Great Lakes Green Tea Ale | Great Lakes Brewery

Great Lakes Green Tea AleGreat Lakes Green Tea Ale
Liked This Beer
3.2 w/ 43 ratings
Great Lakes Green Tea AleGreat Lakes Green Tea Ale

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
In our pursuit to bring you the most flavourful and unique beers possible, we are proud to release this tasty spring ale. Handcrafted with specialty malts and hops, we added carefully selected Organic Gunpowder Green Tea and fresh Ontario grown ginseng directly into the brew. Like green leaves sprouting, this beer boasts a refreshing and slightly herbal flavour that pairs well with lobster, pad thai, spring rolls or sesame chicken.

Added by Viggo on 03-04-2009

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 43 |  Reviews: 27
Photo of NightINgale
4.58/5  rDev +43.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The body is cloudy, of orange/straw colour. The off-white head is foamy and has nice retention. The lacing is quite impressive, too.

S: A sweet fruity, moderately hoppy aroma, with notes of pear, apple, ginger, and caramel malts.

T: A unique taste. Starts out sweet, with a lovely pear/apple fruitiness going into a more dry, hoppy green tea flavour. The finish is very balanced, with some lingering green tea notes. Overall, an exceptional complexity for such a light ale!

M: Medium-bodied, surprisingly full for a 4.2% beer.

D: Very easy-drinking and refreshing. The bomber bottle took no time to be drunk. A very impressive seasonal brew! Strongly recommended!

 670 characters

Photo of Derek
3.88/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like green tea, but I hate green tea iced tea & green tea ice cream... so I really didn't have high expectations here. Strangely, I was really pleasantly surprised!

A: Hazy, dirty straw with a white head, some retention, nice lacing.

S: Candied ginger, some fruity esters and hints of green tea.

T: Slightly herbal & spicy with a faint sweetness (fairly balanced bitterness). The green tea isn't overdone, and I'm not sure I'd pick it out without knowing, but it definitely stimulates the umami taste buds. Balanced & interesting.

M: Light to moderate body is smooth and it actually seems a little bigger than it is.

D: Quite drinkable.

I've wondered about getting an Umami taste into a beer, and this one has it! It'd certainly pair well with Thai or Japanese cuisine.

 778 characters

Photo of pootz
3.7/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rerating after last year's diacetyl-laced samples.

Bottle: fresh from brewery.

Pours a light protein hazed light gold ale in the glass. A 2 finger frothy cap laces well.

Aroma is demure light fruity tones over sweet grains and grassiness...delicate pale ale aroma with green tea leafy aromas.

Light bodied, gritty mouth feel.

Dulcet biscuit malts mingle with pear and herbal hops up front, finish is clean, puckering tart with the green tea and hops joining forces. Very refreshing, dry, quenching clean tasting ale. Great for plus 30 weather.

 553 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
3.64/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber picked up at the LCBO; no packaging date. Hopefully this manages to be a bit more inspiring than the somewhat similarly-themed Coors Light Iced T I reviewed a few days ago (although I haven't exactly been blown away by any GLB bomber-format brews).

Pours a bright golden yellow-orange colour, completely translucent, topped with almost two fingers of creamy, pillowy white head. Much better head retention that most of the other beers in this style I have tried; it lasts well over ten minutes before dissolving - I'm honestly pretty amazed. The aroma is agreeable but other than that, has little about it worth noting - the citrus zest is fairly prominent, along with some disappointingly subdued tea notes.

The aroma may be a bit weak, but the taste makes up for that - which is a relief, because at 4.2% I almost expected it to be a little, well, light. Pale, bready malts provide much of the body of the flavour, with a firm lemony citrus bite to back it up. The green tea provides a lovely light bitterness toward the end of the sip, and in the aftertaste. Light-bodied and (unfortunately) rather watery, with heavy, spritzy carbonation. Very drinkable stuff, due to a combination of the mild flavour, light dryness, and low abv.

I actually quite enjoy this beer. It's ridiculously quaffable, and a perfect summer patio pint. One thing I will complain about is the format - this doesn't really need to be in a bomber; tallboys would be fine, although perhaps significantly less elegant.

