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Happy Heron Pale Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Happy Heron Pale AleHappy Heron Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

186 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 186
Reviews: 94
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 14.2%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-22-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 186 | Reviews: 94 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of lester619


3.93/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Central Waters is a very nice brewery. I doubt if they distrubute much outside Wisconsin, but it's worth checking out if you come across it. This pale ale pours a sligtly hazy bubbly amber with a medim head. Smell is hoppy and fruity. Nice drinking APA. Very clean and crisp, hoppy, but not burning hoppy. Good sharp clean bite you look for in a good pale ale. My glass was filled up at least three times and I had plenty of room for more. This is their flagship beer, and a very quality APA.

Serving type: on-tap

04-22-2010 23:50:11 | More by lester619
Photo of Billolick

New York

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

Serving type: on-tap

08-09-2007 16:59:52 | More by Billolick
Photo of Skidz


4.58/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap, my house. Kick ass.

Sits a perfectly bright amber with tints of gold and reddish-brown with a solid bone white head holding strong all the way down and leaving the glass coated in lace.

Smells rich and citrusy up front with big hints of orange and grapefruit, just the slightest touch of pine. Sweet caramel dripping all over and a light bready character.

Tastes initially malty, toasted character shines through pairing up with caramel and light traces of toffee. Hops character buils up giving off standard doses of pine and grapefruit zest while maintaining a pleasant orange flavor as well. Everything is dipped in caramel, there is no escape. Finish is refreshingly bitter and laden wth hops oils.

Delightfully creamy and smooth with soft carbonation on all ends. This beer pleads for more mouth time, but is consumed far too enjoyably.

I've always enjoyed this beer, one of the best regional APAs IMO. Though this sampling seems to differ from the many others I've had elsewhere, both bottle and tap..more complete. Maybe the recipe has been tweaked a bit. Having it fresh at the pull of a lever makes my world fall apart...in good ways. I should also make note that this is the first beer to grace my lines, one of the hardest choices I've had to make.

Serving type: on-tap

05-05-2005 03:41:00 | More by Skidz
Photo of abents


3.85/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Appears a golden red with a small white head and slight lacing.

Smell: Aromas of citrusy hops and slight malt notes are apparent.

Taste: Starts with loads of bitting hops, hint of citrus and the malt becomes apparent slightly sweet. Ends with a drying hoppy finish that sits well in the mouth for a long time after.

Mouthfeel: Feels lighter in the mouth with a small ammount of carbonation.

Drinkability: This beer goes down well but I don't know if I can handle this on a regular basis.
This is a good pale ale if you love hops. Great job in making a great beer.

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2004 17:18:15 | More by abents
Photo of kojevergas


2.76/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with classy understated label art and unbranded pry-off pressure cap acquired at Zipp's Liquor in Minneapolis, MN for $1.79 and served into a stem-tulip. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery. 5.2% ABV confirmed. Bottled September 2013. Reviewed as a pale ale because of the name.

Served cold - straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Some foam gushes out upon opening.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a 1.5 finger wide head of white colour. Decent thickness. No real creaminess. Lacks frothiness. Decent consistency. Okay complexion. Head retention is pretty good - about 4-5 minutes. Little lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a dark copper. Some minimal yeast particles are visible floating in the body. Average vibrance. Translucent. Nontransparent.

Overall, it looks pretty basic for a pale ale. I'm looking forward to trying it, but it's not unique or special. There are no egregious flaws here.

Sm: Has the kind of hop profile I'm not a big fan of in a pale ale: somewhat soapy, with vague tropical fruit notes, sticky nectary sweetness, and generic floral character. Pale malts. Too sweet. Has an unbecoming booziness. This is a real mess. I hope the taste isn't the same.

An unappealing aroma of average strength. No yeast character is detectable.

