Genesee Cream Ale Beer Review

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A lot of regions have one beer they’re known for, but not necessarily for a good reason. Genesee Cream Ale is a rather famous brew from Rochester, New York, mostly because it was one of the originators of its style (and one of the few remaining).

The Genesee Brewing Company has been brewing its signature beer since 1960 and it has its fans among beer drinkers seeking a dry light beer.

The brewery says the beer is fermented cold like a traditional lager but with an ale yeast, creating a crisp finish and a touch of sweetness.

You can’t really tell much of a difference between this Genesee Brewery flagship beer and an average macro lager aside from its slightly creamy texture.

That said though, drank cold at a sporting event or picnic it is a passable and well priced lager.

Genesee Cream Ale : Appearance & Aroma

Genesee Cream Ale forms a huge frothy head upon a vigorous pour which eventually settles down to a nice two-finger layer of rocky foam.

The body is almost identical to any macro pale lager with a straw color which is extremely clear and bubbly. The carbonation calms down quickly, as does the head, but it does leave some impressive lacing on the glass.

The aroma has a familiar generic “beer” smell of grain and corn. I don’t get any hops or malts at all. There’s something of a faint sweetness as well.

Genesee Cream Ale : Taste

In a blind taste test there’s a pretty good chance I might not be able to distinguish Genny Cream Ale from any generic macro lager.

It tastes pretty much the same with a slightly sweet taste of corn followed by a mélange of grain. It’s not off-putting the way many of the “budget beers” tend to be, and the sweetness of the corn is complemented by a light creamy sweetness as well.

Not being an expert on the cream ales, I can’t tell you if there’s any actual cream used in the brewing process (none of the websites I researched mentioned cream being used), but there’s definitely a sweetness present here that you only get in cream.

Drank cold, Genesee Cream Ale is very refreshing even though the palate doesn’t really impress me. As it warms it takes on a bit of a metallic tang and the corn presence becomes more prominent. It’s easy to tolerate and it doesn’t repulse me, but in the end it’s just a neutral-tasting beer.

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Genesee Cream Ale : Drinkability

I’ve often thought the major detriment to macro adjunct lagers is their harsh edge that is overly-carbonated and tends to wreck havoc on the palate. With Genny Cream Ale it’s like drinking one of those beers but with an extremely smooth finish. There’s definitely a slightly creamy texture to the body which helps explain why it’s so smooth and soft in the mouth. It goes down easily and can be chugged or gulped without any problems.

At 5.2% ABV this is a totally average beer in terms of potency, approaching “light.” It can be sessioned under the proper circumstances (i.e. picnics, sporting events, and other venues with food on hand), but even then it would be more of a generic beverage than something to truly savor.

Genesee Cream Ale Calories and Nutrition

Genesee Cream Ale has 160 calories in a 12oz bottle or can. That’s typical for a lager of this type and is about 50% higher than a light beer such as Coors Light or Michelob Ultra.

It is also relatively high in carbohydrates with 14g per 12oz serving. It also has 1.1g of protein.

Genesee Brewery Branding

Cream ale is rare in that it is one of the few beer styles that originated in the US . Genesee Cream Ale was one of the first examples of this type of beer to hit the market – so it is a true American original. Upon its release, it soon attracted popularity and became the New York based Genesee Brewery’s flagship beer.

It has remained a relatively popular beer since then and in that period it has won numerous awards.

For a six-year period in the 70s and 80s it was the best-selling domestically produced ale in the US.

The Genesee Brewing Company revamped its packaging in 2022 with a more modern look with the green can and white writing.

Genesee Cream Ale Ratings

Here’s how some of the leading beer review sites view this Genesee Brewery beer.

Untappd3.02 out of 5
Ratebeer2.36 out of 5
Beer Advocate71 (okay)
Average2.96 out of 5

Genesee Cream Ale : Final Thoughts

Genesee Cream Ale is a good alternative to your average macro adjunct lager based on drinkability alone. It’s not a terrible beer.

It’s also extremely thrifty as it’s cheaper than “The Big 3” where I live. It might make a good stepping-stone for BMC drinkers into craft beer, but beer nerds aren’t likely to find much to appreciate here.

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Carla Lauter was the founder of The Beer Babe and has been a beer blogger and expert for several decades. She's been interviewed in beer publications and podcasts about her favorite brews and the craft brewing scene. While she's ceased her involvement with The Beer Babe, her legacy remains in the various reviews and articles she has written.