I went to the Chinook Tavern and tried a pretty different (and expensive) beer -- Fuller's Vintage 2004, a limited edition beer in a numbered bottle (mine was something like 90034) that comes in a box to help keep light away from the hops. It's bottle conditioned, like a homebrew, meaning it is allowed to keep fermenting and naturally carbonate in the bottle. Only 95,000 bottles were made (so Chinook Tavern has some of the last, evidently), and the brewer suggests that this beer can be stored and aged like a wine. Definitely different from your normal ale, which is ready to drink sooner than a lager would be.
Well, obviously I didn't wait a few years to see how the beer matured in the bottle. I thought it was very smooth from the aging, with a mild spiciness from the hops I don't usually expect from an English strong ale. But I didn't think it was incredibly better than a homebrewed English ale. If I want to try a seriously aged ale, I figure I'll just try something someone has brewed at home and kept around for a few years.