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The Rare Barrel

YOUR RATING = None |
BEER AVG
4.2/5
BEER STATS
Beers:
44
Reviews:
239
Ratings:
2,634
PLACE STATS
Place Score:
95
Reviews:
29
Ratings:
120
Avg:
4.38
pDev:
3.88%
 
 
Taps:
0
Bottles/Cans:
0
Cask:
N
Beer-to-Go:
Y
The Rare BarrelThe Rare Barrel
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar

940 Parker St
Berkeley, California, 94710-2524
United States

(510) 984-6585 | map
www.therarebarrel.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by pmarlowe on 10-18-2013

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View: Beers | Place Ratings | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 120
Reviews by bram325:
Photo of bram325
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of FLBeerGuy
4.51/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

Photo of BartS
4.64/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.94/5  rDev -10%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Cool space with a ton of barrels to look at. They'll have good beers for sale and bottles to go.

A complaint I have about this place as opposed to other places is that they don't do small pours or flights, so you either have to settle for a tiny taster or a full pour at a minimum of $8-9. That's a bit of a bummer.

Some nice swag for sale and the people serving are nice enough and the beers are good, although some of them are sour as all hell.

 450 characters

Photo of BarleyAndBrett
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Alequine
3.92/5  rDev -10.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25

Warehouse brewer in a small industrial type building buttressed by two other buildings to the left and right with the parking lot out back. No outdoor space. I'm not a fan of breweries that do not incorporate building plans without some type of outdoor space. When I drink I sometimes like to have a cigar. Here your smoking area is the parking lot - 100 feet away from the front of the building so you are smoking behind parked cars. The inside is lavish, the crowd young and hipster which reflects the seating spaces and congregating areas which were decorated with couches - minimizing two to four party sitting space. Couldn't have a flight so had a glass of one of their sours. Love sours. The sour I had was underwhelming and so was the welcome there by the staff. It felt underwhelming. So I left.

 814 characters

Photo of Piglet_rulz_da_yard
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75

Photo of SanFranJake
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Dropped in yesterday with a buddy who is an Ambassador.
We got there at 12:15 on a Sunday and not a soul in sight so we weren't sure if they were open or not and luckily they were.
Had the place to ourselves for 20 minutes or so and being my first time there, loved the experience.
Great open space with tons of barrels creating a nice feel to an otherwise open warehouse.
Maybe 15-20 seats at the bar, a few raised bar tables and couch-like setting sprinkled around the floor to allow for an enjoyable experience without standing in crammed quarters.
RB tap list was, as expected, awesome, as was their guest list.
Wish they had more than grilled cheese on the food offerings but then again, I was there for the beer.

 723 characters

Photo of BarrytheBear
4.03/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Photo of Frobert_Reynolds
3.78/5  rDev -13.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Photo of reggggg
4.05/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of MachIPA
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Rddayson
5/5  rDev +14.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of amano_h
4.68/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25

Yet another establishment where the beers speak for themselves so I'll focus on the more yelp-oriented details.

Yes, it's way the heck out of the main area in Berkeley. But I don't care.

Yes, they only serve grilled cheese as their (finger) food option. But I don't care.

Yes, you're severely limited in terms of takeout beer options unless you're an exclusive member of the Ambassadors of Sour. But frankly, I don't care about that either.

What I do care about is the fact that despite all the beergeek hype surrounding this place, the people are extremely humble and passionate about beer and most importantly, the community. Perhaps it's due to the fact that it's located a little off from the main Berkeley, but even the patrons here are decidedly more down-to-earth and easygoing than the ones you find at some of the more student-oriented bars downtown (e.g. Pappy's, Eureka).

Okay fine, so I'm fumbling around the dark here, but I first came here on my birthday and despite the fact that there were about seven of us, Rare Barrel were very accommodating despite it being a busy Thursday night; they even recommended some good places to grab a bite in the neighborhood and apologized for their lack of food choices and all three of the beer servers at the counter comped me a drink each -- who the hell even does that anymore?

As long as they never change who they are, the Rare Barrel can take all my money and keep it.

 1,432 characters

Photo of captaincoffee
4.19/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75

Very laid back place with the typical industrial feel of many newer Cali breweries. Pretty crowded despite showing up right after opening and within a few minutes of getting my beers the line was very long. Beer is really excellent, but popularity is getting to the place.

 274 characters

Photo of gfunk1121
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of rodbeermunch
4.04/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Outside its shitty Berkeley, inside its smoothed out stone and wood fixtures. Quality is top notch, it does get a little troubling if you drink nothing but their sours, acidic can tear your insides up.

Service has always been good the few times I've been there. Everyone friendly, very important. Selection is good, usually some Cellarmaker stuff too.

 355 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4.14/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of bouncepass
4.76/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of W_Des
5/5  rDev +14.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Stopped by while exploring Berkeley. I really like this place. It was a really laid-back comfortable atmosphere as you enter and hang out. The bar tenders are attentive and prompt and the beer selection is great with a selection of guest taps to go along with the Rare Barrel sours which was really perfect to grab an IPA as a break in between the great sours. If you are in the Bay area definitely try to make your way out here.

 429 characters

Photo of pmangold
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

stopped in while on vacation. the selection was great, the staff was helpful and the beers were EXCELLENT. if you're into sours this is a must stop. They didn't have any bottles for sale to go, but a member hooked me up big time as I was leaving

 248 characters

Photo of frasergrove
4.26/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

The brewery is expansive, yet manages to be somewhat tucked away into the landscape, because Rare Barrel uses minimal signage. I was surprised just how big the place is, plenty of room for barrels! The tasting area is essentially a partitioned area of the warehouse -- chill, though can get surprisingly busy (considering it isnt exactly close to BART). The quality is superb; while most offering are wild ales, there are a handful of other non-sour options, all quality. The service is quite friendly and helpful. All around great place!

 543 characters

Photo of Coldstorage
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75

Great vibe. Big room that is a comfortable temperature and plenty of seating. If it's not a special event you will likely find enough room to be comfortable. Great that they allow outside food... nice to have a TRB picnic with friends.

Quality is top notch. They are not a very diverse place but what they do, they do very well.

Service is always friendly... but sometimes overly so. It's frustrating to be 6-7 people back in line while they slowly fill a glass and then have a long conversation with the customer. Dinged .75 points for not always keeping it moving.

Selection is where they have the most room to grow. Even as an "all sour beer" company, it's still possible to be more diverse than they are. Seem to be in a rut with their golden base + fruit and always one or two hibiscus variants on. Hope they can broaden that. The guest taps are always well curated though and provide nice contrast to their own beers so cheers for that!

There isn't a field where this is relevant but these guys are probably about 50% overpriced. Boggles my mind that I can get a world class imported Gueuze that has been through 3 tier distribution for 2/3 the price of a sour beer made locally and bought from the source. People keep paying it so they have no reason to change but I find myself taking less and less of each allocation because my budget cannot go to TRB alone.

 1,371 characters

Photo of Barracudas
4.25/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

The place is very close to San Francisco, one can even visit to very good breweries in one trip to Berkeley.

This is a very good stop for lovers of craft beer!

 160 characters

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The Rare Barrel in Berkeley, CA
95 out of 100 based on 29 ratings.