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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 198 |  Reviews: 95
Photo of pisomojado8
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Westuh
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Wisconsin
3.28/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a two finger head along with a golden brown amber color. The head comes to a nice lace minutes after being poured.

S - The smell is very grainy and some slight hopiness. There is some faint fruit smell but it is hardly noticeable.

T - The beer seems somewhat bitter and hoppy to be a pale ale. There is a faint sweetness that comes through towards the end of this beer.

M - The beer is bitter toward the beginning but fades into a sweetness at the end.

D - The beer is too hoppy for my liking so I couldn't have more than one in a sitting.

 555 characters

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 blackie
3.3/5  rDev -6%
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.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.3/5  rDev -6%
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 JLeege
3.31/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

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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 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 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 hopdog
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle acquired in trade with The_Enemy (thanks!).

Poured a medium amber with a smaller sized white head. Aromas of toffee, citrus, flowers and a little fruity. Tastes of caramel, citrus, toasted malts, and some fruits. Some lacing left on the glass.

Notes from: 3/21/06

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Photo of match1112
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

 382 characters

Photo of manitouman84
3.35/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.37/5  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

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Photo of Ek0nomik
3.38/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured In: Pint Glass
Purchased At: Just Local Food (Eau Claire, WI)

Appearance: Golden.

Smell: Grainy and malty.

Taste: An interesting taste after drinking nothing but IPA's for quite awhile. You can definitely taste the malts in this. A little spicy, and a little buttery which seems odd.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, goes down easy.

Drinkability: This is the first Central Waters that I have had. I am more of an IPA drinker, but for an APA I think it's alright. I don't foresee myself picking this up again though.

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Photo of cokes
3.39/5  rDev -3.4%
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 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.

 256 characters

Photo of kartoffel
3.4/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

 2,243 characters

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.

 395 characters

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 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 mjpolzin
3.47/5  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.

 517 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
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

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I found this APA to be a bit thin in mouthfeel for my tastes, but it had a rather pleasant floral quality that I enjoyed and found to be somewhat unique among APAs.

The appearance of this beer was ugly. Head was nice, white, fluffy, and plentiful. However, the body of this beer was an inconsistent color from top to bottom (sort of gold on bottom, sort of rust on top). Aroma was hoppy, but rather rosey floral more than it was piney, citrus, or grassy. Flavor was pretty decent...a perfume-y floral taste with a mild amount of bitterness. Mouthfeel was a bit thin I thought.

It seems like everyone in the world makes an IPA/APA/DIPA, and as a result, there are many bad ones. This beer is not one of those, and offers a somewhat unique floral character that makes it worth recommending.

 790 characters

Photo of NilocRellim
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

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