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: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 236 |  Reviews: 177
Photo of nineworldseries
5/5  rDev +51.1%

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 sweemzander
4.65/5  rDev +40.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. Enjoy by 10/21/09 printed on the bottle.

(A)-Poured a cloudy golden yellow color. Respectable light yellow to tan head that slowly dissipated to a solid layer.

(S)- Super sweet lemon and bananna. Lots of wheat, yeast, and hay barnyard funk. Almost has a candied fig thing to it. Call me crazy, but it smells like dandelions! (could just be the chamomile).

(T)- Lots of clay, wheat, hay, an almost butterscotchy lemony funkiness to it. Rather floral aspects with a light apple flavor thrown into the mix as well.

(M)- Good mouthfeel of balanced but complex flavors with a great carbonation level. The floral aspect comes out almost creamy in the finish. Very interesting.

(D)- Havent had a ton of Saison style beers, but this really is unique and delicious. Really balanced with very complex flavors that I still really cant pinpoint 100%. A 6pk wouldnt last long at all in my fridge.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.64/5  rDev +40.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Triple Karmeliet tulip. Best by 10/13/09 printed on the label with the serving temperature.

A - Cloudy bright golden color with a dense, white, two finger head with good retention and some lacing.

S - Banana esters and strong spices - coriander - lemon peel gives it a citrusy aroma - yeasty - Belgian strain certainly. Bread and sweet malts overflowing.

T - Belgian yeast and a strong banana ester with a slight but noticeable citrus character. Heavy but not offensive spicing. Coriander. Sweet and malty too.

M - Smooth yet well carbonated. Creamy and soft on the palate. Spicy and slightly dry.

D - While this beer is incredible, it's flavor, I think, is a bit much for the long haul. Holy crap is it good though.

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Photo of adamette
4.49/5  rDev +35.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Live Review. Poured from 12 oz. bottle purchased at Heinen's in Willoughby Hills, Ohio as a part of a 24 bottle case at $15.99. Poured into my Brewery Ommegang Hennepin silver rimmed goblet.

A Kind of basic yellow orange glowing body under a nice albeit short lived meringue white head (looks like churned egg whites). Some minimal lacing on my glass as I sip.

S I really like the spices in the nose of this beer. Sure, there is the wheat and grain backdrop but coming through real clearly are the spices of chamomile and herbs which are just intoxicating. Of course at 5.6% this beer is not ACTUALLY intoxicating (at least not to any extreme!). I can just about smell the herb garden from which many of these spices came.

T The nice gentle spices and "Witbier" softness carries right over to the taste. Others may not but I really appreciated the herbs and spices of this and other Saisons. This is a really great interpretation of that taste.

M Light to moderate with a reasonably low ABV too. One of my favorite "low ABV" beers in fact.

D Great. THIS is a session beer! I tend to gravitate toward beers that do not do well with repeated pints but this is not one of those. Bravo!

Notes: I had enjoyed this on tap at the Brewery as "Hale Ale" and really enjoyed it. This bottled version is excellent too. This beer really showed me how diverse Great Lakes can be, from their ultra dark Blackout Stout to their lagers and now this Saison, really excellent range.

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Photo of Deuane
4.4/5  rDev +32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-Hazy, bright, orange-amber with a medium bright white head that holds on strong and leaves nice lace.

S-Lemon zest, apricot and grassy qualities with spicy yeast notes in the background.

T-Bright lemongrass, lemon zest, apricot and fresh cut hay. Spicy , dry finish.

M-Light bodied, sharp, tart and crisp.

D-A totally solid summer session beer.This is about as refreshing as a "homegrown" saison can be. A wonderful example of what using fresh, hand cared for ingredients can do for a brew. Kudos to the folks at GLBC for using their own products and creating such a fine brew!

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Photo of DuqTroops
4.4/5  rDev +32.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tried this beer at the GABF in Denver. I am about to go over to GLBC to buy a growler of it.

Appearance - light in color

Aroma - the best part of this beer! aisan influsion of lemongrass and saphron! who knew unique beer would taste this great. Hint of ginger in there too

Taste - sweet beer., not typical hoppy beer that I am used to, but a good change. my boss says this would be a great beer to use for a "beer can chicken".

