Visited on Friday 29/01/16 not long after opening and found the place pretty busy already.
Industrial unit/warehouse set up, effectively a corner of the plot dedicated to a tap room with some high bench and low table seating areas. Perhaps a dozen beers on tap, 2 guests, the rest Rare Barrel and a couple of bottles to go ... circa $20+ per bottle. Service was pretty expedient and friendly. After 2 or 3 Rare Barrel beers they tend to get a bit the same and the acidic levels start to tire the palate somewhat. The only other íall sourí kind of venue Iíve visited is the Wicked Weed Funkatorium and I didnít have this issue there, their beers were much more varied and nuanced in terms of acidic level and flavour profile. Donít get me wrong - I like me an RB sour but quickly tired of the same flavour profile and acidity level after a couple. Food was in the form of grilled cheese sandwiches which were reasonably priced, circa $5, and damn tasty.
Overall ... I wouldnít rush back here, itís fine but the beers were just too samey for me, would depend if I had other places I wanted to check out in the area and the fact that they donít do tasting flights also goes against this place for me.
Came on a Saturday mid day. Busy place. But still prompt service and quick. got the sampler. Nice glassware here. They donít really have bottles for sale. Kinda spendy for bottles too. Good beers, no food for sale, and nice people. Itíll be better once Rare Barrel has more beers to offer
Dogg, if you donít know about The Rare Barrel, GTFO of beer right now. What kind of beer is good? Rare beer. Barrel aged beer. Especially beer that falls into both categories. So would a brewery called the Rare Barrel be good? Have you been paying attention? Check this out. Theyíre all like, we donít distribute you clown. You want our shit? Join our freaking club or get your ticker ass over to our spot in hippieland. If you canít do that, enjoy your Sierra Nevada seasonals dude, Iím sure theyíre a solid 4/5 on mouthfeel. Here theyíve got like 7 TRB beers on tap and some guest taps from Cellarmaker and whatnot in case the wild yeast is screwing with your GI tract. The ambiance is crazy legit, warehousy but nice, rustic elegant if you will (wife loves that term). Best of all, you can bring your baby here while you get wasted. Food is deece but they could stand to offer more options.
An interesting spot. The ítaproomí is really just a dedicated corner of the warehouse, so the ambiance...airy warehouse. Thereís a good range of beers on offer, but as I recall they donít do ísmall poursí. There were only one or two bottles for sale, priced rather dearly at c. $25 a pop. I enjoy Rare Barrel beers, but this visit to the brewery taproom caused me to realize just how acidic they are. After working my way through a few of the beers, it became quite hard going; my esophagus and stomach took a mighty beating that day. Anyway, I will continue to drink Rare Barrel, but in small doses. The staff here was friendly enough. The food offering is simple: grilled cheese. I had one, and it was very good. I suppose Rare Barrel is something of a key destination given its reputation, but I couldnít see myself spending a lot of time in this taproom.
Huge open tap room on one side of a huge warehouse kind of bulding. Rows and rows of barrels behind a barricade, and the bar and small kitchen are off to the side. Clean and modern look, with tile and concrete and wood. The tap room has good space for whatever crowd is there. The problem is that Google Maps took us to the other side of the building, so you may have to drive around to find the parking lot by the tap room door. There are about 10-12 house taps at any time and no guests. The beers here are incredibly sour and have a very similar character across the board, so if youíre having more than 1 or 2, or trying to sample, it can be exhausting. Prices are on the higher side, but in line with expectations. 2 bottles were available to go while we were there. The only food item is a grilled cheese sandwich for $5; it was good but wouldnít mind another choice or two. Iíd definitely visit here (along with Fieldwork and Torpedo Room and possibly others) if youíre in Berkeley, but their early reputation outpaces the in-house experience.
Pretty cool location with a huge amount of barrels. We had the luck to stop by the day after some kind of event, so they had 10 of their own beers available on draft as well as two or three guests and two of their own bottles. A bit pricy though, both for the bottles and the pours. If youíre a bigger group, itís worth stopping by to share some pours as they donít do flights. Beer quality is pretty high, but gets repetetive as theyíre all quite sour and similar. They would need to be more complex to be world class. Interior is spacious and modern, but would however need a few heaters as it was a bit chilly. Service was pretty fast and nice. Didnít try the food but thereís grilled cheese and whatnot available. Close to the Torpedo Room and not that far from Fieldwork either. Worth stoping by, but bring some Tums.
Open space, quite dark. Iím not sure what vibe theyíre going for, but it was far too dark in here I felt. Loads of barrels around. Service staff walk past us three times at the side bar, even while bringing things to people seated next to us, so I finally had to go up to the main bar to order. No pours smaller than the full pour, which is a bit of a hassle, but I guess with only 6 of their beers on youíre on a known quantity of beer to work through and a known monetary expenditure, and itís probably easier with a party of people who you could share with. If youíre a local this is probably fine since I imagine theyíre not going through too much in a quick fashion, but out of town youíre looking at a growlers worth of beer in a sitting if you want to try everything. Food menu is grilled cheese for $5, and nothing else.Only one bottled offering available, Map of the Sun at $25/per, and as great a beer as it is, with limited carry space, it didnít seem worth it, espcially as it was also on tap. Cold and imprersonal. Both figuratively and literally. After going to Fieldwork with their directional space heaters, it was downright chilly in the tasting space here, and with our coats on we were still close to shivering.
If this was a local place, for sure Iíd be here regularly. But as a destination, it was downright dissapointing. The beers were great, as expected, but trying all six when I went ran $49 due to the lack of sample pours or flights. Sure, youíre ending up with 6 full pours at that price point, but for trying 6 beers and then deciding what youíd like to drink, I feel like it shouldnít cost $50 and a stomach investment of 72 ounces. And for the time invested, thereís definitely better options with a higher number of interesting things available. If youíve got time to do both, Iíd go here and Fieldwork. If youíve only got time for one, Iíd probably just go to Fieldwork. More beers, better service, better scene, wider variety of beers. So overall, good but quite the let down.
Visited the 21th November 2015 - Good place to visit. Really noisy and crowned. Beer selection is amazing. Ambiance is ok, your are on the heart of the brewery but not at the best for this kind of place. Good place to visit but not the best one.