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".

Added by neenerzig on 10-24-2008

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 236 |  Reviews: 177
Reviews by reedmn:
Photo of reedmn
4.25/5  rDev +28.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of sgoodship
3.46/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My mother in-law sent me some from Cleveland because she knew I hadn't tried it yet.

A: Hazy straw color. The off-white fine bubbled head dissipates quickly to a thin ring. Some big lacing.

S: Belgium yeast, diacetyl, straw and pear. There is something else there that I can't put my finger on. It's a natural smell but it could be that the corriander, lemon and chamomile combine to create a unique smell. I like all of those elements but it doesn't seem to come together for me. You do get a doughy type aroma with some spicy/pepperyness.

T: The taste is nowhere near as complex as the smell. It is just a nice, fresh and earthy tasting wheat. Crisp, clean and dry. There is more fruity sweetness up front. A yeasty breadyness comes through in the middle but the sweet lingers through - even into the dry wheat and hooped finish.

M: Nice, light body. Crisp on the palate. Well carbonated.

D: I'm not an expert on the style but this is an enjoyable beer. I preferred Holy Moses but it's like comparing apples and oranges. There are things about this beer that I don't like but it is a great quality brew. I am a big fan of Great Lakes. This brew doesn't seem like it's going to be a hit but I am pleased that they are trying new things and keeping us guessing. I'm not going to go out of my way for this beer but I'd be happy to drink it, especially as a nice thirst quenching summer brew.

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Photo of blackearth
4.37/5  rDev +32%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours hazy, bright yellow with a white head. Aroma was citrusy, almost sour with a strong yeast character. Between light and medium bodied. Taste followed aroma; yeast was evident as were sour notes with a slightly bitter finish. This beer tasted better as it warmed up, which makes sense since the bottle said to serve at 48 degrees. By the end I wanted another one, so great drinkability.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
2.46/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Hazy yellow orange pour with a small off white head on top. There's some chunky sediment on the bottom of the bottle and I wasn't careful enough and now it's on the bottom of my glass. Aromas start out with soapy, floral, vegetal aromas mixed with pale malts and a wheat backdrop. Lots of chamomile...but overall it smells like a Chia herb garden was grown and then dumped into the kettle. The herbal kick is overwhelming here and not exactly enticing.

First sip brings crisp wheat malts upfront that are somewhat sweet and immediately moves into brash herbal tones. Chamomile and lemon zest accents abound with a soapy, earthy, wet vegetable flavor. It lingers on the palate as some spicy yeast hits on the way down. Basil is in there as well but it all seems a bit astringent, like a cleaning solution gone wrong. I think these herbs need to stay in the garden or go onto the dinner plate....not into the beer.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and crisp. Good carbonation, but the overall trainwreck of flavor in the brew makes this one hard to take down. I bought a sixer since I was excited to see a new Great Lakes brew....but this one is not enjoyable to me. Lingering herbal aftertaste is quite unappealing.

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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 dogfishandi
3.83/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a hazy straw/yellow golden color with a 2 finger white head that faded to about a 1/4in. of some thin head. lots of rushing bubbles. some lacing. pretty good retention.

S- smells of some belgian yeast funk, citrusy lemon zest, a little bit of a spicy herb aroma, and some light grains. the spices and herbs definately come out more as it warms.

T- belgian yeast, bubblegum, lemon zest, citrus, slightly spicy herbs, a little watery, but nice and refreshing.

M- light body, light mouthfeel, nice fine carbonation. a nice and refreshing beer in the summer time.

D- nice abv and an easy drinking flavorable beer make this a nice sessionable beer for the summer time. a nice example of the style.

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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 rhoadsrage
3.73/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a hazy bright orange body with a bubbly cream colored head that fades quickly. There is a gentle carbonation of bubbles that pop out of the hazy body every once and a while.

S- This beer has a smell of soft fresh wheat bread with some hints of cooked ginger that come through when it warms.

