I suppose that if you want to sample some, get a bottle of fullers vintage, thomas Hardy's, and Sierra Nevada Bigfoot.
That would cover Old Ale, English BW and American BW.
From there pick what style/flavor profile you like best, then refer to Brewing Classic Styles for a good recipe starting point.
As far as oak is concerned, I would skip it at first, or do an experiment - make a big batch and split it, half being oaked and half unoaked. It's a great way to see the differences it brings.