Happy Heron Pale Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Happy Heron Pale AleHappy Heron Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

198 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 198
Reviews: 95
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 13.92%
Wants: 3
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-22-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 198 | Reviews: 95
Reviews by hu5om:
More User Reviews:
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.62/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up on a recent visit to Madison at Riley's. The fun happy cartoon heron on the label of this 12oz longneck cracks me up. Pours into my glass a vibrant amber orange with great clarity. Half inch of light bubbly white head greets me. Aromas of caramel drizzled bread alongside a nice mix of fruity scents. Citrusy, herbal hops sit in the background. An interesting aroma for a pale ale here.

First sip brings a caramel dipped toasted bread maltiness, slightly doughy with light fruity aspects as well. Herbal, slightly citric hops fall in with a mellow added bitterness on the way down. Finishes with a lingering toasty flavor. An alright APA, but I could use a bit more hoppiness as it just failed to grab me.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with tight bubbled carbonation. Goes down smooth and refreshing, but a bit too arid. Overall, a drinkable APA, but not one I would actively seek out.

Photo of Billolick
4.03/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap thanks to super hospitality man Randy Shukar, this one pours pretty typical almond amber, with a slight greenish trace, clear, under a nice long lasting fine bubble head, that leaves copiousness amounts of sticky lacing and strewn sheeting. Judicious snout of resiny hops, this is a pleasurable, easy drinking, balanced, moderately hopped quaffer. Respectable sessioner

Photo of zook74
2.94/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 4


That about sums it up. This was my first beer from Central Waters and I'm not very impressed.

Not a horrible beer. Good color. Good head. Good aroma. That's about it, though.

The beer is very thin and not very flavorful. I gave it a good drinkability score simply because it's light enough that if, if you wanted to, you could burn through a sixer pretty quick.

Definitely not a beer I could recommend, but had enough going for it that I'd be willing to try other offerings from Central Waters...

Photo of pat61
3.92/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From taste notes. Appearance: Pours gold with a slight chill haze that becomes brilliant as the beer warms. Has a very finely bubbled 1” white foam cap. Smell: faint malt and hops, traces of fruit. Taste: Light fruit – plum or peach – light malt, the major impression is the light fruit that carries throughout and then there is a mild, lingering hop in the finish. Mouthfeel: Medium to medium light body, medium carbonation, very creamy Overall: a very pleasant and drinkable beer but could use some more hop to balance.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.3/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a crystal clear golden copper colored body which is darker than most pale ales. There is a tiny carbonation and a creamy oatmeal colored head that last a good while.

S- This beer has a light toasted malt and pale malt aroma that is fresh and increases as the glass gets emptied. There is a nice green pine hop note in the finish.

T- This beer has a slight sweet big toasted malt flavor with a hint of biscuit malt in the background. The malt flavor fades into a earthy green hop flavor and then a bitter bite at the finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with the fizz really filling it out.

D- This beer has big malt flavors with a nice balance of hop flavor and hop bite. All three aspects are balanced and bold yet still making this beer very drinkable.

Photo of cokes
3.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a opaque yellow-orange with plenty of sediment floating around. Bizzarre looking and it calls into question the age of this bottle. Since CW decided not to mark mine.
Musty floral hops and toasted crusty bread on the nose.
Starts with some of aforementioned toasted bready notes. Some dried date-like fruitiness as well as some hints of carmel. Pretty nice malt profile thus far. Somewhat grassy, floral hops enter towards the finish and do their thing.
After the glass is half-empty, (not half full...because I am definately pessimistic about this..) the entire malt flavor profile does a vanishing act. All that is left is hints of dough and the hops. Weird and unpleasant.
Medium bodied, decent carbonation.
Could have been a very solid APA, but falls apart. I'll try this again when I can be sure to have a fresh batch.

Photo of Sammy
3.4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Yellow pale but good amount of lace. Astringent in mouth dry finish. Passable pale bitter. Apple juicy taste. Quite drinkable.Understated English style carbonation. Unknown ABV but I guess it to be close to 6%. Some like it, not bad. Thank you again JPM30.

