Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Happy Heron Pale Ale | Central Waters Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Happy Heron Pale AleHappy Heron Pale Ale
198 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 126-150 | 151-175 | 176-200  | next → last
Ratings: 198 |  Reviews: 95
Photo of cdkrenz
4.11/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$7.00 / Six Pack
County Market
Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Appearance - Straight from the dark brown bottle that allows the 1/2 inch of head to been seen. Yellow label with brown writing and a blue Happy Heron Pale Ale trademark drawing.

Smell - Difficult to get a good whiff out of the bottle but it certainly has a hoppy scent.

Taste - The bitterness of the hops comes through the whole way. I'm happy to say his is a well-crafted beer.

Mouthfeel - The smooth flavor of the beer really gives the feel of this beer the same texture as it goes down easily.

~ I look forward to giving this one a chance at the tap. I can hardly wait to stop in at Guu's on Main in downtown Stevens Point to give this happy bird a try.

 719 characters

Photo of drpimento
4.01/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very nice, friendly beer. It poured a full, foamy head with lots of lace. Has a hazy light to medium amber color. Aroma is mildly hoppy with lots of malty, toffee, sweet character. Flavor is the same but richer. Body is great with a mouth filling fine carbonation. Finish is alternating sweet and bitter. Definitely a session beer. Hope to get some more soon.

 369 characters

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

 376 characters

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.

 633 characters

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.

 832 characters

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

A: Dull tangerine toffee color with copius amounts of bubbles streaming to the surface. Head went fast, only faint off white wisps remain.

S: Sugary orange aroma with hints of cinnamon and lemon grass.

T: Begins with an interesting blend of grapefruit, peach and orange that isn't necessarily stimulating but sort of muted. Has a buttery feature which works well with the citrus and adds a lemony quality to the party. Soon after the swallow, a substantial amount of bitternes (for a pale ale) develops and stays on the tongue longer after the last sip is gone. Flavor finishes some what grainy.

M: Medium body with a hard water texture to it.

D: Not bad. Decent pale ale with nice flavor. Nothing ground breaking or revolutionary going on, but a nice beer none the less.

 784 characters

Photo of terrabyte
3.16/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, deep yellow/orange color with a medium head that doesn't last long.

The aroma is bready malts, some caramel, and low sweet fruits.

Taste is underwhelming compared to the aroma. It had a bready flavor to it, only slightly sweet. Ends with a very enjoyable, low key bitterness. The bitterness starts very strong but quickly disappates.

Mouthful seems thin, but well carbonated.

Quite drinkable, with its light sweetness and hops.

At first I was disappointed with the beer. The flavor seemed underwhelming, but as I drank more, the consistent hops and bitterness started to win me over. Not particularly my style, I'd rather be having Central Water's Mud Puppy.

 690 characters

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.

 256 characters

Photo of evanackerman
3.78/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a clear orange with a nice size head.

aroma is citrus and hops.

taste is bready malt and bitter hops, nice bitterness here, not as fruity as many APAs.

mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, but not bad.

drinkability is high, definitely sessionable.

overall, a solid but not outstanding APA, i would drink this again but would not go out of my way to find it.

 384 characters

Photo of mcallister
3.51/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Typical copper pale ale color. Plenty of carbonation with loads of tiny sediment particles floating about. The off white head of a good half inch slowly fades away leaving trace lace however what is there is very sticky.

The nose on this is less than stellar. A bland pale grassy hop aroma, with some malt hidden underneath. Also some earthy esters.

Damn interesting pale ale. Smokey, meaty, gamey, and different. Almost like a light rauchbier. I'm beginning to think they may have put the wrong liquid in this bottle. Some slight caramel malts but this is mostly earthridden hops and smoked meats.

Mouthfeel is very dry and smokey. Not overly appetizing but a good one and done type of brew.

 702 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
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].

 2,036 characters

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.

 903 characters

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.03/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle, nobody notched the date boxes.

rich orange/gold yet surprisingly still clear body. some big bubble clusters sit atop this peppy lad, but no carbonation rises from inside. lacing becomes wondrous as the glass empties, cascading sticky waterfalls adorn the glass. aroma is nutty.. almost so much to resemble freshly shelled peanuts. earthy with buttery bread notes. iffy aroma, nothing hoppy.. nothing big. something pineappley arises with warmth.

tastes fresh and feels undercarbonated. crisp blank hop sensation is akin to eating grass, thankfully less bitter. still a bit irked by the dirty mouth feeling this leaves me with. vacant and slightly offensive.

i probably will not revisit.

 709 characters

Photo of beveragecaptain
3.13/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle. Central Waters Pale Ale pours out a partially cloudy copper color topped with two inches of foam. Vaguely malty aroma: a little fruity, a little spicy. Not much hop aroma. The flavor is fruity with a fair amount of malt. Not much hop flavor, although the bitterness is there. A weird earthy tobacco flavor comes in at the finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full. There's a nice level of carbonation. A decent enough pale ale, other than the tobacco flavor.

 469 characters

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.

 587 characters

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

 543 characters

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.

 1,282 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

 471 characters

Photo of abents
3.83/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

 588 characters

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.

 848 characters

Photo of brakspear
4.07/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very cloudy orange body, not sure if it is chill haze or yeast, there was sediment in my bottle. The head disappeared very quickly but the carbonation is evident and it laces moderately. The aroma is sweet malt, citrus hops and fruity esters from the fermentation --not bad. The taste is smoother than I expected but the hops are very evident making this beer a quasi-crossover into the land of mild IPAs. While this pale ale does not look the best, it is a very pleasant beer to drink.

 491 characters

Photo of garymuchow
4.2/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Large full head is first thing I noted. Also liked that it reduced very little while drinking and left rings after every drink. Aroma is classic hop quality of this style. Nice amber color that is very clear. Good combination of malt smoothness with biting hop bitterness. Neither dominates, yet both noticable. Medium mouthfeel without excessive carbonation. Might lack a bit of richness in overall flavor, but a very nice brew overall. This sample was from a 12oz bottle.

 480 characters

Photo of ZAP
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really like this pale ale...the label calls it zesty with sharp bitterness....I don't taste it that way...maybe bitter compared to "Bud" but compared to some pale ales this is not overly bitter or zesty..it is very tasty and thirst quenching...citrus hop flavor evident...not much smell except some strained grain on the aroma..bubbly creamy head...some yeast sediment on the final pour of this 22 ounces...Very smooth...nice soft maltiness evident without being too obtrusive..the citrusy hop bounce balances this easy drinking pale ale nicely..one of the better pale ales I've tried...in my top 5-10 easy for pale ales..

 624 characters

firstprev| 126-150 | 151-175 | 176-200  | next → last
Happy Heron Pale Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.52 out of 5 with 198 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.