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 Hacksaw99
1/5  rDev -69.8%

Photo of twonder23
1/5  rDev -69.8%

Photo of clange02
1/5  rDev -69.8%

Photo of Brownsfan13
1/5  rDev -69.8%

Photo of mymrnngjckt
1.12/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

An initial thanks go to number1bum for this beer. Though after drinking it I hate him.

The appearance is the only redeaming quality of this beer. A nice light golden color.

The smell was god-awful. It smelled of wet, old corn. Their were no herbs in this smell or taste for that matter.

Taste was worse than the smell. I actually couldn't get the after taste out of my mouth for an hour after drinking this terrible beer. The taste was that of a birch tree.

See my comment about not getting the taste out of my mouth. The mouth feel lingers and is not a positive linger.

I would never drink this beer again. In fact, if I saw it in a store, I would leave the store never to return.

Terrible beer. Just terrible.

 717 characters

Photo of deedubb
1.28/5  rDev -61.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I am brand spanking new here, and I do not feel truely qualified to rate a beer. I hesitated in doing so because I did not want my novice opinion to throw the curve off. However, I cannot restrain myself with this abomination.

First of all, I am a GLBC fan. I love their Burning River, Elliot Ness, and other brews. I was extremely impressed by the Christmas Ale, and should have bought more when I could! This brewery spoiled me immediatly with the fact that their beers are readily available here in the central Ohio area, and they are just excellent.

I waited for what seemed forever for this beer to arrive at my local dealer. While waiting I tried Sierra Nevada's Summerfest, and Bells Oberon. Ahh, summer beers are here! Both of these beers flat-out hit the mark in my opinion. I expected the Grassroots to do the same. Now, I know there are some serious differences between all three of these brews, but I expected it to at least taste "refreshing". Uh, no.

I picked up a sixer the day Grassroots arrived. I was giddy with excitement for some reason. I guess I am going through a phase. Anyways, to the refrigerator it went for about 5 hours. I could not wait to try this new brew. I pulled one out of the refrigerator and popped the cap. I then poured it into a regular pint glass. It was then that noticed the offending odor. It smelled exactly like scrapings from the underside of my mower deck...3 days after I mowed. Strange, but I kept an open mind. Upon raising the glass to take the first drink I found my nose under the mower deck again. I had to put the glass down at this point. Finally I took a gulp. Mind you, it almost was rejected my my esophagus. This process went on for a few more sips. Fast forward 30 minutes and I was holding my nose to get it down. It had an overwhelming taste of asparagus of all things. I thought I was crazy. I thought maybe I did not have what it takes to enjoy a good brew.

The next day I returned to the store that I purchased the Grassroots. To cut to the chase, I was directed to Saison Dupont. That evening I was introduced to a real farmhouse beer. It had as much in common with Grassroots as a machine gun does with a spit wad. I was so confused by the Grassroots brew that I emailed GLBC with my concerns, something I had never done with any other beer. Three or four days later I received a professional and personal email from an area manager. She explained what a farmhouse ale was, and appeared to think I was expecting something else. She in fact mentioned Saison Dupont. She really seemed to be surprised that I did not like this beer. It led me to believe that maybe a "bad batch" got out, and offered to send her my remaining bottles. Over several emails she continued to be genuinally concerned of my findings, and I was very impressed. I explained to her the fact that I felt silly for even contacting them in the first place. I provided a batch number and have not heard back at this point.

With these reviews ranging from A to F, I am still confused. I know several other beer "snobs" who have tried this and have come to the same conclusion; it is a terrible drink.

Do your self a favor and go in on a six pack with your buddies if you plan on trying it for yourself. Personally I will never, ever drink this beer again.

Will I continue to buy GLBC brews? Absolutely. I hope they fix whatever is wrong with this beer and wow me in the right way next time.

 3,436 characters

Photo of gordavidson
1.38/5  rDev -58.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A- A yellow liquid with a lot of floaters. The head is thin.

S- Cooked asparagus with pepper. That's it. Gross.

T- Overly cooked asparagus in water with pepper, grass, and butter. Overly sweet. I can't find anything enjoyable about this.

M- A nice amount of carbonation.

D- My first drainpour. Honestly, I can find nothing redeeming about this.

 348 characters

Photo of ceeman
1.42/5  rDev -57.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Let me start this by saying that I love all of GL's beers and appreciatte their quality and price. Now that I have that out of the way.

The smell was very sulfurous. Smelled like bad eggs.

Taste was more of the same with a surprising cooked spinach taste also. Aftertaste was also quite disturbingleaving a lingering vegetable taste.

I bought a sixer of this beer but could only stomach four of them. I don't know if the beer intended to taste like this, but even GL makes a mistake every once in a while.

