Great Lakes Grassroots Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Grassroots AleGreat Lakes Grassroots Ale
236 Ratings
Great Lakes Grassroots AleGreat Lakes Grassroots 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:
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Ratings: 236 |  Reviews: 177
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 giblet
3.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured ok into the glass. surprisingly little head maybe one quarter inch that settled quickly. good steady carbonation. golden green color. smells of grassy lemon. or is that lemon grass. taste is much the same, not over powering on the spice which is good. i think this beer would do well to age about 4 - 6 weeks. a different beer and very drinkable.

suckem up and movem out.


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

I'm a big fan of most of the beers from Great Lakes Brewing Company, so I picked up a bottle of this at our local beer store.

A - Pours golden and slightly cloudy with a short white head that faded to lacing before I had finished the beer.

S - Smells strongly of spices: cloves and coriander come to the front here.

T - Spices! Lots of spices! Coriander is a bit dominant here, with other herbal notes. There's an underlying toastiness here as well. The beer finishes sweet, with a little residual hop bitterness. I think the spices are a bit overdone here: they overwhelm a lot of the yeast-derived flavors in this beer.

M - Medium bodied and highly carbonated.

D - A decent saison, but a bit too much spice for me.

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Photo of Brew33
2.99/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 6 pack of the GLBC offering. This is a good beer. Very fragrant with an almost tea like finish. Strong yeast presence. Nice peach color. There are a lot of herbs going on here, it's a busy beer. The taste was good, not great. Very floral and earthy.

Sorry, I know this review is a mess but this is a tough beer to describe. I've never had anything quite like this. Another solid offering from GLBC but not something I'm inclined to buy a bunch of.

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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 riversider76
3.88/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy golden orange with a thin head. Some retention and a good amount of laceing. Aroma is of earthy herbs and spices. Body is on the light side of medium with some carbonation. Chamomile really comes through in the taste. A bit of underlying smokeyness is there to. Spicey finish. Complex flavor,but really good!

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.58/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to JDV for the in-town freebie! 12oz bottle into a DFH off-centered pint glass. Listed at 6.2% ABV; best by 10-06-09.

Grassroots pours a slightly murky, peach-blond body with an excellently retained veil of foam. Head is eggshell white and leaves behind some nice lacing . Decent aroma, with big floral notes of clover and chamomile backed by cinnamon, cereal malt, and a hint of barnyard funk.

Flavor starts off light and crisp, with crystal malts and honey-soaked biscuits. Toasted cereal grains give way to a kiss of floral hops, clover, and some light funk from the yeast. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body, with a lively carbonation level that brings out some vegetal flavors like squash and bean sprout. All in all, a decent US-brewed Saision, but it doesn't hold a flame to the Belgian varieties.

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

This beer is no longer just a pub exclusive, it is now available in bottles.

A: Pours a hazy golden/orange color. Provides a small off-white foam head. Provides minimal to no lacing.

S: Lots of spice (coriander) hits the nose first, followed by a lemon zest, chamomile and some bready/wheat scents.

T: Very clean and very crisp, with a nice spice to it, but with a refreshing lemon zest on the back end.

M: Leaves a dry, crisp and clean taste on the palate. Quite nice. The lemon gives it just a slight tart flavor, but nothing overpowering.

D: An excellent summer beer, perfect of mowing lawns, not real heavy and easy to drink.

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

This is my first saison and I must say I'm not disappointed. However, my bottle did say that it is 6.2% ABV as opposed to the 5.6 listed here.

Appearance: Pours the color of a ripe grapefruit and it's a little cloudy and there are tiny bits of sediment floating throughout - not chunks, mind you, just tiny pieces of sediment; nice 1.5 finger head that is fluffy and nearly perfectly white; very mild carbonation is present throughout the body and there is a thin oily lacing.

Smell: A little bit like vegetables and some sweet fruits (like grapes) are coming through the nose as well; a little bit of a tea-like scent is kind hiding in there as well (from the chamomile?) and there is a strong presence of yeast as well.

Taste: A bit of a steam vegetable flavor is indeed present, but gives way quickly to the grape-like sweetness; a strong yeast presence as well gives it a nice bready balance; a bit of a malty sweetness begins to come through as it warms a bit and so do the spices (specifically I would say the coriander).

Mouthfeel: Very livey as the carbonation is much more present in the feel than it is in the appearance - there is also a very nice clean and dry finish to it that leaves one wanting to drink more.

Drinkability: Moderately high. A very nice beer to relax with and it would be great to sit outside on a warm day and get through several. The ABV isn't mostrous so it's definitely do-able.

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Photo of donteatpoop
3.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy gold color, looks more fogged than hazy. No real head to speak of, at least none that lasted.

Smells very wheaty and yeasty. Bit funky to boot.

The taste is interesting... Different. Surprising, much more full bodied than the scent. The wheat and yeast are present, but also a light black pepper and spice taste. There's definately an underlying chamomile taste. The lemon grass comes in as an after taste, almost like the beer said "oh yeah, shit. I almost forgot. Here's some lemon grass".