Photo of pmcadamis
3.82/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Marigold-copper colored brew with a small off-white head (with a slightly yellow tint) and lots of really finely-bubbled lace.

S - Pineapple, mango, and grapefruit over a biscuity base note. Caramel and honey.

T - Sweet and bready at first, moving towards grapefruity dryness at the finish.

M - Light-medium in body with a lingering dry and tangy finish that I really like.

A very sessionable and summery pale ale. Fruity and somewhat light for the style. Tasty stuff.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.08/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Central Waters' Happy Heron pours a clear deep gold body beneath a massive head of rocky off-white foam. The head retention is excellent, as is the lacing.

In the nose it delivers a soft fruitiness over a pleasant combination of very lightly sweet and grainy malt and floral and grassy hops.

In the mouth it's medium-full bodied and smooth, almost creamy.

The flavor is as the nose suggests but with a bit more citrusy hop character, and a little more yeasty fruitiness (mainly soft apple). The quality of the grain shows, and it's nicely biscuity with a soft caramel edge. It finishes dry with some grassy notes and a lingering tea-like flavor.

Overall it's a full flavored and well-balanced brew. The clarity, head retention, and lacing also tell me that it's well-brewed with a lot of care. Very drinkable and well worth trying.

Photo of dirtylou
3.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

split with some asshole, who I believe goes by blackie on this site

appearance: pours a pale amber with a bubbly beige head and significant lacing...beer is see through, a little pale for the style in my opinion

smell: quite earthy, mildy floral hops, kind of grainy aromas, slightly biscuity

taste: not that great, a little chalky, malts are more prominent than the hops, which is not too my liking...a little grassy, slightly biscuit like

mouthfeel: a dry hoppy finish, moderate body

drinkability: drinkable but not that great

Photo of tempest
3.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a bottle from Princeton Liquors. The label says the bottle is from April and it certainly tastes fresh. There really isn't a whole lot to say about it. There's a smooth caramel malt profile that reminds me of an amber German lager. There's a balanced kick of citrus hops, but it's a dull bitterness. This isn't a bad beer, but I wouldn't try it again.

Photo of Kegatron
3.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, topped with a finger of foamy eggshell-colored head. This stays fairly frothy, with a thin creamy layer that flares nearly flares back up to a full finger and leaves back some heavy lacing that hangs on the sides of the glass in sticky swathes. The aroma is grassy and leafy smelling with some bitter fruit and spice present. Malts fill out the back of the nose with a rather pronounced toasted graininess.

The taste has a moderate bitterness to it that prickles the tongue with citric fruit and rind. Splashes of pale malts here are luckily more sweet than grainy and offer up just enough balance to the profile. Bitter and spicy dry finish on this. The mouthfeel is light-medium bodied, with an easy crispness that helps bring out the hops yet still stays pretty smooth in the mouth overall.

This was OK. I liked what was there but this lacked a certain pop to it that would have helped take this to the next level. I'd be willing to reinvestigate in the future with a fresher bottle.

Photo of kartoffel
3.4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From bottle and in a glass. This beer needs to go in a glass. While great out of a bottle on a summer day. Put in a glass is well worth the trouble.

For calling itself a pale ale it's really an IPA in my mouth. I'm pretty sensitive to bitterness, as a super-taster so they say, but on the bottle it says "sharp bitterness missing from many domestic pale ales". I personally wouldn't characterize a pale ale as having a sharp bitterness. It's nothing like a Sierra Nevada or moon man which are what I would call excellent examples of great however non-extraordinary pale ales. If you want something in between a pale ale and IPA this is it.

A: a little dark and hazy for a pale ale but lots of complexity that works well in this brew work well, therefore it can pull off the color. Head retention is great and the lacing is amazing. The whole glass was covered after I was done from top to bottom.

S: the nose is like a freshly torn open nitrogen sealed packet of C type pellet hops. That's all I detect just hops, pure hop aroma. somewhat earthy but mildly citrus. Like cascade and Amarillo perhaps.