T- This beer has a big apricot flavor with softer notes of flowers and wheat. There is a slight snap flavor at the finish with a hint of green hops. In the malt flavor there is a warmth and spice note that is probable from ginger but without the bite of ginger.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a slight slippery note in the texture.

D- I didn't know what this beer was when I ordered it so I was surprised to see a murky American Wheat Ale but it added to the mystery. This menu said it is made with ginger and lemongrass but I didn't get any lemongrass flavors at all. The ginger was a dull cooked flavor and not the fresh ginger snap that I have tasted in other ginger beers. This beer is refreshing and an interesting twist but nothing I would have to have another glass of.

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Photo of pwoods
2.73/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz. brown bottle, purchased at Krogers in Finneytown, poured into a flute.

A: Pours a standard golden color with some hazing. Decent head on the pour, maybe a finger, but it doesn't hold too long. Some spotty lacing.

S: Dominated by spices. Coriander is huge as well as the lemon basil. Chamomile takes a bit of a back seat but as it warms and when you get a heavy dose of it, the combo makes it smell like cooked/boiled vegetables.... not appealing. There's some candi sweetness in the back as well as a splash of hops and some yeasty esters.

T/M: The spices are just too much. I can't get the idea of cooked/boiled veggies out of my head. I think there is a good beer behind all the herbs and spices. There's an assertive yet pleasant sweetness and some fruity yeasty esters. Hops seem good, too. Just not digging the herbs and spices. Body is medium with good Belgian carbonation.

D: This has to be the first GLBC brew that I didn't finish.... I never thought I'd see the day. The main favor for this was the taste because I think this would drink very well.

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Photo of Brenden
3.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one is a little difficult to describe. It's technically a Saison, but doesn't have the characteristic citrus and certain other notes particular to the style. I'll do what I can.

The appearance is pretty good. The head pours nicely but doesn't last very long. I does leave some patches of lacing on the glass. The color is a golden amber and carbonation is fairly active.
The smell is all spices, herbs, vegetation and earthiness with a hops backing that isn't the backbone per se but isn't weak either. Coriander is obvious, and grassy notes are up front. Basil is there as well. There's a lemongrass on the nose but not much actual citrus. There's a very strong herbal / leafy / vegetable aroma on the nose.
Honestly, the taste is much more herbs and veggies than fruits. There is a nice hops backing that isn't overshadowed by the other strong flavors that adds a nice balancing aspect. Sweetness is there mostly in the finish and very faintly. There's little yeast in the flavor but there is some barley-like grains flavor present. There's a floral note as well and a very herbal leaf tea flavor.
The mouthfeel is what I'd expect: medium body with moderate carbonation and a good mix of crisp and smooth.
This is a good beer, but don't come into this expecting your typical farmhouse ale. This is a very different and new experience, and worth trying. A good, well-balanced beer.

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Photo of cynical1027
2/5  rDev -39.6%

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

Been sipping on a few of these the last few nights, thought I'd better get a review done before I finish the 6 pack.

Pours orange, with a tight white head, which drops quickly. Beer is hazy orange, with a few steady streams of carbonation. I saw a good amount of yeast sediment go into my glass, but strangely, I don't see any of it actually IN my glass.

A lot going on in the nose, but I'm not really picking up on any one scent. I am pretty familiar with chamomile, yet I'm not really getting that. A little random fruit aroma, and a huge yeast aroma. I just got done making some pizza dough from scratch, and this smells exactly like the bakers yeast. Smells wholesome.

Light apricot, some lemon, and a lot of the bready yeast flavor. Spicing is quite high, and I like it quite a bit. As in the nose, I'm not entirely sure what I'm getting here, but it seems to work well. Not picking up any hop flavor, and no alcohol is detected either. Almost a honey sweetness as it warms a little.

Mouthfeel is spritzy, and medium to light in body. Which is where I expected it to be. Finish is short and sweet.