 508 characters

Photo of vinneef
1.46/5  rDev -55.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Not worth drinking.Horrible.Herbs dominate in a bad way.Stay away.I generally like Great Lakes products and this style of beer.This was not worth bottling for them.They should have known better.I like that they tried a diiferent style though.Next time ,just make it something enjoyable.

 286 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
1.5/5  rDev -54.7%

Photo of kbnooshay
1.8/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This poured hazy golden color with tons of shit floating around. The aroma is certainly Belgian like but with an herbal weirdness to it. The flavor is of corn, hay, fresh cut lawn, earthy, and mustiness. The feel is alright but it doesn't matter at this point. I rarely drain pour. I only do it when the beer is foul. But this is a DRAIN POURRR!!!

What the hell happened here? This lawn mower juice should not reach the lips of even my worst of enemies.

Because great lakes is in my top 5 breweries i can forgive them because they rock.

But wtf?

 550 characters

Photo of BMoney575
1.88/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Sampled on 5-30-09
Best before 10-21-09

Pours a very cloudy light orange, with a filmy white head and thin chunks of lacing.

Smell is slightly Belgian with lots of spices, coriander jumps right out. A little citrus is there, along with just a hint of sourness.

Taste is gross, Thick and slightly sour, it tastes like it's actually spoiled. Extremely bready with lots of vegetable flavors, it's all I can do to keep it down.

Mouthfeel is super thick and not helpful.

Drinkability is terrible; see taste.

Overall, avoid at all costs, no matter how curious you are.

 568 characters

Photo of Rudgers73
1.94/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Bough a sixer on sale for $6.99.

Pours a light golden color with a touch of cloudiness. Small head that fades quickly. Aroma is sweet and biscuity like a standard saison, but then comes the faint herbal smell. I think it's the chamomile. Taste is also decent except for that same overwhelming herbal taste.

Now, I know this beer is supposed to have all the herbs in it that I can taste, but the honestly just don't work for me. I think it is the fact that there are too many herbs. It is like a decent saison mixed with herbal tea from a health food store.

Interesting concept, but my taste buds think that is tastes terrible.

 631 characters

Photo of UltraZelda64
1.99/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Wow. I have been craving beer for a while now, and recently saw two Great Lakes beers I never had before, both limited, so I decided to get some: Glockenspiel (some good stuff) and this, Grassroots Ale. I figured, it's Great Lakes... they have yet to *really* put me down, so I bought a 12-pack of Grassroots Ale (partially because of Glockenspiel's high alcohol content and the fact that it's only available in an expensive four-pack).

Anyway, the appearance... it doesn't look great; a clear, washed-out yellow color with a small white head.

As for the aroma it's grassy, weedy, vegetable-like, etc. Not very appealing, but different from anything I've smelled before. I'm not impressed, but whatever... I guess I'll taste it and give it a try.

Its taste is, unfortunately, just like the smell... only worse. Strong weedy, grassy, and vegetable-like flavors are all at the forefront, all fighting for dominance... and all seeming to just be offensive. Now, it's a few days since I first tried this, and I'm finally reaching the end of the 12-pack. I realize that, while the base beer (in typical Great Lakes fashion) is excellent and would be good on its own, all these grasses and weeds just kill it. Didn't this replace Moondog Ale in bottles? I admit didn't care much for that one (ESB is just not my style), but after trying this, a Moondog sounds damn good right now... and I'll probably know better next time to stay away from anything that says "Saison" on the package.

The drinkability, on the other hand, is the tough part. The first two or three beers have me struggling to even continue. However, possibly due to the alcohol content (6% ABV), or maybe just because the "offensive" tastes start to get weaker... by the third or fourth beer, it's tolerable. Still, almost any "decent" beer is probably drinkable after having a few, and Grassroots is (like any GLBC beer) not cheap, so I'm having a hard time justifying drinking this beer at all.

And to finish this review off: The mouthfeel is pretty decent; not watery, and not heavy. Just about average.

Conclusion: I won't be getting this again. Hopefully this is short-lived and Great Lakes puts out a better seasonal in its place.

 2,202 characters

Photo of cynical1027
2/5  rDev -39.6%

Photo of bjadams688
2/5  rDev -39.6%

Photo of ej285701
2/5  rDev -39.6%

Photo of Fast4amoose
2/5  rDev -39.6%

Photo of wafers
2/5  rDev -39.6%

Photo of hossua34
2.02/5  rDev -39%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

I love Great Lakes. But having read very mixed reviews of this beer, I had been deliberately avoiding buying a six-pack. The other day, my buddy asked me to stop at a gas station so he could pick up some brew. He emerged with a sixer of Grassroots, having never tried it himself. So I got my chance to taste it.

If this truly is a love-it-or-hate-it beer, put me down in the "hate it" column.

