The Rare Barrel

The Rare BarrelThe Rare Barrel
The Rare BarrelThe Rare Barrel
Brewery, Bar, Beer-to-go

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

(510) 984-6585 | map

Acquired by Cellarmaker Brewing
View: Beers | Place Reviews
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Rated: 4.36 by Lucnifter from California

May 01, 2022
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Reviewed by GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.11/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4
A bit one-note due to their focus, and on a Sunday afternoon they were clear about trying to get us going, but overall a cool place with good beer. Worth a stop.
Jan 03, 2020
Rated: 4.5 by Montanabeerz from Montana

Nov 15, 2019
Rated: 4.15 by BarrelAgedG from California

Sep 16, 2019
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Reviewed by BerryKumquat from California

4.14/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4
A bar at the end of a parking strip. While the location is odd, the beer selection and choice are usually very good. Their bottle selection can be different from what they have on tap but overall it's a great place to hangout and enjoy a sour.
Apr 27, 2019
Rated: 4.67 by themayorkoch from Ohio

Dec 01, 2018
Rated: 4.72 by bubseymour from Maryland

Oct 04, 2018
Rated: 4.5 by mattmarka1 from Minnesota

Sep 22, 2018
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Reviewed by Zonian1 from Ohio

4.35/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25
Was very excited to visit The Rare Barrel for the first time in June 2018. Spent a couple hours there on a Friday from about 5-7. It's a large warehouse space, and I was very surprised there weren't more people there on a Friday night. After all, this is THE RARE BARREL we're talking about! I asked our bartender, and he said it was typical to have a small crowd on a Friday. Apparently, this location isn't near housing or restaurants, so there's no walk-in traffic. He said the crowds are much bigger on Saturdays and Sundays.

I sampled about 10 beers during my visit. They ranged from good to very good. I didn't learn til the end of my visit that there was a separate tap list for subscriber club members where they keep the better quality offerings. That was a little disappointing when you travel a long way to a brewery and you can't try their best beers even if they are on tap and available.

The day I visited there was a special beer/food pairing available, so I ordered it. Fantastic! The chef created a specific menu to bring out the highlights of a particular beer. In this case, it was a beer brewed specifically for this meal. For $16 I got a small plate of food (pork with a corn chowder--delicious) and a pour of a one-off beer. Absolutely the highlight of my visit. If this is the direction The Rare Barrel is going, that's exciting news for the locals!
Jun 23, 2018
Rated: 4.73 by grapeshops from California

Mar 29, 2018
Rated: 4.19 by Mxsluis from Michigan

Mar 28, 2018
Rated: 3.84 by JimiTheBastard from Nevada

Jan 19, 2018
Rated: 4.5 by atlbravsrno1 from Maine

Jan 14, 2018
Rated: 4.59 by Boilerup from Maryland

Jan 13, 2018
Rated: 4.29 by Rubenjr from California

Dec 14, 2017
Rated: 4.45 by Hophazzard from California

Nov 24, 2017
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Reviewed by elNopalero from Michigan

4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5
I finally made it here! It’s tucked away at the way back of a parking lot/warehouse area, very easy to miss. Once you find it you’re set. Lots, lots, lots of barrels to wander.
Aug 31, 2017
Rated: 4.42 by Spoda1983 from Pennsylvania

Aug 29, 2017
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Reviewed by rustyjaw from California

4.3/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
Large warehouse-like space with plenty of seating and a bar. The majority of the space, beyond the seating area, is taken up with a large number of wooden barrels.

The Rare Barrel has really improved their offerings over the years, originally (years ago) their beers were all fairly similar, but on my last visit, I was treated to a nice variety of sours/wild ales. Among my favorites was Emerald Vision, a blonde sour with cucumber. Super!

