When James Watt and Martin Dickie set out to start their own Scottish brewery in 2007, the pair of entrepreneurial 24-year-olds were inspired by various craft beers available in the U.S. that they weren't seeing replicated in their home country.
"Really, we just wanted to make beer that we actually wanted to drink, because there wasn't any around at the time," said Dickie.
Fast forward six years and their resulting label BrewDog has become the one of the quickest-growing breweries in the UK, known for adventurously flavored ales that often make use of local ingredients.
And the duo's ties to the states have remained strong. On Tuesday, the pair will premiere as hosts of Esquire Network's new original series, Brew Dogs, which will follow the friends as they visit different American beer towns and join forces with local craft brewers to make new and wild concoctions, like one San Diego-inspired creation using kelp combined with the hottest chili in the world.
On the eve of their debut, the two Scotsmen sat down with ABC News to talk about their recent travels and current beer trends. Here they share their six favorite barrel-aged beers from the U.S.
1. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy - It's been aged in Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum Barrels to create a 10.5 percent imperial stout. "The result is opulent, decadent with cocoa and toasted marshmallows and a roller coaster of high octane flavors coming through," said Watt.
2. AleSmith Brewer's Reserve Speedway Stout - "Heaven in a glass," is how Dickie described the coffee-heavy, chocolatey taste of this bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout. "And that's coming from an atheist," he quipped.
3. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout - This stout has been brewed with high doses of chocolate and coffee, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year. "It gives off vanilla, toasted spices, apple, pear and plum notes as well," said Watt. "It's a strong beer, meant for sipping."
4. Hair of the Dog Michael '07 - A tribute to one of the first serious journalists to get behind American brewers, Michael Jackson, this is a Flanders-style beer, using Pilsner, Vienna and Munich malts "that's been slightly fermented then aged in American oak and sherry casks," said Dickie, who also likes the exclusivity of the beer. "It's only available directly from the brewery."
5. Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron - Fermented and aged in two oak tanks built from Paraguayan wood, "this is a fantastic beer that tastes of raisins, dates, cacao powder, and star anise," described Watt. "It's dark and dangerous."
6. Stone Brewing Co. Oaked Arrogant Bastard - "Arrogant Bastard was one of the first big, hoppy American beers I tried and the oaked version adds another layer, juxtaposing smoothness with aggressive bitterness," said Dickie.
Brew Dogs premieres Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 10 p.m. on Esquire Network.