T: For me it tastes a lot better after sitting in a glass for a few minutes, or half way through for the impatient. The beer feels a bit over carbonated and makes it hard to drink from the bottle. More of the malt flavors and subtleties that let you know this beer isn't some crap thrown together really shine through when its in a glass at a little warmer temperature. I get some fruitiness in the middle of the mouth and a zestyness at the front of the tongue. Doesn't really taste like it smells. It's quite earthy and a bit grassy. Really great taste but still a bit bitter for what I want in a pale ale. Leaves a dry bitter(not in a bad way) aftertaste in my mouth that makes me want to take another sip.

M: Feels harsh out of the bottle and when it's cold. It definitely is not creamy and is quite crisp. The mouthfeel somewhat improves in a glass and after losing some carbonation/warming up. Medium bodied and easy drinking.

Overall a great "average beer" nothing extraordinary but for a 6-8$ 6pack it's one of the better ones. I still prefer many other pale ales over this one, but I consider this a between a pale ale and IPA.

Photo of Ek0nomik
3.38/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured In: Pint Glass
Purchased At: Just Local Food (Eau Claire, WI)

Appearance: Golden.

Smell: Grainy and malty.

Taste: An interesting taste after drinking nothing but IPA's for quite awhile. You can definitely taste the malts in this. A little spicy, and a little buttery which seems odd.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, goes down easy.

Drinkability: This is the first Central Waters that I have had. I am more of an IPA drinker, but for an APA I think it's alright. I don't foresee myself picking this up again though.

Photo of CooperEllis
3.2/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into .3l tulip.

This pours light amber, clear but not thin. A full 1" head of what looks like whipped egg white. There is a nice sticky

Lot of earthy aroma, sweet fruit hops.

Taste up front is watery grapfruit. A bit of pear juice at the end.

Nice carbonation, it is light enough.

This is a a decent enough ale. I don't have a lot of familiarity with this brewery. This might have been exactly what they were going for and in keeping with regional flavor sensibilities. Not my cup of tea, not bad though.


Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another 12 oz bottle from Al's. This is one that I've never traded for.

A: The pale ale is a light copper color, liquid amber that is translucent. A finger of off-white, just barely off-white, head is lacing nicely around the mouth of my glass.

S: Could it be that the APA has a better hop aroma than the IPA? That may well be the case with Happy Heron and Glacial Trail. The pale ale, while nicely balanced with biscuity malts, has a pleasing citrus aroma that is neither vegetal nor boozy.

T: The taste aims to balance the nose out, offering more toasty biscuit flavors. Hops are present, leaving a nice bitterness long after a sip is gone. They add a citrusy flavor that gradually builds to that finish. A well-balanced and thoroughly enjoyable APA.

M: The mouthfeel begins with malts and ends with hops. At no point does either aspect get out-of-hand. Finally, a CW beer other than barleywine or stout that I enjoy.

D: Low abv, solid taste. Sign me up for more, please. The best light-colored CW beer.

Photo of jmarsh123
2.71/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to sonoma01 for the bottle

Pours a hazy dark yellow/gold with a small white head dissipating quickly leaving slight lacing.

Aroma consists of light floral and citrus hops. Little malt in this one.

Starts out with a lightly floral hop character. Rounds into a bit of bready malt before finishing with a buttery piney finish.

Low-medium mouthfeel with high carbonation levels.

The buttery taste in the back end turns me off a bit. The other flavors are just ok as well making this a fairly mediocre beer.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.98/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

very hazy golden amber with about two inches of white head on top. A nice slow fade gave way to copious side glass lace and a nice film across the top. You could tell it was nice due to ample carbonation consistently replenishing it. Great fresh aroma, with lots of floral hops and a good bit of grain in the back. The taste followed through pretty much the same. Great floral hop flavor hit you right away, but it was very light and refreshing, nothing overbearing about it at all. Nice underlying grain base had a touch of sweetness to it which gave it some good depth. Smooth, crisp finish with a nice lingering bitterness. Great light bodied feel and amble carbonation made it very light and refreshing and kept you wanting to come back for more. This was easily a session ale with no issues. Overall I was very impressed here. This was an awesome pale that was more the adequately hopped and really had a great profile.

