McMenamins has been barrel-aging its beer for a while, which makes sense given the company makes some of the state's better spirits at its two distilleries, and has freshly emptied whiskey and rum barrels stacked up like cordwood. They've tasked the brewers at several of their operations with small-batch experimentation—McMenamins has small crews brewing at 17 Oregon pubs—developing 15 barreled beers in the process. I tried them all last week (details at, falling hard for the 2012 Night Court Barleywine. Night Court started as Barley Legal barleywine, getting a dose of whole vanilla beans and spending time in Three Rocks Rum American oak barrels until it mellowed. It's exquisite: a silky smooth caramel-coated toffee that's sweet and rich without being cloying. This is my new all-time favorite McMenamins beer, and I've had a lot of them. Recommended.