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Happy Heron Pale Ale - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Happy Heron Pale AleHappy Heron Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

95 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 95
Hads: 198
Avg: 3.51
pDev: 13.96%
Wants: 3
Gots: 10 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 95 | Hads: 198
Photo of RonfromJersey
3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy golden body, topped by three fingers of snow white foam.

Low key but fresh fruity aroma.

A good bit of sweetness smacks the tongue at the start, then quickly balanced by a mix of fruity hops with hints of earthiness. Very well balanced.

Good light mouthfeel keeps the beer bouncing across the tongue. Easy drinkability should appeal to a vast audience.

A solid pale ale with good crossover appeal. Worthy of a sample.

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Photo of meatyard
1.75/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Pours a nearly clear, golden/orange with a short, white head that quickly falls to less than a cover while leaving a bit of spotty lacing.

The smell is very light citrus hops, grain and malt finishing.

The taste is: I hope it's not supposed to taste like this. It's dry, bitter, no hops, no malt-just nothing good but it does taste bad.

Mouthfeel is thin, watery and dry.

Drinkability: My first CW beer and it just sucks. I hope the others I bought aren't this poor. Drain pour...

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Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev +14%
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.

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.2/5  rDev -8.8%
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.


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Photo of Kegatron
3.43/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of jrallen34
2.85/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle drank from an Orval glass...A water clear pour of gold laced with copper. An equally watery white head rises and is gone right away...A gag me aroma that reminds me of budweiser with corn and grain and slightly less skunk than the King...The taste surprises as its not a watery skunk, its actually bursting with strong in your faces hops, the hops are strong and bitter but in a rote metallic way. Glad its not the aroma, but still doesn't make it very good... The beer is very light but with an abrasive feel to it.

This is nothing that I would drink again or recommend, a poor attempt of an apa.

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Photo of tempest
3.3/5  rDev -6%
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.

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Photo of pmccallum86
4.1/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden straw color with a bubbly thick two finger head. Pretty damn good.

Smell is lemon zest and citrus notes with a big bready malt aroma in the background.

Taste has bitter citrus notes with a huge bready malt flavor in the back. Very refreshing beer with the fruity pear and banana flavors as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a medium level of carbonation.

Very drinkable, a very solid example of the style.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.93/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

April is the brew month.

A - Nice bright light honey/coppyer, lots of fluffy near white head. Reduces slowly to ring, but lots of lace.

S - Biscuit, malty, some fruitiness and hops.

T - Nice deep malt action, along with some juicy fruit.

M - Medium body, nice coating, good carb. Pretty easy beer, so balance is right there too.

D - A perfect summer beer.

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Photo of NickBus
3.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pale golden color. Not much head. Lacing pretty weak. A little sediment floating around in the beer...

A nice bitter hop bite seems to be this beer's overriding characteristic. A little sweetness adds a hint of complexity. Overall, a satisfying beer, but maybe a little bland on balance. The extra hop bite makes up for that somewhat. It's kind of a strange pale ale, as others here have noted.

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Photo of mtstatebeer
3.1/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle. Pours a completely clear golden color with a fair, frothy white head, good lacing. Aroma is pale and caramel malts, biscuit, apples, and a hint of citrus. Flavor is caramel malts and resinous hops. Mouthfeel is light and dry with fairly bitter. Nice beer, drinkable and inoffensive.

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Photo of Jcarrane
2.86/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a burnt gold with a nice 1 finger head. For me that's about where the love affair stopped with this one. It's by no means terrible but just another average to slightly above average pale ale. Not much on the nose mild toasty malts. Lighter body for a pale ale in my opinion, yeasty,bread notes to start out, lead into a bitter hop finish. Not my cup tea but there are worse things to be drinkin out there

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Photo of Buebie
2.43/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Off the pour, this doesnt look like a pale ale I've ever had.

A smallish less then one inch head of white recedes fairly quickly to leave no head retention. It resembles a beer poured in a non beer bar that makes a point to not place any head on the beer.
Color also appears off, its straw yellow and looks more like a pilsner.

Aroma...well, lets just say I'm still trying to find it.

Taste is filled with unfermented honey, biscuits, straw, light earthy hops bittering mildly with a lemon lime zest to the flavor. Hop bitters come long after the swallow on the linger and contain a touch of rind and plenty of amarillo aspirin flavor.

This one is highly disappointing not only for the style but overall taste aroma and color are a huge let down. I still dont understand how this is a pale ale. A bodacious pils with ale yeast maybe...

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Photo of lester619
3.92/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.32/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Lukaski for the never ending Wisconsin beer hook-up.

The color is a light copper with some suspended sediment hanging around. Pretty quick, bone white, spongey head. OK bubbling and again, the suspended sediment.

Earthy hops mixed with tosted malts hit the nose first. Crisp and earthy with some obvious hard water aromas reminiscent of the real English pale ales.

As this beer warms, the better it tastes. Cold, you get a metallic middle. But whe you sip it for about thirty minutes, all that goes away.

Crisp grass and pine hops blended with mild biscuit malts upfront. Then a gypsum mineral dry bite hits the middle and ever so slowly lingers away ater each sip. Thisbeer fits the APA style well, and its not from the west coast. The finish has some earthy hop notes and just a little wet toasted Wonderbread.

This palate is crisp from start t finish, but even when it warms a little, it still has a metallic twang to it thats a bit of a turn off.

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Photo of dstc
4/5  rDev +14%
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.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.45/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass the beer is a hazy golden orange hue. One finger of white head fades slowly to leave a decent lace ring around the rim.

The aroma is a very nice mix of oranges,lemons, and grapefruit. Along with moderate piney hops and a sweet malt presence. A real pleasant nose on this one.