A delightful beverage. Nothing flashy here, just honest to goodness ingenuity. Grassroots definitely drinks bigger than it's 5.60% ABV would indicate. This would be a good choice for a light session, maybe 3 or 4 at a sitting. Although to some, the spicing may be fatiguing to the palate. Not me though. I may not know what I'm tasting, but I know what I like. Cheers!

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Photo of dirtylou
3.6/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap, malt house

cell phone notes

appearance: murky straw body, sudsy white froth

smell: white corn, very earthy, sweet malt balance, corriander and other spice

taste: oddly enough - i cant get past a very raw white corn taste. other earth and vegetal notes are a little exaggerated on this beer as well. Very underwhelming

mouthfeel: active carbonation

drinkability: fine

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Photo of McNealc31
3.26/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is my first try at a Saison, so I didn't really know what to expect. But I love everything I've had from Great Lakes, so I thought I'd give it a try.

It pours a very inviting golden color with just a little bit of head.

As for the taste, there is a distinct citrus flavor, but I feel as though all the other flavors get a bit muddled together. It's also a tad watery.

It's good, but not great. No problem finishing the six-pack, but I doubt I'd buy it again.

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Photo of prototypic
2.64/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Alright, I guess it's time to go ahead and review this one...dammit. Grassroots Ale pours a moderately hazy gold color with a slight copper tint. There's some swimming debris, but it's minute. It's topped with a foamy white head that stands a couple of fingers tall. It recedes pretty quickly and leaves light lacing in its wake.

The nose is interesting. It is very spice heavy throughout and features coriander, ginger, and pepper. The label notes that chamomile is used, but I'm not getting that one. Well, there is an interesting sulfuric smell that's out of place and smells bad. I guess that could be it, but I doubt it. Citrus lemon and a little orange are noted. A little grain is present. Honestly, nothing about it works well. It smells like a tire. Not really good thing for a beer.

The flavor profile is marginally better, if at all. Spices are very strong and aggressive. Coriander, pepper, and ginger seem to be the primary components, but there are probably others I'm not identifying. The spices really do not work well in tandem. Somehow the produce a sulfuric and herbal flavor that's not pleasant at all. A little citrus lemon is noted. It's a little on the sweet side, but the extreme spiciness really blurs the entire flavor. Yeast is noted and has a biscuity flavor. It's dry and spicy on the finish. Wow. This is not very good at all. Is this really a Great Lakes brew?

The body feels medium. It's tough to tell how smooth it is. Once again, the spices are so intense that they really confuse damn near everything about this beer. Carbonation is middle of the road and not bad. It's above average, but that's really bad for Great Lakes. Those guys usually nail this aspect. Drinkability is not good at all. The flavor's off and not pleasant. That taints the entire experience and really has me looking forward to finishing the bottle.

I'm a really big fan of Great Lakes and this has not been a fun review to write. But, this is not a good beer and it deserves to be called out. This one came off the track with the spices. I don't know what happened, but it doesn't work. It smells and tastes sulfuric and the spices/herbs are too intense and do not taste good. It affects the nose, flavor, feel, and drinkability in a very negative way. I'd love to say this one could be fixed and improved, but an attempt really shouldn't be made. Let's just scrap this one and forget it ever happened. I was never a big fan of Holy Moses, but it's light years ahead of this one. Bring that one back if need be. A very rare, but huge miss by Great Lakes. I'd suggest taking a pass on this one. It's far below anything I've ever had from Ohio's finest brewery.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.03/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange with a thin white head leaving a little bit of lacing.

Aroma has the chamomile and other herbs goin on. Some pepper and a little bit of funk.

Taste is different for sure but I think pleasent. Not too strong but has alot of stuff going on. Same as aromas but also some grassy/hay notes and some hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good. All that stuff above leaves it a little viscous than it probably should be.

Overall I would drink this again if I got another as an extra or something or I saw it at a bar but I don't think I would go out of my way to trade for it.

