English-style beers don't get enough credit. One of my favorite things to do in Boston is to frequent Cornwall's in Kenmore Square before or after a Red Sox game. When I'm there, a great selection of bitters and other traditional English ales reminds me that I really do need to seek out these styles more often.
In that vein, one beer I saw and immediately had to purchase was Firestone Walker's Double DBA, a barrel-aged, imperial special bitter. Made with British Ale yeast and aged in new American oak barrels for 10 months, there was nothing not to like (on paper at least) about this limited-release. The beer is a double version of the company's flagship Double Barrel Ale. My 650ml bottle was part of Reserve Series No. 001. Some 3,500 cases of the beer were made.
That's a lot of information to take in, but believe me this beer is worth it. The beer pours a thick amber, with one finger of off-white head. It's cloudy. Notes of toffee and whiskey waft up from the murk.
The base of this beer is a bitter brewed with Magnum, Styrian Golding, and East Kent Golding hops. Classic British ale yeast further identifies the beer with some of my Cornwall's favorites. Adding oak-aging onto such a smooth base brings us to another level. Vanilla, roasted almond, and warming alcohol (12 percent ABV) blanket the tongue. Close your eyes and it's not a stretch to envision yourself drinking a good bourbon. There are a lot of oak-aged beers out there, but not many are this extraordinary. The suggested retail price for this beer is $15.99. That's not cheap by any means, but in this case it's worth every penny.