The Rare Barrel | Berkeley, California
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The Rare Barrel
Exceptional based on 10 ratings
Type: Brewery (see listing)

940 Parker St
Berkeley, California United States 94710 [ print map ]
510 984 6585 | facebook | twitter

Hours: Friday 4-10 p.m., Saturday 2-10 p.m.

Mayor: bytemesis (6) | Taps: 12 |

The Rare Barrel

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Beer Available At The Rare Barrel (arranged by most recent)
Cellarmaker One Year Later , The Rare Barrel Becoming , The Rare Barrel Echo Series: Hypnotized , The Rare Barrel Cosmic Dust 72, The Rare Barrel Map of the Sun 95, The Rare Barrel Egregious 95, The Rare Barrel Forces Unseen 81, The Rare Barrel Sourtooth Tiger 91, The Rare Barrel On the Shoulders of Giants , The Rare Barrel Grainstaís Paradise , The Rare Barrel Consigliere 85, The Rare Barrel Fields Forever 93, The Rare Barrel Happy Place , The Rare Barrel Isla Vista Love , The Rare Barrel Proportional Response 84, The Rare Barrel Scott Tenorman , The Rare Barrel All Systems Go 89, The Rare Barrel Gose Without Saying , The Rare Barrel Home, Sour Home 89, The Rare Barrel Wise Guise 93
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10 reviews for The Rare Barrel
 Ambiance  82%
 Service  79%
 Selection  77%
 Food  75%
 Value  54%
 Overall  76%
 Rating  84%
Rating Distribution

  AMBIANCE 4/5   SERVICE 8/10   SELECTION 12/15   FOOD N/A   VALUE 6/10   OVERALL 13/20
CLevar  (13) Minnesota | October 12, 2014
Cool warehouse like building with TONS of barrels stacked up (6 high in some places!). Pretty nice serving area that opens up into the brewery itself, which is pretty neat. 4 sours on tap (Usually 6 maybe?) plus a number of guest beers. The house beers were good, not great, but itís really nice to see more people working on sours. Prices seemed a bit steep for the pours, and it would have been nice to have smaller pour options (especially if they had all 6 sours on tap!) There was food available, sandwiches and hippy salad, also with a fairly steep price point attached but it did look quite good. Id go back if only to see how their beers evolve over time.
  AMBIANCE 5/5   SERVICE 9/10   SELECTION 13/15   FOOD N/A   VALUE 7/10   OVERALL 16/20
Bacterial  (63) Twin Cities, Minnesota | October 5, 2014
What a cool place. Big, open, airy. Lots of servers on a Sunday afternoon who were helpful and nice. I didnít try the food, though some is available. They had 4 sours on (had run out of 2 the day before without bothering to hook up something new, still 4 sours is pretty good, but not quite what I was hoping for). Several guest taps for folks who donít like sour things.
  AMBIANCE 5/5   SERVICE 9/10   SELECTION 13/15   FOOD 8/10   VALUE 6/10   OVERALL 17/20
BMan1113VR  (379) Los Angeles, California | May 28, 2014
Very large space out in Berkeley. Not too far from the Torpedo Room. Very pretty, slightly packed bar. Plenty of parking. The food/sandwiches were surprisingly tasty and the beers were unsurprisingly excellent. Prices are definitely on the high side, but the quality matches it. Several guest taps as well from The Bruery, Societie, and Beachwood. Iíll definitely return.
  AMBIANCE 5/5   SERVICE 8/10   SELECTION 12/15   FOOD N/A   VALUE 4/10   OVERALL 16/20
tiong  (80) Espoo, Finland | May 11, 2014| Updated May 12, 2014
A modern brewhouse located in the industrial/residential area in North Berkeley. A bit of a walk away from the nearest BART station, but if you visit the nearby Torpedo Room as well, itís not that bad. And you can take a bus back to central Oakland from a nearby bus stop and continue to Beer Revolution and The Trappist easily.

