I suppose that’s an unusual statement in the context of this beer, because this certainly isn’t traditional “Cask Ale” in many ways. You couldn’t call it a demonstration of British Brewing’s famous balance, and it’s a style of beer that is anything but well established in the grand scheme of things. Some would argue the beer style hasn’t even got the right name. But that’s all irrelevant.
Because when it comes down to it, “Cask” is just a method of serving beer, and it undeniably gives beer a certain mouthfeel and flavour of it’s own, often accentuating sweetness and bringing out some subtleties that keg’s cooling might gloss over, and when a beer is good on Cask it is really, really good.
The beer is Proper Job Black IPA by St Austell.
The flavour of this beer is stunning. On the first sip you could easily mistake this for a regular pale IPA, with the wafts of bitter citrus and dry, herbaceous, almost woody English hop character.
In the second sip you get a different beer. The hops are there again but they swim around with a deep, smooth mocha chocolate and just the tiniest hint of spiced orange in the finish. In the after taste, providing you don't take another quick sip (which is hard to resist) you get a little grapefruit as your mouth dries and a lasting but not harsh bitterness.
Ultimately though it all rolls together as one big, bitter yet soft, citrus yet chocolate, juxtaposition of a beer, and it's as goddamn near as good a pint of cask beer as you'll ever drink.
The point of this post is to get it on Cask, but if you can't wait, you can also buy Proper Black in bottles, and they are also pretty damn good.