Happy Heron Pale Ale
Central Waters Brewing Co.

Happy Heron Pale AleHappy Heron Pale Ale
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Pale Ale - American
3.55 | pDev: 13.8%
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Happy Heron Pale AleHappy Heron Pale Ale
Reviews: 94 | Ratings: 197 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of pat61
pat61 from Minnesota

3.92/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

Mar 21, 2015
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

2.76/5  rDev -22.3%
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

Dec 02, 2013
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TMoney2591 from Illinois

3.32/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Oct 07, 2013
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daledeee from Iowa

3.79/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Jul 23, 2013
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pmcadamis from Illinois

3.82/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

May 02, 2013
Photo of mvanaskie13
mvanaskie13 from Pennsylvania

3.37/5  rDev -5.1%
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

Mar 23, 2013
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zeff80 from Missouri

3.57/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

Feb 21, 2013
Photo of DrDemento456
DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

3.71/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Jan 26, 2013
Photo of ferrari29
ferrari29 from Illinois

3.15/5  rDev -11.3%
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

Nov 17, 2012
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vette2006c5r from Minnesota

3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Sep 24, 2012
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Ryan011235 from Ohio

3.13/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

Aug 01, 2012
Photo of kartoffel

3.4/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

Jul 12, 2012
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DavoleBomb from Pennsylvania

3.03/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

Jul 10, 2012
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

May 16, 2012
Photo of match1112
match1112 from Illinois

3.33/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

May 13, 2012
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argock from Virginia

3.11/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

May 02, 2012
Photo of jmarsh123
jmarsh123 from Indiana

2.71/5  rDev -23.7%
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.

Feb 15, 2012
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

Dec 04, 2011
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manitouman84 from Wisconsin

3.35/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Oct 10, 2011
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Stinkypuss from Pennsylvania

3.2/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Sep 05, 2011
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mjpolzin from Wisconsin

3.47/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Jul 31, 2011
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tapman from Illinois

4.05/5  rDev +14.1%
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!

Jun 16, 2011
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JLeege from Illinois

3.31/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

Jun 14, 2011
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BARFLYB from Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass, the bottled on date is stamped in october, I bought this in april, CW has not been Distributing here since October, Im confrused!!

The pour is a sunset yellow with some bronze/blond highlights at various spots. A nice pinch of white foam up above leaving minor stick. The smell is bordering on mostly pale malt with a hint of earthy grass. Some light citrus hops are dwindling. Taste is not like I thought with the bottle on date, perhaps they were old labels that CW should stop using, it probably hurts sales, especially here in Philly. Taste is a mix of everything I said above in the smell category. Feel is light medium with crispy carb. The drinkability is fine, this is a one sided beer and it does it's job. Glad I only spent 2 beans on it.

May 03, 2011
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muttyd from Alabama

3.06/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pale amber pour with a good quarter inch head. Aroma is very malt forward. I am getting pale, biscuity malts with almost no hops. Hops are hidden in the back with a slight citrusy presence. Flavor follows the nose; pale malts, brown bread, slight caramel and very faint citrus in the finish. Dry and bitter, very drinkable brew. Not a bad extra.

May 02, 2011
Happy Heron Pale Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 197 ratings