Photo of blackie
3.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance: The pour into the imperial pint creates a big white head that slowly dissipates, but only partially. The beer is a light, fresh copper color.

smell: Some grainy sweetness, light muddy hops, some light bread, and not a whole lot else.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is slightly less than medium, and the body between light and medium.

taste: Pretty much the same as the smell. A moderate, caramel grainy sweetness with a light hop bitterness. Eh.

drinkability: Not hard to drink or anything, but a pretty plain APA.

Yet another sample from dirtylou during my stay.

Photo of Erdinger2003
3.11/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a nice thick head with good retention and a good lacing. The color is light gold without any cloudiness. Smell is hoppy with a caramal light-medium body. The taste is grassy hops on the tip of the tongue. Yeah, pretty grassy hops without a lot, if any, citrus characteristics to it. After a few sips you get used to the grassiness and it seems to mellow, but it's still very grassy in it's flavor. The mouthfeel is good, it's very smooth and because of the hard pour there wasn't a lot of carbonation bite (at least that's my theory). Overall it was nice to try. If the taps were nothing but BMC and this, I would try it again.

Photo of dstc
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper orange color with a nice white head. Head falls to just about nothing. Very thin lace.

Nice floral hop nose. Bit fruity and delicious smelling.

Crisp hop taste. Somewhat citrus-like in the middle. Bitterness on the tongue from the hops.

Medium bodied in the mouth with a slight bite.

Decent IPA from a decent brewer.

Photo of dbtoe
3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Look golden amber with a 2 finger white head that slowly reduced down to a good cap.

Smell mild, with citrus and sweet malt

Taste slightly sweet malt bitter hops. A fresh finish. Great balanced flavors that blend together well.

Feel crisp mild body with good carbonation, lively.

Drink Very drinkable all flavors combine together well. I always want one more when drinking these.

Comment I really like this beer a lot. It is hard for me to pass this up when buying beer. A standard beer of mine.

Photo of JLeege
3.31/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled April ‘11

Appearance- Pours a clear yellow orange, with a bubbly white head. Fizzles out fairly quick. A little wispy lace left behind.

Smell- A bit grainy on the nose. Pale malts, cracker like. A little earthy.

Taste- Has a surprisingly nice hop presence up front. On the earthy and pine side. That quickly fades to some faint pale malts and plain dry crackers towards the finish. A little lingering bitterness on the palate. Good flavor up front, then almost complete nothingness, then a nice little linger on the palate. Interesting.

Mouthfeel- Medium body and carbonation. Fairly smooth.

Overall- It seems like a subtle tweak to the recipe could make this a very solid pale ale. But they say this is their flagship brew, so that won’t happen. This one is close to being a solid beer for me, but I am left wanting a bit more.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.03/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Clear medium yellow color. Two fingers of frothy white head. Retention is about average andd a decent amount of lacing is left.

3.0 S: Grainy and lightly bready malts. Some toastiness and light neutral malt sweetness. Barely perceptible earthy hoppiness.

3.0 T: Tastes like the nose. Mainly grainy with some breadiness. Toasty with a moderate sweetness and light earthy hops.

3.0 M: Lighter medium body. Perhaps a touch too much carbonation. Neither very creamy nor crisp.

3.0 D: Not bad, but screams average throughout.

Photo of DrDemento456
3.71/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Greeted with a 1/2 inch of fluffy white foam and little sediment guess this held up well since the bottle is at least 4 months old. Beer is a bright orange yellow with a mild haze.

S +T - Seems pretty mild in the smell department. Pale malts and mild pine or citrus. Taste is also not very exciting just a regular pale ale with a touch more piney hops. Drinks pretty good though.

M - Light to medium, kind of skunky but easy to drink.

Overall a step down from the craze of dry hopped pale ales but this one holds it own by being very on par with the style. Tasty.

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Happy Heron Pale Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 198 ratings.