Appearance is the best part of this beer. It's a light dandelion yellow, and cloudy like a Hefeweizen although maybe not SO cloudy. Not lacking in head or lacing.

It smells - no joke - like baked beans and deviled eggs. There is a slight generic beer smell, but the scent mostly brought to mind all of the offensive odors I remember coming from picnic baskets, and my grandmother's house, during childhood. I'm sure it could smell worse, but I'm not sure how.

It doesn't taste exactly like it smells, but the egg salad scent still made me want to gag when taking a sip. Tastes like a (very) light Belgian white with grass clippings and a tiny bit of spice thrown in. Not offensive, but by no means good.

Mouthfeel was fine. Not watery, not too thick, holds carbonation like the better Great Lakes beers.

Drinkability? Well... it's not undrinkable in the traditional sense (as in, it isn't too filling, too alcoholic or rough on the stomach or palate). I just couldn't keep drinking it because I didn't enjoy it. I'm not joking when I say the memory of the egg salad-picnic basket smell lingered in my mind; and it made going back for another seem mightly unappealing.

After I drank a bottle and my friend drank a bottle, neither one of use felt particularly like going back for another, and we had some Bass pale ale left in the fridge so we went for that instead. There are still four bottles sitting in my fridge, and I think I'm going to give them away to see what other people think. I've had an enjoyed Hennepin before so I don't think I'm ready to give up on Saisons, but this Grassroots Ale was not my thing whatsoever. Do yourself a favor: try before you buy.

 2,069 characters

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.

 1,016 characters

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.

 1,055 characters

Photo of becktone
2.19/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

From notes 9-1-09

Eye: It might not smell right, but at least it looks ok. Hazy lemon yellow with active carbonation that supports a small white head, about a third of a finger. Head could be better. Given any other beer it might look ok, but given the aroma the way it looks isn't all that appealing.

Nose: This is not the first occassion I've drank Grassroots. To begin with this beer has some saison yeast aroma, however as soon as you detect it its covered up by the hodgepodge of green garden aroma that comes from this beer. This beer smells nothing like a saison, and is an abomination of the style. Usually these type of beers are spiced a bit, not herbed. This is over the top with herbs. I mean it smells like grassroots...the beer is aptly named, at least they got something right. Usually GLBC don't let down. This is the first time I've been disappointed with them, totally missed the mark.

Tongue: Spiciness from the yeast is great it hits you upfront, but then enter the garden. The whole thing just tastes like a salad. No wait, I like salad. It tastes like freshly dug up roots of some unknown plant that isn't favorable to be eaten that have been chopped up in a food processor. Oh yeah, I forgot the dirt, throw that in too. I mean it starts fine with the nice yeast character and great malt backbone but all these herbs just kill it. This would have been a nice beer had they not fucked with it and threw in all that garbage. A big let down.

Feel and Drinkability: Feel is alright, carbonation is stylistically ok. This is one that I really don't enjoy, I'm going to finish it cause its not bad enough to be a drain pour. But since the first time I tasted this beer I have not bought it. I am glad I have not bought it and I never will. I came by every taste of this for free, I came by this bottle for free. I could not and will not buy a sixer of this. Infact, I hope that this beer will never be released again, it is such a terrible beer. I will drink the rest of this but I'll definitely not be enjoying it, I'll be trying to find some sliver of hope in this beer, something good that far its the yeast character that does make it through for a split second, other than that...well nothing. This is an abomination, steer clear of this. I don't recommend it to anyone. Go for Hennepin or better yet Fantome.

 2,350 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
2.21/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured into a tulip.

Pours a hazy yellow color with a bit of a light apricot hue. White head that doesn't persist for long. The nose is...whoa. There is a lot going on. It's all a bit too much and I don't think everything comes together at all. I get some lemon, tea, flowers, chamomile, grass, and a bit of grain. The taste worsens this as there is a weird sort of bitterness from all these earthy, plant-like flavors. Feel is a bit astringent. In the end, I really did not enjoy this.

 508 characters

Photo of nowise
2.22/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

I think I am missing something about this one. I have enjoyed a good saison before (Hennepin), and I am a die hard Great Lakes fan, but something about this one just seems off.

The first thing I smell when opening the bottle is sulfurish burned hair/egg aroma. Not good. I don't recall smelling this from any other saison but maybe its just the strain of 'funk' that they use on this one. The taste follows suit with a big burned hair taste up front followed by the grains and herbs. I can taste the goodness down below but I can't make it past the sulfur. I poured almost 1/2 a glass down the drain :(

The rest of the 6 pack is going in the basement to age out a bit. I noticed that it was bottle conditioned so I am hoping that a few weeks in the cellar will improve things greatly, at which time I will revisit my review.

 827 characters

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