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Where In Town: The Bier Baron Tavern, 1523 22nd St. NW

Price: $12/10 ounces

The Ale With the Golden Touch

CBS—the nickname given to this rare brew by America’s unofficial Fraternal Order of Beer Geeks—has many identities. It is black gold, a white whale, and a bottle that sells on eBay for upwards of $125. It is Founders Breakfast Stout that has been aged in bourbon barrels previously used to age maple syrup. It ranks as the 12th best beer in the world, according to Ratebeer.com, and it is capable of whipping otherwise well-behaved brewhounds (the kind of sophisticates who muse about beers’ “vinous notes”) into a barbarian horde. In short: It is very, very good. It is also very overrated.

Canadian Fakin’

What I’m about to say is beer-geek heresy. Here goes: Founders Breakfast Stout—the inexpensive, widely available coffee-oat milkshake that is the main ingredient of CBS—is almost as good as its bourbon-and-maple-kissed cousin. To be sure, CBS is a beer to cherish if you can, with an incredibly creamy mouthfeel and lingering complex flavors (mocha, raisins, bourbon). But, if you missed Bier Baron’s rare keg of the stuff recently, console yourself with this telling comment that I overheard, uttered by someone holding a regular Breakfast Stout: CBS “tastes a lot like the one I’ve been drinking.”