Large open space loaded up with barrels and brewing equipment, with a tasting area in the corner. Around 8 of their own beers available and a few guests too. Pretty expensive prices, they only served 10oz with $7-8 for each pour. Beers were pretty good, but a bit too similar, vinegary sours. Quite unique though. A promising start for these guys.
  AMBIANCE 4/5   SERVICE 8/10   SELECTION 10/15   FOOD N/A   VALUE 6/10   OVERALL 15/20
joeneugs  (148) Livermore, California | April 6, 2014
I visited here back in mid February. The place is a huge industrial building set back from the street in the middle of Berkeley. Like others have mentioned, I can only imagine how much capital these guys had to have to open this place. The tasting room area is pretty small in proportion to the rest of the building. Thereís a nice bar with some small tables and chairs and more community sized tables near the front. It was a fairly comfortable place to have a few beers. The service was really good despite being busy. The guy at the bar gladly gave us two glasses to share the beers since they donít do flights. The prices were high, but reasonable for sours I guess. I loved the idea of an all sour brewery, but I found myself wishing they did some standard beers as well. As for the valueÖ well, these arenít world class level sours yet. Most of them were pretty vinegary and lacked the style and character of some of the best. None were terrible though. Hopefully as the brewery matures, so will the beers. I know the owners are passionate about sours, thatís for sure. Overall, this is a pretty cool place with a lot of potential. Hopefully theyíll reach it. For now, as my brother-in-law said, this seems like a bunch of guys with more money than skill.
  AMBIANCE 3/5   SERVICE 8/10   SELECTION 12/15   FOOD N/A   VALUE 7/10   OVERALL 16/20
bytemesis  (387) Sunnyvale, California | February 8, 2014
Stopped in at opening on the day of their first ever bottle release. Lots of people inside, but it was all relatively unchaotic. Bottle line was maybe 150 people, with another 30+ in the bar area. I got a couple of pours and picked up my founders stuff, enjoyed my beers and then stood at the back of the line for maybe 35 minutes to pick up my SKUs Me bottle. Kinda nice. I bet its not like this in a year! Space is wide open warehouse style with a bar and a small kitchen on one side, a few barrel tables and some normal ones, barrels everywhere as you might expect. This place has a good vibe to it, and I think it is going to really blossom once they get things rolling. I will say they did a pretty good job with the bottle release.
  AMBIANCE 4/5   SERVICE 10/10   SELECTION 12/15   FOOD 7/10   VALUE 7/10   OVERALL 16/20
AdamJackson  (186) Enfield, New Hampshire | January 26, 2014
This joint is literally in an old warehouse like every other SOMA / Oakland startup Iíve ever worked in. The one thing I canít get over while here is that these guys had a HUGE amount of capital to get started. The footprint of the building alone is at least 500-1 million bucks, brew house looks new and not used, and to have over 100 barrels, very mic walk in cooler, taps, well staffed and food I mean this was a few million to get started. Impressive but considering how the beers are, Iím not impressed by the product. Tasting area was very crowded, prices werenít too bad, the turkey sandwich was good and the staff was actually pretty nice. Parking street & in the lot is easy. The crowd is very hipster. I overheard someone talking about "IPAs are so 2010. sour beer is all I drink now" which was vomit inducing to me...seriously? Anyway, I was here for a few hours would return again for the ticks.
  AMBIANCE 4/5   SERVICE 6/10   SELECTION 9/15   FOOD N/A   VALUE 4/10   OVERALL 13/20
italarican  (74) Winston-Salem, North Carolina | January 4, 2014
Industrial modern look from cutting off an area of the brewery to make a tasting room. Gets crowded in that cramped space, but they maximize table and shelf space for drinks in that space, which was nice. Service was efficient if not slightly cold.

The beer itself was somewhat disappointing. Most were crossing the line into vinegar bombs, which made many of the offerings taste the same. When I was finished, I felt the beers were closer to Cascade quality-- solid but not world class-- but that I actually would prefer Cascade. Thereís nothing wrong with that, but at 7/8 a pop and the marketing around all the process going into that "rare barrel" that we would put our beers into, it falls short of what theyíre advertising.

I donít really see going back given the pricing (and lack of samples) compared to both the overall beer quality and the similarities between all the beers. Iíd be more than willing to have another beer from them, but itís not something Iíd go out of my way for.

Went with my wife and her sisters while visiting for Christmas.
  AMBIANCE 4/5   SERVICE 7/10   SELECTION 12/15   FOOD N/A   VALUE 5/10   OVERALL 16/20
brokensail  (866) Orange County, California | January 3, 2014
Was really looking forward to coming here. Iíll cut some slack since it was their opening day and all that jazz. It was pretty packed, but I was a loser and got there right at opening so I was able to get beers before things got too crowded. Not a ton of space to sit, but a bar ledge around the outside of the tasting area, some barrel tables, a bar, and a few other tables. They had 8 house beers, some guest beers, and some wines. They serve food too, apparently.

House beers were all $7 or $8 for "10" oz pours. No small tastes, no half pours, no flights...I guess I can understand for the opening day, but weíll see if that changes. Service was surprisingly good for how crowded it was.

The beers themselves were all pretty good, but all were on the acetic side. I did, however, appreciate that theyíre all <6%.

Iíll be back on my subsequent trips up north and will have to see how things progress.
  AMBIANCE 3/5   SERVICE 6/10   SELECTION 11/15   FOOD N/A   VALUE 2/10   OVERALL 15/20
t0rin0  (1382) Do Not Resuscitate, California | December 31, 2013| Updated January 21, 2014
Visited December 27, 2013.

Iíll start off with the positive: they make pretty good beer. Now, they subscribe to the American Vinegar Style Ale concept but what they make is pretty good. I particularly liked the strawberry and the apricot. The blackberry was nice and tasted like raw berries even if it wasnít noticeably sour. The others were interesting though Iím not a big fan (most of the time) of roasty sour beers. All that is to say that they make good stuff and I wouldnít mind drinking more of it, if it wasnít so damned expensive... which leads me to the negatives:

-expensive as all hell. Everything is in 10oz glasses, which arenít 10 oz pours. They are in 10.5 oz glasses (itís a great glass) but with head and low filling there is no way I was getting an honest 10 oz. $7 for a non-fruited beer and $8 for the fruited choices. Seriously? And you donít do flights? Or even let me taste something to decide if I want to commit to basically a dollar an ounce. Thatís garbage. And itís not like itís even a real bar. They hide behind the tasting room license but theyíre charging bar prices, trying to create a bar ambiance, itís a freakin bar.
-Itís not close to anything. I mean, itís only a couple miles from Shattuck and that whole area but if youíre not driving itís 1.75 miles hiking from the nearest BART station (Ashby). There is a bus (72 I think) that runs near here but late in the evening it doesnít run all that often.
-Speaking of late in the evening, they close at 10. Not terrible especially since this isnít a bar, but a tasting room, even though itís really a bar. My issue is not with the time itself but the fact that on opening night, 5 minutes before closing they were herding people out. At 10 on the dot they came to our table and told us to leave. Hmm. Iím not looking for special treatment but 10 minutes earlier you sold me a drink, so why canít I spend an extra 5 minutes to finish it?
-Hipster. I guess itís better than the usual fat bearded losers that are all over a beer event but, ugh.

Please either drop the prices or make crappy beer so I donít have to care anymore.

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