Final Grade: 3.64, a respectable B grade. I've had 4 or 5 of these GLB bombers now, and Green Tea Ale is definitely one of the better ones. That being said, I'm not exactly enamored with it - and due to the 4-5 dollar price, probably won't get it again any time soon. Something tells me a heavier version of this with more tea infusion might be much more interesting, but this brew remains a highly crisp, refreshing and enjoyable drink, if not an especially memorable or interesting one.

 1,995 characters

Photo of Cycle69
3.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.58/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle from the LCBO Summer release.

Poured into a conical pint glass. Light hazy golden, nice frothy head, good retention and lacing.

Nose is tea, cracker, rice, a bit of lemon.

Cracker, rice, lemon, a bit of green tea (though not oppressively so), and a basic pale lager taste to the finish. A slight fruit or berry makes an appearance towards the end of the pint. It doesn't taste a great deal like green tea, it's still pretty drinkable.

Light, good carbonation, creamy.

While I still await Great Lakes to finally hit the mark with a quality brew, I have to say this one was among their better brews. Although it doesn't taste that much like green tea, the end result is a fairly decent lager with a few hints of tea, which is not bad. So while the brew didn't really achieve what I thought it was going to do, it's not bad as it is.

 851 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.57/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650ml, green foil enclosed bottle. Props to tbeckett for the cross-country enabling...

This beer pours a cloudy medium golden amber colour, with one solid finger of tight foamy eggshell white head, which leaves some random swaths, specks, and clumps of lace around the glass as it dutifully recedes. It smells of bready, cracker-like malt, and warm grassy herbal tea. The taste is big on the green tea, which is weird, given the normally delicate nature of that beverage. It's more earthy than grassy, and the ginseng is very soft in its savoury leanings. Underlying all this is an adequate pale maltiness, that does a good job of supporting without getting in the way. The carbonation is just a little zingy, but nothing too distracting, the body medium-light, and generally smooth. It finishes off-dry, just, the malt able to continue its low-impact support of the lingering spiced green tea character.

It's sometimes strange when the realization hits that all beer flavours don't have to be big and brawny, and that, if done properly, subtly can be winsome as well. I would not have thought this particular adjunct a good idea, but lo, Great Lakes has proven my hypothetical self wrong. Easy drinking, almost 'green' tasting - a decent reproduction of that steeping cup of catechin-laden goodness.

 1,302 characters

Photo of GodOfBeer
3.51/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours light hazy golden colour with a foamy white head that stays for a while and leaves lots of lacing.

Doesn't smell like much, definately ginseng, maybe some green tea, very hard to tell though.

Decent tasting beer, citrusy, herby, a bit of green tea, almost like iced tea, and definately ginseng, starts to taste like red bull or some energy drink after a while(which I don't mind).

This is a nice refreshing beer for a hot day, but it lacks complexity..

 462 characters

Photo of beerhunter13
3.5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of RedAleMan
3.5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of TheBeeraholic
3.5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of ktat
3.5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of KrisDLSmith
3.5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of Molson2000
3.5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of TerryW
3.5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of DaPan
3.5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of andrenaline
3.42/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big ups to peensteen for helping to procure this selection...

A - Pours a pale straw colour, thin layer of head with little retention or lacing.

S - Mild on the nose, quite bready, loads of grassy wheat and buttered bread, with a hint of leafy greens on the finish.

T - Again, rather mild, but the green tea notes come through surprisingly well, offering up the bitter leafy notes attributed to green tea. A hint of honey sweetness which brings along with it flavour reminiscent of traditional iced tea. The bitterness lingers alongside some grassy notes and buttered bread.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and surprisingly dry, which is a bit of a turnoff.

O - A tasty green tea ale, and certainly portrays the true essence of green tea. If you're not a fan of tea, then you might not be a fan of this particular offering. The flavours are mild and non-offensive, making for an easy drinking summer ale.