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Photo of jay_schrock
2.8/5  rDev -15.4%

Photo of Infamous7100
3.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Nothing too special here. Copper to light orange. Pretty clear.
S: Very complex. A grassy, earthy smell is what first jumps out. I'm also getting some veggies, carrots perhaps.
T: Much like the smell, it tastes like veggies. To me, this could almost be a fruit/veg beer. Very unique and complex flavoring. Not bitter in the least.
M: Nothing spectacular. Goes down smooth with just a hint of aftertaste. Light to medium carbonation.
D: Good for one per sitting. It's too unique to have back to back.

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

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. This one has been in the refrigerator for a few month, but the best by date is still well off; 10/14/09. I wonder if they gave it a longer time than their regular beers.

Appearance: Pours with a massive, pillowy 4 fingers of nearly white head, enough that I don't get the entire bottle out in one pour. This settles slowly, leaving behind white rings as I drink. The beer itself is medium gold color with plenty of suspended particulate matter. Some sediment remains in the bottle.

Smell: Tart aroma upfront with hints of peaches and a slight lemon undertone.

Taste: Slightly sweet malt upfront with strong, earthy notes. A mild bitterness in the finish and once again, musty and vegetal flavors.

Mouthfeel: Average level of carbonation. Body is good.

Drinkability: Interesting. Not being an expert on the saison style, I can't expound much on my observations. Suffice it to say, this tastes like I would imagine a country style ale, very much "of the earth." Not bad, but not something I would explicitly seek out again.

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Photo of leinie13
3/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.73/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one sitting in my fridge for a few months, drank five within the first week or two of buying the six pack and just getting around to reviewing the last one now.

12oz bottle poured into a Maui Brewing Co. pint glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazed dandelion orange with a pretty thick and creamy looking bone white head that manages to stick around for a few minutes before settling into a thin cap.

S: This is certainly different, chamomile is certainly here and I am not certian that I like it, together it forms a kind of grassy, doughy almost funky, but not a sharp, sour funk, but a kind of wet, soft, basementy funk. Beyond this there are little hints of lemon and heather that want to show though but are relegated to second fiddle to the tea like aspects of this beer. Not sure how well it matches up with the style or, but my nose isn't too wild about it thus far.

T/MF: Orange juice, chamomile, heather, dandelion greens, there is this kind of herbally weight that sits on the back of your tongue with each sip of this beer and changes just slightly in taste with every inhalation. This beer brings something new with each sip and even just moving the beer around in your mouth a little. Mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium bodied, rightly carbonated, enough lift to keep from feeling watery and smooth enough to add a depth of texture. Finish is mild, with the tongue ready to receive the next sip and whatever it may have to offer.

D: When I first tried this beer I didn't really like it at all, the sort of dank, chamomile/herbally thing was not really working for me, it tasted off in the simplest sense. But right now, giving this beer a bit more time and a bit more thought and attention, things are slowly able to be pulled away in terms of flavor and feel. I'm still not sure how this is categorized as a saison apart for that being what Great Lakes says it is. It reminds me more of a gruit beer or heather beer than a saison which I think might lend itself to higher ratings on this site, but beyond that this beer is a bold attempt at trying something different and manages to make a beer with a strongly herbal character not to dominate all aspects of the beer itself. Certainly worth a look if you are a curious beer drinker.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.75/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz pour.

A- Poured into a pint glass. Nice hazy golden yellow color that produced a 1/8 inch off white head. Lacing slides back into the glass.

S- This smells like barnyard funk. Big smells of banana, cloves, some citrus, and earthy smells. This kind of smells like the begining of a sour. some hints of sulphur (spelling??)

T- Tastes like the a younger sour ale. I don't really hate it but it's kind of bleh to me. Cloves, banana, and even earthy flavors as well. Nothing too bad. Kind of a light bitter aftertaste.

M- Pretty good mouthfeel. I would say light to medium range. The taste of cloves and banana seem to linger on the palate after the sip. Carbonation is good for the style.

D- This beer is alright. It's not my favorite offering from GL but it's not my least favorite. I got this bottle as a sample from my beer rep. I won't really look out for this on my own. If it's there it would be a nice refreshing drink.

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