The flavor is touch muted. Light citrus fruit and a mild hop profile. The malt comes on strong and sort of takes over. Spicy and biscuity finish.

Medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall a decent easy drinker. Not an APA that's going to knock your socks off but worthy of a taste.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.22/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a mug. Pours a clear dark orange with a thin off-white head on top. Retention was lacking. Left very little lace. Scents of earthy hops, light orange, and biscuits. Full crisp body. Flavor was a little harsh and overly spicy. Bitterness was lingering and charring. This wasn't the best representation of the style. It was decent, just not my thing.

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Photo of dfillius
4.13/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass
A: Aggressive pour yields 1 finger of just off-white tight head with great retention. Hazy copper-gold liquid.
S:Equal parts hearty grain and Man Candy hoppiness. Some caramel. Smells like a session beer.
T: Modest bitterness springs forward but is reigned in by the malt. Hops stick with it and dominate the second half of the flavor profile. Strong on Cascade.
M: Quite bitter actually. Kind of like an IPA maybe, a West Coast-style APA all the way. Sim feel to SNPA
D: High. This is an enjoyable ale that I want another of and would buy again.

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Photo of KarlHungus
1.21/5  rDev -65.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Upon opening this beer it was made immediately clear that something was majorly wrong. The smell of diacetyl filled the entire room. Once poured the beer was a light golden color, and had a nice, lasting head. However good it looks to the eye can't make up for how bad it is on the nose. The taste is like the aroma in that the only thing going on is a ton of butterscotch....offensive amounts of butterscotch. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth texture. But again, like the appearance it can't make up for the taste and aroma.

Overall, this is a horrible beer. I make it a rule not to review beers that have gone bad. However, in a case like this were diacetyl runs riot in the beer, the only person who can be blamed is the brewer. What really makes me think poorly of Central Waters is that they must have tasted this beer before sending it off to the distributor, and there is no way that anyone can miss the diacetyl. Thus, they must have knowingly sent out a tainted product. I don't know of any way a brewery could be more disrespectful to its costumers than that.

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Photo of botham
3.23/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bottle poured into a pub glass. pours amber with one and a half fingers of eggshell colored head afer a hard pour. good retention and solid lacings.

aroma is of light hop notes and a touch of bready yeast. little else for the nose, with a faint touch of sweetness after a bit of warming.

taste is more of the same with a soft hop quality that fades into faint caramel malt notes in the background. not bad, but the profile ends up a bit bland in the end.

mouthfeel is medium bodied and soft on the palate with a finish of residual semi-dry hop notes and little else after the fact.

drinkability is decent. for an APA, this is a less than noteable example, but it gets the job done for what it is. a bit more character on the hop end would work wonders here, as well as give the brew a defining quality that it is now lacking.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.71/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Heavily smeared medium hay/goldenrod color with a nice medium capping of white slick and thick foam. Keeps a pastey white skim and laces the glass with tons of broken sheeting.

Aroma is a muted marshmellowy lemon candy, slendering banana and apricot with a nudge of dry leafy/floral hops and a soaking of caramel undernearth.

Subtle taster, but a bit muddy with a good portion of soft gooey caramel sliding around the palate with ease as bits of dry leafy bits and dulled lemon spritz squirt about within a sharper enhanced carbonation in the front mid range. Woodyness, floral earthyness, and cardboard ensue as it grows into the finish with just a few burps of the lemony hints.

Has a quick, semi gritty tone and carbonation of woody hops while caramel malts keep it slightly creamy and bold underneath with some balance. Uniquely finished with a fairly complexing hopitude of earthy stuff.

Not a bad APA at all. Perhaps a little muddeled and not as clean, crisp, and citrusy hoppy as I usually like, i.e. Alpha King. Totally could be the Glacial Trail IPA's little brother beer.

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Photo of gatornation
4.3/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a beautiful golden/bronze with a 1 inch head that forms a nice ring til the end.. this brew looks really fresh the smell is right on ...its hops and citrus and wet grass with sweet bread/biscuit/malts..the taste is spot on for the style and very nice it hits you with nice bitter hops and citrus but then it smooths out very nicely with bready sweet caramel malts.. the drink ability is very high it is very smooth and has a low abv and highly flavorful for the style ...central waters continues to impress me with their ales.. i will buy this again and will try others in their line...recommended+

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Photo of mjryan
4.47/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Central Waters, new to you guys. So far so good! Pale and hazy. Cirus zest in the nose. Very strong aroma. Quintessential American pale ale. Clean yeast, bready malts and citus hops. Very vibrant and lively...must have been brewed yesterday. Oh, maybe not. The box says late March. Held up well. This is American pale ale. Maybe the best Ive ever had.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.48/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


I'm upping my scores on this one. This is one of the best pale ales I've had in a long time. Nice and fresh (bottled about a month ago) it has a very nice crisp hoppy feel to it with a solid but not overwhelming caramel malt backing. This is a very sessionable APA. Right up there with SN and Summit. That would be a good 3 way blind tasting.

Rating: 4,4,4,4.5,4

Color is on the lighter side for a pale ale. Almost as light as a golden ale. Medium white head. Hops on the nose. Earthy and pungent. First taste is hop induced bitterness. This bitterness is evident throughout the entire beer. Pretty light body. Easy drinking body-wise. There's a pretty firm maltiness backing the whole brew up. A bit of fruitiness comes through also. But the sharp bitterness is unmistakable. A little on the pungent side, but I'm almost wondering if the pungent aspect is present because of this beer's age. It was bottled last June. Overall, this is decent pale ale.

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Happy Heron Pale Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.