Happy Heron Pale Ale | Central Waters Brewing Co.

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Happy Heron Pale AleHappy Heron Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-22-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 95 | Ratings: 198
Photo of Sammy
3.4/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.76/5  rDev -21.4%
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

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Photo of zeff80
3.57/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.08/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

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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 TheManiacalOne
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Acquired from JeffKrenner courtesy of the Birthday Club 2, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy orange color with a thin white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is sweet with caramel, honey and a little citrus along with a bit of hops in the background.

T: The taste is starts out very sweet with strong flavors of honey & caramel. Then there is a mild hops bitterness that comes in to provide a little bit of balance. The malt character is hearty but on the light side. This one certainly tastes like more of an EPA than an APA. The after-taste is bitter.

M: Very crisp bit not very smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, dry finish.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, as stated previously, I think it is more a representation of the English Pale Ale style than the American style. I am not sure if I would want to drink too many of these and I might only select it if my choices were very limited.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crystalline tangerine with very few bubbles speeding up to the lightly toasted ivory cap. The foam is firm, finely pitting and is in no hurry to depart. Fine, spackle-like lace is beginning to be laid down and looks as if it'll cover at least half the glass in the end. A simple, clean APA look and a good one.

Given the hop bill, the aroma isn't quite what I expected. Hops in use include primarily Centennial and Cascade with a little Northern Brewer thrown in for good measure. So why isn't the nose more brightly grapefruit citric? It's a bit low on power and has more caramel than I like to see in this style. A little less Northern Brewer would have suited me just fine.

Wow, this is one of the most caramel-soaked APAs that I've ever had. The malt structure isn't huge, but the flavor profile is wall to wall caramel-toffee. I happen to like that flavor so my disappointment is tempered somewhat. However, I sure could have used the Centennial and Cascade hopfest that I promised my buds.

Happy Heron is 'A Tale of Two Ales'. The first portion of each mouthful is stickysweet and buttery golden caramel-like. Once that flavor fades near the midway point, the citric hops come in to mop up and actually provide a surprising amount of grapefruit zesty bitterness on the lingering finish. 'It was the best of times, it was the best of times...'

Quality mouthfeel, as with almost all Center Waters offerings. The body is firmly medium and the beer has a bit of silkiness about it as well. One of the smoothest, most pleasing APA mouthfeels in recent memory.

Despite the fact that it wasn't quite what I expected, Happy Heron Pale Ale is yet another good beer from this fine Wisconsin craft brewery. It won me over in the end and makes me wish that I had picked up more than just this single.

[I spoke to the head brewer today to ask about the hop bill and he informed me that the brewery is expanding four-fold in the near future because they can't keep up with demand. I begged for distribution to Iowa of course].

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.98/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.32/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Wasatch for including this in a trade.

Pours slightly hazed (murky?) orange amber with a thin off-white head. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of caramel, dough and slight citrus.

The taste is of caramel, doughy yeast and a tangy citric zest. A bit of tea-leaf (tannic-like) dryness in the sharp finish.

It is almost medium-bodied with a touch of creaminess to the body.

Hops add bitterness, though not much to the overall flavor, and a bit too caramelish for my taste (personal preference, I suppose) but sharp. All-in-all though it's a decent pale ale.

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Photo of Billolick
4.03/5  rDev +14.8%
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

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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 Wasatch
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to brdc for this one.

Pours a nice clean/clear dark golden orange color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy off-white head, which leaves some nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is slightly malty, hoppy, buttery, slight spice/citrus, and some caramel. The taste is malty/hoppy, nice touch of butteryness, slight spice/citrus, with some tones of caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, I've enjoyed everything so far from CW, nice brewery.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.2/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

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Photo of BARFLYB
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.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.73/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this bottle in a trade with Grizzly Adams. Thanks Cole!

This one pours a hazy orange-gold with a 1 finger head of foam that doesn't recede much at all and there's some good lacing.

The smell has notes of grapefruit and caramel malt with the hops *just* having the edge.

The taste kind of surprised me. Biscuit and caramel is what I noticed first and then some grapefruit in the background that adds enough bitterness to balance the malt. Nice.

It has a medium mouthfeel and it finishes with a slight grassy bitterness. Quite a nice APA with more than ample portions of malt and I like where this one went. I'd definitely drink this again as it is a good beer all around.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.3/5  rDev +22.5%
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.

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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 pat61
3.92/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle obtained via trade with Skidz. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 3/4" of lightly off-white head over the slightly cloudy amber brew. Laces amazingly well. Aroma is kind of a fruity/spicy/hoppy deal, with all given equal time. Taste is reasonably well-balanced, except that the malt hits first, and then the hops move in and set up shop. Mouthfeel and drinkability are good, and this brew is a representative pale ale.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.71/5  rDev +5.7%
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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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 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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Photo of maximum12
3.32/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to my buddy John, whose tasting I couldn't go to but mixed me up a six-pack "taster" afterwards, including this, my first venture into Central Waters beers.

Pours a light yellow, but murky. Smells surprisingly sweet & flowery, almost sugary sweet.

Wowwweeee. Tastes nothing like it smells. Dominated by a malty burst with the sweetness pushed way into the background. After the intial freak-out, this isn't bad.

Drinkability suffers a little from the weird funk, but I won't have trouble finishing this one. Pretty good beer.

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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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Happy Heron Pale Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
3.51 out of 5 based on 198 ratings.
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