The beer is thick and slimey in the mouth. Not at all pleasant for a mouth feel. The yeast is heavy, it feels as though I could pour this beer out on the counter and make a loaf of bread from it.

Strange brew.

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Photo of schenked
3.75/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was very happy to see a saison offering from Great Lakes. A golden color, fairly clear. Very herbal, definitely pick up the chamomile. I am glad to see more saisons available in six-packs, and this is a good warm weather beer. It is no Fanthom, but what is? I will probably have this of New Holland Golden Cap in my fridge all summer (along with Oberon, of course).

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Photo of IBUnit63
3.97/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. purchased @ Premier Gourmet in Buffalo with a BBD of 10/14/2009. Into an Ommegang chalice it goes...

Pours a cloudy light natural honey color that's rather flat - only a couple of yeast wisps up top. Looks like a classical, old-world Saison - maybe a little flatter.

There's a fair amount of raw grain and wheat electricity. Something else a little fragrant...oh yeah...the chamomile. Definitely there and a little earthy...maybe even a little bit of cigarette ashes that's a little strange. Very wheaty and yeasty.

This is OK but that raw burnt grain taste is a little strange. Definitely electric from the wheat and saison yeast. Maybe even a little sweeter - less dry than the average bear. Maybe the FG on this is a bit higher than classical saisons. Who knows - it's still solid. Maybe that taste is some spent basil per the label?

It may not be as dry as a regular saison but after it warms up it's still quite dry...just with a heftier feel. Latent carbonation shows up on the palate along with a light to moderately-viscous honey feel and some strong wheat and yeast electricity. Finish is robust and spritely.

This isn't yo mammy's Saison but it's a pretty decent pour. If I had this around regularly I'd have this around regularly.

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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 emerge077
3.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours golden into a Duvel tulip. A finger of foam rises and falls leaving a spattered skim on the surface. The chamomile is jarring at first, also sulfuric and funky in a spoiled sense. I'm used to inhaling odd smells from lambic, but this just seemed off. The stank fades away after 5-10 minutes, and becomes more earthy and herbal. Garden flavors, green vegetables like squash, celery, rosemary, herbs, and earth. Wet and medium bodied, not dry like Belgian Saisons, but not bad. Very earthy and spring-like character, Grassroots is the perfect name for it.

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Photo of flexinwext
2.61/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had to try this new offering from Great Lakes. Some floaties and a little hazy. Two finger head that dissipated rather quickly. Sweet lemon zest smell and some kind of citrus. Amber color. Interesting taste, haven't had many saisons before and this had a sweet almost peppery taste. Semi thick but not at all off-putting. This isn't my favorite style and not one of my favorites from Great Lakes.

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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.

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Photo of bowersdm
3.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass

A - golden amber color with a 1cm white head

S - lemon, spice, grass, corn silk and a slight funk...I have no idea where the funk is coming from.

T - grassy, citrusy and dry throughout. lemon, more cornsilk and a touch of bitterness from lemon zest. also, when it's not overly dry, but I in no way would consider it sweet.

M - light body adequate carbonation.

D - i still don't like saisons.

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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 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 endincolorado
3.78/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Hazy orange amber with cream white head. Nice lace

Smell- Crisp grainy malt. Some earthiness. Light fruit. Interesting herbal aromas include chamomile, and some basil.

Taste- Nice crisp, bready malt flavor. Herbal flavors are just right and complement the malt nicely. Some lemon and chamomile. Quite refreshing. Leaves a pleasant, slightly hoppy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Medium body. Almost creamy. Great carbonation.

Drinkability- Quite refreshing. Herbal flavors could become overpowering after couple.

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Photo of hopdog
3.92/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler acquired in trade with goryshkewych (thanks!).

Poured a medium and slightly hazy golden color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of ginger (but not over powering), bready, herbal, grass, and some citrus. Tastes of ginger, citrus, a little fruity (bananas), and spices.

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Photo of imaguitargod
2.6/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Ended up at the local brewery for Cleveland...Great Lakes! I noticed a new brew they had on tap which they've never brewed before, Hale Ale. This was a really nice attempt at a Saison ale. Light golden in color, mild/medium head with a slight lacing. Very subtle sweetness and no hops detected by my taste buds. A small barnyard funk comes in on the aftertaste that's comparable to a slight dryness. After a full pint I found myself not wanting another one, but it was a good attempt...some aging might do it good.

Jonathan Passow

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

I had this on tap at the brewpub with dinner last night. The pub description was "light ale spiced with ginger and lemongrass", and for some reason I thought it would be a saison. But the wheat haze was easily visible in the beer when it was served so I guess I then thought this was a version of a wit. Not sure... Anyway the aroma and flavor of ginger is hard to miss, not really overpowering but not extremely pleasant in a beer. The lemongrass is OK but with ginger a little tends to go a long way. I had a hard time detecting other flavors, and it diminished the drinkability quite a bit for me. I won't try it again but it was an interesting recipe.

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