The staff is courteous, the crowd is jovial and casual.
Aug 27, 2017
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Reviewed by Frosty11161 from California

4.34/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25
Giant warehouse, can be a bit drafty at times. They need to get more seating as most of it is standing room only. Decent guest beers on tap, but don't expect to stay for dinner, as they only have grilled cheese.
Jun 12, 2017
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Reviewed by lomoshe from California

4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
I love everything about this place. Plenty of seating, laid back but nice atmosphere with all the sour beers you could want. What else could you ask for?!
May 09, 2017
Rated: 4.64 by BMMillsy from Florida

Apr 16, 2017
Rated: 4.28 by epyon396 from Pennsylvania

Mar 22, 2017
Rated: 4.58 by Inglewood from Illinois

Mar 10, 2017
Rated: 4.8 by kylehay2004 from Illinois

Feb 05, 2017
Rated: 4.08 by 22Blue from Kansas

Feb 01, 2017
Rated: 4.38 by CanConPhilly from Pennsylvania

Dec 31, 2016
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Reviewed by SportsandJorts from Virginia

3.67/5  rDev -18.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5
Atmosphere: a warehouse taproom offering views into an endless labyrinth of barrels, a very cool sight. pretty simple and open space.

Quality: Rare barrel has some of the more well received sours in the U.S. and they seem to hold that quality level across the board of beers. However to me there sours are a little to focused on acid and tartness to me, they never quite have a fully developed wild yeast character.

Service: no complaints. they were nice and helpful

Selection: slightly lacking for me. yes I understand they only do sours so that is not what was lacking. all the beers they had available seemed to be in the same point of wild yeast development. the beers I tried here started to blend together.

Overall: a good visit but the beer and variety of beer doesn't quite win me over.
Dec 28, 2016
Rated: 4.65 by kevindp9 from Arizona

Nov 18, 2016
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Reviewed by Zythophile from Washington

4.15/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4
They seem to be going for one thing: showing off the beer from start to finish. It's basically a bar in a warehouse. Service is good. There's a line, and it moves. Staff is friendly and helpful. Check, check, check.

It's not that loud (which is great), there's lots of space (which is great), and there are some nice furnishings (which is great). I guess it's about as welcoming as it could be, but if I wanted a place to bring some friends from out of town, this might not be it.

Selection on tap is really good, but I have to dock 'em for only having one food option while I was there. I mean, it was a really tasty cheese sandwich, but a few more ingredients will get you to three or four sandwiches.
Sep 06, 2016
Rated: 5 by datpingao from California

Aug 01, 2016
Rated: 3.96 by StoutBoi from New York

Jun 26, 2016
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Reviewed by busternuggz from California

3.23/5  rDev -27.9%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.25
I was very much looking forward to visiting this brewery after hearing all the positive things local beer nerds had to say about it, and went there with some friends on a brewery road trip. I was disappointed in the experience though. The interior was dreary and dark, I felt like I was in a goth club. The stools were high and uncomfortable and the decor was stark and boring.
They had 4 of their beers on tap and a few guest beers, and a few of their bottles that weren't on tap. Beers and limited snack selection were expensive, but it's a sour beer brewery in Berkeley, so I expected that. We tried all of their beers they had on tap and I was unimpressed. They all tasted like the same one-note sour blonde, just with different adjuncts. The staff was fine and courteous, no complaints there. There was kind of a long line but they moved as fast as they could.
I know other places gave them much better reviews, so perhaps I am in the minority. Take it with a grain of salt, I'm not trying to be a troll I just didn't like the experience. I liked Fieldwork a lot more.
Jun 22, 2016
Rated: 4.66 by kkdowning from Pennsylvania

Jun 02, 2016
Rated: 4.18 by billab914 from Virginia

May 05, 2016
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Reviewed by dbannister from California

4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
I have to add a disclaimer that I'm a member of Rare Barrel's Ambassador club.
This place is one of my favorite breweries in the Bay Area.
Ambiance - Great. They have a lot of seating options including a nice couch to hang back on. Always has nice people who are there to enjoy the beer.
The beer selection is always top notch. They always have selections from other brewers like Cellarmaker or Society IPA's which helps me given my wife doesn't care for sours. Their sours are always very good quality.

If you are visiting the Bay Area, I'd definitely say make this a place to visit. Its reasonably close to BART (subway) so you can easily go there from San Francisco.
May 04, 2016
Rated: 4.51 by FLBeerGuy from Florida

Apr 25, 2016
Rated: 4.64 by BartS from California

Apr 24, 2016
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Reviewed by ONovoMexicano from New Mexico

3.94/5  rDev -12.1%
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.
Apr 11, 2016
Rated: 4.75 by BarleyAndBrett from California

Mar 26, 2016
The Rare Barrel in Berkeley, CA
Brewery rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 4518 ratings