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The Rare Barrel

Not Rated.
The Rare BarrelThe Rare Barrel
Based on:
36 Beers
2,147 Hads
Place Score: 95
Reviews: 21
Visits: 100
Avg: 4.36
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar ]

940 Parker St
Berkeley, California, 94710-2524
United States
phone: (510) 984-6585

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @therarebarrel

Place added by: pmarlowe on 10-18-2013

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Reviews: 21 | Visits: 100
Reviews by bram325:
Photo of bram325
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of frasergrove
4.26/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
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 -0.5%
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 -2.5%
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

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.01/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

-Minimalist. A bar with metal stools, some hardwood tables with metal chairs. That is all.
-Oh, plus a HUGE F****** WAREHOUSE FULL OF BARRELS! F*** YES! Seriously huge space, probably 50 ft. tall ceilings, chock full of barrels housing delicious yummy sour beer nectar. Awesome to witness. They ain't f'n 'round 'round here.
-Very dim, however. Even in the tasting area it was not well lit. Not for ambiance/to set the mood, it was just plain dark. The beer is all in lightproof barrels, no need to worry about oxidation, just let me see what's going on!
-Beers are great. You gotta like sour or content yourself to some guest beers/wines, however.
-Only food is grilled cheese. Which is hilarious. Didn't try it, looks like it'd be good. Really, how do you mess up grilled cheese? Sadly, this probably means you can't bring in your own food. I don't know for sure though, so I won't knock them on my score.
-Service was good. A bit of chit-chat going on, plus resting bitch-faces, but they still got the beers flowing in a timely manner.

A sour-head's dream. Not world class, but really damn good, and for fair prices. Good for a good beer, but I can't imagine hanging out here for an extended amount of time, what with virtually no food and only sours on tap.

 1,262 characters

Photo of DudeBeerYaBro
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

Photo of JaredSammy
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Great place for American wild ales. Huge parking lot for Berkeley. Massive interior.

84 characters

Photo of bostonbeans
4.58/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Photo of BeerBucks
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25

Photo of BDeibs
4.09/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

The sour beer quality is really great and they have a small selection on tap which I assume is a product of being a fairly new brewery with a club to support. Wonderful tulip stemware was used for every pour. I love that they only offer one food item and it is a grilled cheese which is really good and I highly recommend ordering it!

 336 characters

Photo of SFCraft
4.74/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Anaxagoris
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Photo of Resuin
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4

Photo of Jdizzy92
4.58/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Went here when they first open and been a fan of the place ever since. For me, they make the best sours here in NorCal and I even joined their Ambassador club. The place is roomy but gets crowded around an hour after they open and it dies down a couple hours before they close. The people that work there are great and very knowledgeable. I will be coming here for years to come.

 379 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4

Photo of netllama
4.11/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Really nice vibe in the tasting room. They seem to have around 5 of their brews on tap at all times (always rotating), plus an equal number of guest beers. Definitely get there early, as the place was completely packed by mid afternoon on a Saturday.

 252 characters

Photo of Mtnlvr
4.66/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Home, sour home was my favorite. All the beers were unique and good.

68 characters

Photo of EdrickCS
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4

Photo of Mburk
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of cducap
4.9/5  rDev +12.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

Photo of Rubalaca
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Tucquan
4.09/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Great beer in a relaxing atmosphere. No table service but the folks at the walk-up bar are fast and friendly. Only food is a grilled cheese sandwich.

149 characters

Photo of BenHesk12
3.95/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25

Rare barrel has a small tap room in west berkeley and the brewery has been getting a lot of buzz lately being a sour-only brewery. The tap room itself is located inside the brewing facility and has almost a winery look to it with the walls of barrels just beyond the tasting room. The beer is high quality but here the things that prevent me from really loving this place:

-membership fees - why have an exclusive brewery? the brewery is brand new and should be gaining market share not starting out with a membership model.

-price - I know breweries in urban areas have to charge more money, but the beer on tap here is expensive, and 22oz bottles are over $20 each.

-no tasting flights - maybe this will change in the future but currently they only offer full glasses of beer, making it impossible to try all the beers in one sitting. This makes it seem more like a bar than a tasting room or a brewery.

Fans of sour beers will be delighted. Worth checking out but not somewhere I would visit often.

 1,013 characters

Photo of Sixpoint
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

outstanding place - you would never think such epic feats of fermentation are happening within this warehouse, but they are - this one is a gem!

144 characters

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The Rare Barrel in Berkeley, CA
95 out of 100 based on 21 ratings.