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). You can’t really tell much of a difference between it and an average macro lager aside from its slightly creamy texture. Not that it’s a terrible beer, but there isn’t a lot to appreciate about it.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I poured a 12oz can into a nonic pint glass. Genny 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, but not enough to be inviting.
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 ale style, 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, Genny 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.
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 is a good alternative to your average macro adjunct lager based on drinkability alone. 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.