T/Mf: Candi sweetness. Pale malts. Floral hop character. Some vague tropical fruitiness. Sticky and sappy. Some out-of-place caramel and toffee. Both the malt choices and the hop choices here are poor. It's just a mess. Lacks complexity, subtlety, intricacy, and nuance.

Shallow depth of flavour. Average intensity and duration of flavour.

Smooth, wet, unrefreshing. Too thick. Medium-bodied. Overcarbonated. A biteen oily. Way too boozy for a pale ale. Not soft or comforting. Poor presence on the palate.

Not astringent, harsh, or rough.

Dr: Downable but underwhelming. A disappointment from Central Waters. I wouldn't get it again. A very mediocre pale ale with no sense of balance. Not recommended. Central Waters has far stronger pales.

Low C

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2013 04:26:12 | More by kojevergas
Photo of TMoney2591


3.31/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

I don't know why, but "Happy Heron" kinda sounds like the name of a seaside Chinese restaurant... Anyway, this stuff pours a clear pale amber topped by a finger of off-cream foam. The nose comprises grass, mild pine resin, light grapefruit peel, and a bit of white bread. The taste brings in more of the same, the bread taking on a more caramel-y note at times. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, a decent enough pale ale, nothing at all noteworthy, but it seems to be easy enough to drink.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2013 01:51:51 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of daledeee


3.79/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tulip glass. Got a golden clear body with a nice white head and some

Nose is typical for a pale ale. Grass and fruit?

Taste is rather malty and some hops thrown in. I don't drink that many pale ales but I would say this one is typical to the style.

Mouth feel is slightly dry. Overall this is not bad but not great.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2013 02:40:24 | More by daledeee
Photo of pmcadamis


3.81/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2013 16:09:11 | More by pmcadamis
Photo of mvanaskie13


3.38/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a sam lager glass, color is golden to copper; head is off white and presented at about 1/4 inch thick, light lacing.

Smell is mild caramel malt, some biscuit, light toast flavor, light bitterness no noted hop flavors.

Taste is clean, crisp, malt is not over sweet, light biscuit, hops are crisp and bitter, maybe more pine than citrus.

Mouthfeel is a little drying and over crisp for a pale ale, could be the age of the brew and bottle conditioning.

Overall, a nice drinkable pale ale, nothing out of the ordinary, but a little harsh in the mouthfeel

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2013 19:59:34 | More by mvanaskie13
Photo of zeff80


3.56/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, golden-yellow color with a one-finger, white head of bubbly foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of citrus and pine.

T - It had a toasty flavor with some citrusy bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A light to medium bodied beer.

O - This is an okay pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2013 21:16:51 | More by zeff80
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2013 02:05:58 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of ferrari29


3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Beer poured from bottle into a Nonic shaped pint glass

A - Beer pours with a thin white colored head; moderately carbonated; clear golden colored body; not much lacing; head doesn't hold for long

S - Beer has a floral nose; caramel; touch of pine; dry malted barley; sweet, almost cotton candy; dried hops

T - Light malt flavored taste; very bitter pine; white grapefruit citrus; sour and tart; very bitter hops

M - Thin body; watery texture; very bitter aftertaste; sour and tart feel on the tongue; not very carbonated

D - Pretty average APA, could certainly use a bit more body; not an easy drink for those unfamiliar with the traditional APA taste; would pass if offered another

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2012 03:51:06 | More by ferrari29
Photo of vette2006c5r


3.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Happy Heron pours a clear straw yellow color, with a nice with standing head. There is a slight hoppy aroma, but its more floral and sweet then dry. There is a strong bitter taste, but its doesn't have that typical floral hoppy flavor; it finishes almost sweet. Has a unique flavor, not watery but lacking. Overall its a nice beer, has a strong bitterness, but not that floral taste with other pale ales.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2012 01:51:28 | More by vette2006c5r
Photo of Ryan011235


3.1/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Parkbrau Pils glass on 7/31/12

Bottled on: Jun

Deep gold hue with a faded appearance. One finger head dissipates in short order. Retention is a combination of a soapy skim and bubbles. A good amount of drippy lace remains.