 903 characters

Photo of bobsy
3.42/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an unfiltered hybrid between orange and gold, with a sticky bone white head that leaves lacing in sheets and lasts the distance. Creamy, malty aroma puts me in the mind of a steam beer, and this isn't dispelled when I get to tasting it. Great Lakes seem to use something very reminiscent of a steam beer as its base. Now I'm not implying this was the process used, but that this is the flavour achieved. Appended to this is a subtle spicy hit of ginseng in the finish, but no green tea. Its a bit of a head scratcher, and a pretty pedestrian one at that. My second pour of the bomber into my 330 ml glass reveals more interest though. No sediment can be observed, but the flavour suggest much of the green tea is resting in the bottom half of the bottle. Strong green tea permeates through the beer, providing a drying bitterness in the finish, and a leafy herbal freshness throughout. Its certainly more unique than I first thought and reminded me of the bottles of cold green tea I purchased in Japan. The mouthfeel is soft with gentle, but steady carbonation caressing the palate.

Its a very well done beer, but I'm not sure I like it. The steam base seems to jive well enough the tea, but by the end of the bomber I've had my fill. This is the problem I've had with green tea - its a drink for moderation, not for splitting over a pint and a bit of liquid. Still, I can't fault Great Lakes for putting this out.

 1,422 characters

Photo of peensteen
3.42/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep golden colour, minimal white head, no lacing left behind. Smell is bready, malt, cereal, ginger, spice tea leaves and a caramel like sweetness. Taste is malty, biscuit like, tea and spice come through, hops come and go, lightly bitter in the finish. High carbonation, medium weight, touches of cream come and go. OK, not my cup of tea (pun intended) though I would not mind splitting a bomber 3 ways every summer like I did this year.

 439 characters

Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.41/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed again July 2/10, brewed May 2010; found to be much better all around on this occasion. Generous beige head starts at three fingers and sticks around, foamy lace with good retention. Hazy orange hue, very lively carbonation on opening.

Taste is dominated by an astringency that weighs in heavily, as one might find in green tea. Lemon-lime flavours jump out at you with flashes of sour fruit. Heightened carbonation imparts a cleansing, refreshing mouthfeel, although the finish is a bit too dry. I have to say I've not a clue how ginseng might taste so I can't say if it comes through or not but there is an herbal feel. This is a good attempt at a curious beer although I found the finish a bit sharp and dull on the pallete.

As indicated on the label, this would go fine with pad thai or similar asian dishes, also would contribute nicely on a hot summer day where some sticky bbq sauces are featured. Thanks to Great Lakes for coming out with products like these, curiosities worth a try and just make a great conversation piece around the patio too.

review 04-07-09

Light orange, tangerine hue, murky. Fleeting off white head, wispy surface, ring, minor lace, lazy carbonation soon went flat. The taste very reminscent of cold tea, not necessarily green tea, astringent bite. Herbal nose reminds me of chamomile or peppermint, not overly pronounced with an earthy musky odour. This is an interesting take on blending green tea and ale, kudos for the brewery for trying it out, but it doesn't quite "click" for me, I think I'll keep those separate from here on in.

 1,582 characters

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.38/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - fully hazy straw golden, two fingers of white head retained nicely with s few random lacing spots
S - citrus zest is dominant, some mild grains, and subtle floral green tea
T - citrus zest and spice up front that is quickly overtaken by green tea flavour, I do like a nice warm green tea but the flavour of the key ingredient seems to take away from the 'beerness' of it
M - medium body and slightly creamy, smooth and mellow with just a bit of herb & spice tingle
O - as a fan of both beer and green tea I think this works generally, just a bit too much tea and not enough beer on the flavour, but still worth a try but only if you like the taste of green tea

 664 characters

Photo of bryehn
3.32/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy, rusty and mango juice-like orange colour with a moderate white head that falls to a collared film without leaving lace.

Very mild aroma. Smells like wet wheat primarily with a honey-like sweetness and an apple or pear juice tone. Starts to smell like brewed green tea and rice after warming.

Tastes like toasted malt, green tea and rice, again with a honey-like sweetness. It's actually quite refreshing and not at all too sweet. Develops a subtle berry-like note as it warms

Thin-bodied with just enough carbonation to give it some life on the tongue. Quite dry in the finish.