Mouthfeel - little carbonation, able to taste the beer rather the alcohol.

Drinkability - may be able to have 2 of these in a night, but is too different to have more than that.

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

reviewed this on tap a few weeks ago and it's so much different out of the bottle that it makes me wonder if the bartender poured me the right beer. my guess is no. so i believe it merits another review. or at least a comparison.

A- mostly clear golden amber with some floating particles and a dense creamy off-white head and a ton of sticky lace. foam hold itself beautifully and after it settles down a bit it retains several floating clumps like shaving cream lather in the brew.

S- banana and coriander, and what could be perceived as clove smells more to me like sweet basil, but not lemon basil. pork, lemon clean lemon balm aromas, and the slightly pineapple-like scent of crushed chamomile flowers. yeasty, herbal, and green, bubblegum, grassy hops, and lightly toasted bread. it smells ok when it's cold, but as it warms amazingly fruity aromas come out with apricot, pineapple, tangerine, and lemon in the forefront.

T- sweet and floral, with licorice-bubblegum sweet basil flavors just as in the aroma but lacking the sharp citrus that lemon basil possesses. in fact, the whole flavor profile leans on the anise-white pepper side, similar to the thai 'siam queen' basil cultivar that believe me, is as attractive as it is aromatic. lemon/citrus is barely detectable, but the grassy clorophyl flavor of the herbs stands boldly. rose, lily, and earthy yeast. drying out on the backside, this one tastes like pale grains and has nowhere near the amount of intense hops as the one i had on tap at winking lizard, and i still believe that it would be impossible for keg and bottle to have such dissimilarities, especially in the hands of the masters at GLBC. finished herbal, fruity, and only mildly bitter, with the same flavors opening up upon nearing room temp, just like the aroma, especially lemon grass.

MF- delicate under medium carbonation makes the juicy body feel lighter than it really is. sticky and slightly coating, perhaps due to uneaten sugars and sap from the plants.

D- in many ways similar, and in many ways worlds apart from whatever i had on tap that day at winking lizard. i should also note that the same bartender tried to pass off dogfish aprihop as sierra nevada brown saison to me and the guy i was sittin next to, giving me all the more reason to believe i was being duped. sorry for underestimating you, great lakes. this one is flavorful and pleasant, not overwhelming in any way, and reveals not a shred of alcohol until, of course, i get up off my springtime ass to get another one.

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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 neenerzig
4.3/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the brewery last night when I went in there to enjoy a BA Blackout Stout. This appears to be another on-tap only "pub exclusive." Saw this beer listed on the board, never have had it or even heard of it before so I of course had to try one after I finished my Blackout. When I asked the bartender what style this beer is he told me a Saison. I think this is a brand new beer they have never made before. It is not even listed anywhere on Great Lakes' website as of now. Served to me in a standard pint glass. This beer is a hazy medium gold color with an amber hue. The white head was about 1/3 inch thick when served, settling very quickly to a thin surface layer with a thin to medium white ring lining the inside of the glass. There was a white film layer in the middle of the surface of the beer that did not extend all the way around the surface of the beer. Weird, never seen a surface layer like this before. Decent to good lacing. Sweet caramel malt aroma with some definite spice along with a hint of fruit. There is also some definite spice, a very distinct spice flavor that heavily reminds me of Sam Adams Summer Ale. I think Great Lakes may have also used Grains Of Paradise in this recipe. There is certainly some chamomile and the taste is rounded out with a trace of citrus hops. Has a crisp, full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Easy to drink. Another good beer from Great Lakes!


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Photo of cabsandking
4.28/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Golden/yellow color and translucent. Sour hop aroma and something hinting at green olives. Fair head reducing to a layer of fine bubbles and a thick ring. Sour notes are heavy in the back of the palate. Fresh wheat, grassy, hay, lemons. In the background is a mild spice distinctly lead by a ginger bite. Thin body with a pleasant medium carbonated mouth, leaving an oily, perfume lemongrass residue behind that is actually appealing. The finish has notes of yeast, wheat crackers, and a floral perfume. The ginger adds a certain sharp astringent that tie the various flavors together. Nicely balanced with sweet malt character.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.27/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, best before 10/6/2009. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours a slightly hazy golden/orange color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The aroma is mostly herbal. I can smell coriander, basil, chamomile, and a bit of grain. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some lemon noticable. The taste is very herbal and earthy overall. Mouthfeel is light/medium, it's creamy and has good, soft carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's very smooth, refreshing, and easy to drink. I can't remember the last time I had a beer (if ever) that's been as heavy on the herbs as this one. If you like herbal beers, then you should like this brew.

