Name - Proper Job
Brewer - St. Austell
Classification - IPA
Strength - 5.5% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye - Warm light amber.
On the nose - Cake malts. Faint but sharp top notes.
On the tongue - Intense peppery citrus, a hugely hopped grapefruit marvel.
On the subject - Cornwall's St. Austell have concocted a highly authentic version of this classic beer style. In fact, I'd say they this could well be the most faithful rendition of an original IPA currently available. The bottle-conditioning is nicely executed, which has allowed this beer to become extremely popular.
On the market - Pretty ubiquitous. In the unlikely event that you can't find one - try the brewery's own online shop.
On the whole - 8.5/10
Historically speaking - this is the real deal.
The first India Pale Ale styles were characterised by fulsome use of hops, giving the beers a distinctive feel which, among other things, made them feel much more alcoholically potent than they actually were. The folks overseas - to whom these ales were shipped - quite liked that particular feature, and a classic was born.
With Proper Job, St. Austell have gone comprehensively back to the drawing board and conjured up a beer that is about as authentic as can be imagined. This veritable hop grenade simply explodes in the mouth, simulating the very same refreshment experience that those baking hot ex-pats must have enjoyed and marvelled at back in the day.
A jar of this makes you realise the whirlwind journey that this beer variety has gone on in recent years. This ale is nothing like the IPA which currently tops the Bottled Beer Year chart. The recent American-led IPA revolution has seen a huge shift in definition, but even before the U.S. intervention, the domestic IPA 'scene' here in it's birthplace had become largely populated by brews which had a far more balanced feel - often making them indistinguishable from standard bitters or premium ales.
There's very little that could be considered 'standard' about Proper Job. It really is quite special. Far closer to many golden ales found in the contemporary market, this beer zings with sharp citrus and zesty fruits. These top notes soar above the subtlest of malt bases and a delightfully pitched pepper theme strings the whole drink together with an elegance that beguiles, satisfies and excites.
It's very cleverly assembled, this beer.
It stands as an excellent example of the current trend towards highly hopped beers - and yet it makes almost no attempt to fly the flag for fashion, sitting happily as it does upon the shelf amongst the more traditional brews available in the modern mass market.
But it is right that it should do so, because this beer is as much a history lesson as it is a new sensation.
It's a beer with an ultra-radical feel, but which is actually nothing other than a museum piece.
That's a real achievement.
But then - this is a real beer.