My least favourite of the Great Lakes Brewery seasonals and it took a while to grow on me, but for a light beer it does have a lot of taste. Would be a great barbecue session beer, but maybe a bit pricey for that purpose.

 817 characters

Photo of Viggo
3.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from the new 22 oz bottle offering of this, I've had it on tap before. Too bad their beer isn't as good as their labeling.

Pours a clear light orange, some amber/golden hues, thin and fizzy white head forms, big bubbles, quickly settles down to a very thin ring and layer around the glass, some decent chunks of lacing stick to the glass. Smell is strange, some sweet maltiness, caramel and grains, dry herbal ginseng spiciness, a bit of matcha like green tea quality, some fruitiness near the end, pears and apricots, slightly interesting aroma. Taste is neat, lots of tea character, bitter and herbal grains and tea quality, touch of vanilla, vegetal, wheat, some light sweetness like orange peel, very dry and some solid bitterness in the finish, like a strong cup of green tea. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, some warmth going down which doesn't sit right when it's a 4.2% beer. Decent beer, not very interesting though. I give Great Lakes credit for doing some unique beers, but that doesn't mean much to me if they aren't done well.

 1,078 characters

Photo of IBUnit63
3.25/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at the Only...

Pours a moderately lighter-than-expected color into the pint glass...maybe almost a bleached Dunkel...Carbonation is solid; maybe just about a 3/4-finger head. Lacing is moderate as is retention.

There are light malts along with a pretty prominent green tea aroma. Hop profile has a little woody pine to it. Malts are light...not terribly roasted...almost a bit raw and boiled, but that's not a bad thing. A tad stewy though, which gets into the whole silage deal.

Taste profile blends the raw-ish malt with the green tea and goes pretty well. Not overpowering by any means - there's a little synergy going on to enhance the experience. Finish is relatively clean.

After a while the tea texture starts to linger on the roof of your mouth - it's fresh but may get to be a bit much on the palate feel. The remaining components work decently and drink rather lightly, with only minimal aftertaste on the relatively crisp finish.

This drinks adequately well for the first 1/2 pint but slows down a bit with a little warmth and time. I may sample another pint given the chance - an interesting concoction to say the least, but nothing setting the world ablaze.

 1,182 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.23/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Blades of wheat with a smidgen of kumquat. The head is glinty and soapy but continues to diminish less and less in time. The blurring haze (which should be expected from a beer brewed with tea) implies it is not filtered, or at least not heavily. I reckon that's a good thing; how much flavour can green tea and ginseng impart, anyhow? Let's find out!

Well, so far nothing. There is a very faint hint of lime or perhaps some grassiness. It certainly isn't anything I couldn't find in the average pale ale (or lager for that matter). Just a thought: you know what would work well in a green tea, herbal flavoured beer? Green, herbal smelling hops! Anyhow, it seems the volume here isn't just turned down - it's on mute.

If you're going to advertise an interesting sounding beer then you best make sure the beer itself actually tastes interesting - or at very least like the unique ingredients used in making it. I wasn't anticipating the green tea to contribute much flavour, and ginseng I had no idea what to expect, but the lack of either has raised an eyebrow. Never mind the tea itself, there's little even generally herbal about this.

To their credit, the brewers were spot on in asserting this would pair well with typical Asian fare. At only 4.2% it's exactly the right kind of blandish, light-bodied refresher you'd want along side some spicy noodles or sesame chicken. The carbonation is high enough to work well with greasier items on the menu, spring rolls among other things. I'd assume a little Thai food (or Chinese, Vietnamese, etc) would compliment the experience.

I appreciate Great Lakes' constant attempts at brewing creative beers. Their seasonal offerings have quickly become a point of anticipation for many in the province. Sadly, however, they've yet to ever be very good. This is another respectable sounding attempt at something different that turns out to be shamelessly like everything else on the market.

*Note to Great Lakes Brewing: In the future, please don't advertise a beer as being something unique unless it actually is. It may be an effective way of selling the essentially same pale ale again and again but it's unappreciated by those of us who actually pay the money to try something different in such a painfully bland market.

 2,275 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Great Lakes Green Tea Ale from Great Lakes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.7% out of 100 with 43 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.