Happy Heron smells good - crisp, fresh grass with pepperings of orange peel, citrus zest and herbal hops. The malt offset isn't too much - cracker, grains and a dusting of baking flower. The hops become juicier as it warms.

Flavors of orange, grass and pine are all over the place, as is a bitterness that stands in stark contrast to the timid, toasty malts. Simple overall, it's well-constructed. I could go for a touch less bitterness, though.

The feel is my biggest gripe; the body is watery - beyond crisp, it's far too thin for the style. On top of that, the carbonation is too aggressive and distracting. The finish has a lingering pith and herbal bitterness before cleaning itself up.

This is a beer that lends itself to drinking far more than reviewing.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2012 00:58:00 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of kartoffel

3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2012 00:28:57 | More by kartoffel
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2012 02:06:58 | More by DavoleBomb
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2012 02:46:22 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of match1112


3.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: clear golden honey colored body. big white creamy head stands two fingers tall.

s: caramel, grass, lemon and other citrus.

t: lemon grass. some toffee and caramel. floral hops are there as well.

m: on the thin side. carbonation is good. very small hop presence.

o: not one of my favorites or even one that i will buy again. way too grassy for me. drinks more like a pilsner.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2012 18:15:56 | More by match1112
Photo of argock


3.1/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date available. Received as a generous gift from siblings.

A: Pleasing honey-amber with 1-2 finger off-white head with good retention and a nice banner of lace encircling the top of the glass.

S: Aroma is buttery and toffee-like with a lot of caramel sweetness. The hops are floral and lemon-orange.

T: The caramel malty sweetness is too strong and omboned with the buttery end note turns this cloying by the tail end of the glass. The hop component is underwhelming with a light citrus character but not much counterpoint.

M: Medium body with even carbonation and a nice coating quality.

O: Not a bad brew but it doesn't really stand out in any way.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2012 13:22:21 | More by argock
Photo of jmarsh123


2.68/5  rDev -23.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2012 02:29:34 | More by jmarsh123
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2011 05:01:46 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of manitouman84


3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy honey gold with a thin head, and mild retention at best. Modest lemon zest, pear, some citrus grapefruit and a husky grains on the nose. Honey, lemon, grapefruit, grainy biscuit bready malts accompanied by a mild hop bitterness. A little watery, but still crisp in the end.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2011 05:44:12 | More by manitouman84
Photo of Stinkypuss


3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Happy Heron Pale Ale

Pours a very light straw color. Aroma of light floral hops. In the taste, mild citrus hops, crystal or pale malt backing, and an even balance. Light bodied feel, crisp carbonation, and pretty easy to drink. Overall, this is a light pale and would pair well with a big sandwich.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2011 16:14:39 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of mjpolzin


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

Just as with Bell's Oberon Ale that I just reviewed, I was stuck drinking this one out of a bottle so can't say much on the appearance.

On the one hand, this had a ton of the hoppy, grapefruity kick that I enjoy in a pale ale but on the other hand, it lacked a lot of the depth from some of the better pale ales that I have had. Its hard to put my finger on it but after the initial bitterness, I was waiting for a little more but it wasn't there. That said, this is a very solid beer from a brewery I really enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2011 23:43:13 | More by mjpolzin
Photo of tapman


4.05/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Less than one finger of off white head atop a clear, light orange body. Lacing is thick and foamy.

Sweet hop aroma of grapefruit and melon. A little caramel and lemon zest as well.

Keep the lemon and grapefruit for the hops, add a moderatley-strong bitterness and a soft toasted bread and you have a nice beer.

Crisp and refreshing.

All around good brew. Nothing really pops out, but I could session the heck out of this one. Looking for it on tap!

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2011 03:02:03 | More by tapman
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Happy Heron Pale Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 186 ratings.