suited to go with rosemary and lemon grass instead of basil. The aroma really confuses the pallet.

T/M-The aroma seeps into the taste and mouthfeel of this beer. The body is a bit sugary up front but immediately yields to the herbal/vegetable flavors. The body is a bit thick and lacks the dry finish of a saison. A chalky coating seems to hold the basil flavors in the mouth creating an ever-present reminder of my dislikes in this beer.

D-Guys...this is just not a good beer. I am all for experimentation but this is just poorly built. You will be hard pressed to find me pass up a saison but this one sends shivers down my spine. I just cannot get over the smell of this.

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Photo of cooncat
3.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the "Beer On The Bay" (Erie) fest (7-25-09).

I have to admit, this was a beer I was skeptical about tasting/reviewing. After seeing so many negative (D & F) scores for this GLBC offering, I was put off. GLBC is one of my favorite craft brewing companies. Everything I've had from them has been solid and very much to BJCP style guidelines. So when I started reading things like "sulphuric", "farty" and "skunky", I was thinking, "OMG, has GLBC finally gone and produced a loser?" "Did a bad batch get out?" Fortunately, by attending the fest, I was able to dispell all those notions. Now to the review.

The pour from tap produces a nice apricot yellow colored brew, capped with a light and fluffy off-white head. Head retention is decent, with evidence of some lacing (not a lot though).

The nose is lightly scented with various herbs and is very much like your typical Saison. This one has a few other notes to ponder, beyond the citric, zesty lemon aromas you typically get. There is coriander and lemon basil. I get the coriander, but I'm not sure I can put my finger on the basil.

Taste, again, is very typical of a Saison, but has more of a spicy note than a citric lemony note. I guess this is GLBC's own signature on the style. Its not objectionable, just different. NOTE: I found absolutely *nothing* in the nose or taste that even remotely brought 'sulphuric, 'farty' or 'skunky' to mind, so forget about that right now. Those who used those adjectives perhaps might not have had Saisons before, or have an 'under developed palate'. Mouthfeel is closer to medium than light, and very smooth. Despite a moderate abv of 6.2%, there is no notice of the alcohol - no fusel notes at all. I'd rate drinkability as high; for those who appreciate the Saison style. There is *no* Farmhouse Funk associated with this brew .. relax and let the melody of flavors commingle on your palate.

Not my favorite GLBC brew by a long shot, but I did enjoy it, after finally having a chance to taste and review it. Don't let the negative reviews scare you off, as they did me. If you enjoy Saisons, seek this one out and give it a try.

Na Zdravje!

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Photo of mrjoshm
4.68/5  rDev +41.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I really enjoyed this beer, it was my go to favorite from the sample pack, I would have definitely bought a case if I could have found one. It did have a watery mouthfeel, and everyone pretty much hit the nail on the head in regards to appearance but to me the smell and taste were great. There is a lot of aroma here, the crisp smell of lemongrass cuts through the floral overtones. The drinkability was good, nothing offensive and a handful of flavor to try and discern with each mouthful. A lot of people seemed to not like what they were smelling and tasting, but I loved it.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Honey-drizzled apricot with an energetic interior that includes swirling yeast and rapidly rising bubbles. The alabaster colored crown is soft and fluffy, looking nowhere near as good as the heads on the best Belgian saisons. Several streamers of sudsy lace are the extent of the glass coverage.

The nose is classically saison-like, which is a pretty wide range when you come right down to it. It's lemony, herbal and spicy (see below for specific ingredients), with no farmhouse funkiness. Some have suggested that bad batches are out there, but the beer in my glass smells wonderful.

Those who dislike Grassroots Ale are most likely reacting to the particular blend of herbs and spices that Great Lakes uses in this unique saison. The list includes coriander, lemon balm, chamomile and lemon basil. All of them are pretty aggressive on their own, so the combination is bound to polarize.

GLBC would have been better served by eliminating at least two of the above ingredients. Let's call it addition by subtraction. My preference would be to keep the coriander and the lemon balm, while getting rid of the other two. I've never liked chamomile and the lemon basil adds a weedy-herbal flavor that isn't particularly enjoyable.

The delicious first half of the flavor arc (4.0) takes a big turn for the worse at the midway point, culminating in a less than agreeable second half (3.0). The beer is actually growing on me as the ounces pass, but not enough for the final score to change. Unless you're a lover of the style or a lover of highly spiced ales, this isn't very approachable beer and probably doesn't see many repeat purchases.

The mouthfeel is typical Great Lakes. It's closer to medium than light and has a wonderfully silky smooth creaminess born of perfect carbonation. It's too bad that all American craft breweries don't deliver the mouthfeel goods each and every time like these guys do.

Grassroots Ale is my least favorite GLBC beer. It's a decent effort, but the brewery should give serious consideration to tweaking the recipe if they want it to sell. I'll have no trouble drinking the other bottles, but won't buy it again unless changes are made.

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Photo of Sammy
3.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Kind of odd saison. Pours light coloured body with abundant white foaming head. Herbal, yeasty and some spice aroma, all together rather odd. Taste is herbal tea married with beer, drinkable but not something i would seek out again. Middling mouthfeel.

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Photo of stewart124
2.93/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a tulip glass and it originally produced a fluffy white head that left around a decent lace. The color was a really hazy orange.

The smell was funky enough but subtle hints of lemon and floral hops.

Sweet smooth mouthfeel that was fairly chewy. Left a zing on the tongue. Very creamy with a slight bitterness/sourness.

This took me a while to place and as strange as it sounds, there was a taste of shrimp in the finish. This really was not a pleasing aftertaste.

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Grassroots Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.31 out of 5 with 236 ratings