Review Date 2/24/2010
Pennichuck Halligan IPA? In Georgia? Was I dreaming? This beer was (I say was because the small brewery closed in late 2009) located in New Hampshire, quite a ways from Atlanta where I live. I imagine that I might have had a hard time finding the stuff back in Rhode Island if I still lived there, yet here it was all the way in the south (it was sold for a time in Alabama, too).
Pennichuck beers are all based on a firefighting theme, and this one is no exception. From the 22 ounce bomber bottle I bought at Green's liquors in Atlanta:
A halligan bar is one of the most common firefighting tools used today and is in conjunction with an axe and when "married" to the axe they are referred to as "irons". Halligan IPA is an American IPA brewed using imported rye & specialty malts, amarillo, tettnang, and nugget hops which gives off a well balanced taste and aroma profile that finishes clean, crisp, and refreshing. Pairs well with sharp pungent or peppery cheese, poultry, fish or shellfish.
Pennichuck Halligan IPA pours to a hazy reddish color with a thick and chunky head formation and a gently spicy nose of rye and hops. Taking a sip, I don't get the impression I'm drinking an IPA at all, let alone an American IPA. I do get some nice chewy caramel malt laced with a lot of spicy, grainy rye flavor. I like that, of course, but I'm thinking this is a lot more like a pale ale than an IPA.
There's a little herbal hop aroma laced throughout here, but not a lot. Towards the finish, I start to get some hop bitterness poking through, and it lingers gently on the tongue after sipping. But this is nothing like an American IPA in my book, which is why I give it an average three star rating. Additionally, the brewery advises right on the bottle that this should not be cellared, and I have to agree with that.
It's a shame that this was not marketed as a rye pale ale, or a pale ale with rye-it would get four stars if it had been. Hedonistically I give this one four, stylistically three, so I'll peg it at three and a half overall.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.