I missed it, but last November, The Independent (UK) ranked the 50 best beers, and this finished #1. I couldn't find the list online, but I did find this cranky letter to the editor:
The collection of "50 best beers" in The Information (24 November) included some of my favourites and it was good to see the Indy promoting distinctive beers. But it amused me to read that St Peter's India Pale Ale could "conjure up dreamy memories of summer harvests". I wondered how many of the tasting panel were farm workers, and how many readers have experience of harvests as anything other than a nostalgic Neverland of the imagination.
No summer harvest claims from me then. Nice looking beer: hazy amber/orange, an enduring head. Nice aroma, with a decent whiff of hops. Could the taste satisfy American hop heads? Well, no. It has only a mild hop kick against a bready malt background. Possibly the hop level would be higher before the green bottle was shipped across the Atlantic. Remember, though, that IPAs were originally brewed to be shipped half way across the world in conditions worse than we see today.
The rating sites are filled with comments about how this isn't a real IPA, which seems a bit presumptuous given that this St. Peter's has likely been brewing this style for longer than America has been brewing any beer at all. (The back of the bottle label seems to say something about this, but the print is too small for me to read.)
It's nonetheless a tasty beer, but I doubt I'll buy it again at four and a half bucks a bottle. In its defense, I'll say that 500 ml is my favorite size, sharing or sessioning aside. If it were $5.99 for a bomber, I wouldn't think it extraordinarily pricey, even though I'm not sure it's worth a dollar and a half for six extra ounces (declining marginal returns and all that).