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Photo of Caesar024
4.27/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz sample bottle delivered to me by my Great Lakes rep last week. We drank one on the spot and I saved this bottle for myself in my own fridge. Funny, he didn't really need to bring me the sample bottle since I'd already ordered a half barrel of it that morning. But who's complaining?

Into a Brewer's Art Chalice, poured a beautiful golden color with a touch of orange and a solid thumbful of white head which dissipated after a couple minutes leaving a good amount of lacing around the top inch of the glass. Not quite as bright as I'd have expected with noticeable yeast or proteins suspended in the beer.

Smell is a musty mixture of springlike aromas: fresh cut grass, damp earth, and chamomile. Taste is similar with a pronounced fruitiness and spiciness that could be herbal or yeast-based. A touch of musty tartness remains on the back of the tongue after the beer has left.

The high carbonation keeps this beer very alive in the mouth. Add in the aforementioned touch-of-tart and I could see myself quaffing a few of these on a hot summer afternoon. Of course, I should be certain to alternate with lemonade, because otherwise the 6.2% ABV is nearly imperceptible and I'd find myself quickly on the happy road to dehydration.

Another solid beer from Great Lakes Brewing.

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Photo of whitenads
4.25/5  rDev +28.4%

Photo of reedmn
4.25/5  rDev +28.4%

Photo of philhite
4.25/5  rDev +28.4%

Photo of bigdeuce
4.23/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another phenomenal brew by Great Lakes. I just saw this a couple hours ago at a grocery store, had never heard of it, figured it was good, hell, it's a Great Lakes beer. Pours a nice head with all kinds of lacing on my tulip. Very herbal blends of Chamomile, or so the bottle says. Has a tea-like flavor to it, but not too cloying. Says it's 6.2% ABV. It is also a Saison. Has almost a grassy freshness to it, hard to describe. Full mouthfeel and very easy to pour down in front of the BBQ.

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

This was a "Pub Only" Exclusive.


This fine tasting ale is very complex with tasting notes ranging from lemongrass, ginger and orange. Accompanying the bready aftertaste was a pleasant white fruitiness. The beer did look thin but the mouth feel was smooth and consistent. The beer displays more ginger characteristics when served cold but the lemongrass really started to takeover, as the beer got warmer. I would recommend serving this with a lemon cheese cake.

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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 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 Bones54
4.18/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've seen this a few times at GLB and was a little turned off at first by the low ABV. I know its a wrong way to look at it, but the low ABV just made me think this brew was too light for my tastes. However when I tried it I was pleasantly suprised. The lemon grass is very present, but not to powerfull. The ginger comes through nicely and adds a gently spice. Truly a refreshing beer. Its actually become the first beer I'll order if they have it on tap at the brewery. It's a great way to start the night at GLB.

Cheers to you GLB on yet another fine brew!

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Photo of goblue3509
4.15/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orange copper color with a two finger head that stays around. There is good lacing on the beer. The smell is of earth tones and malt. The taste is full bodied and unique. The taste is of earthy hops and a small citrus tone. The taste is almost of grass actually, it is very unique and very good. The mouthfeel is good not very harsh. Overall the drinkability is good. I really enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.13/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Grassroots Ale is a slightly hazy pale yellow ale with a huge, creamy, dense white head that has excellent retention and lacing. It sure smells like a farmhouse. It's funky, with notes of old fruit, barnyard and bret. It's medium bodied and super velvety smooth with a clean finish. It's slightly tart at the beginning of the taste and then it turns smokey. The aftertaste is like bacon. This is a super funky ale.

[Sampled at the 2009 Flower City Brewers' Fest at Frontier Field, Rochester, NY]

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