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

View: Beers | Place Reviews
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4.36 by Lucnifter from California on May 01, 2022
Photo of GuyFawkes
4.11/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4
by GuyFawkes from Illinois

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
4.5 by Montanabeerz from Montana on Nov 15, 2019
4.15 by BarrelAgedG from California on Sep 16, 2019
Photo of BerryKumquat
4.14/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4
by BerryKumquat from California

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
4.67 by themayorkoch from Ohio on Dec 01, 2018
4.72 by bubseymour from Maryland on Oct 04, 2018
4.5 by mattmarka1 from Minnesota on Sep 22, 2018
Photo of Zonian1
4.35/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25
by Zonian1 from Ohio

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
4.73 by grapeshops from California on Mar 29, 2018
4.19 by Mxsluis from Michigan on Mar 28, 2018
3.84 by JimiTheBastard from Nevada on Jan 19, 2018
4.5 by atlbravsrno1 from New Hampshire on Jan 14, 2018
4.59 by Boilerup from Maryland on Jan 13, 2018
4.29 by Rubenjr from California on Dec 14, 2017
4.45 by Hophazzard from California on Nov 24, 2017
Photo of elNopalero
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5
by elNopalero from California

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
4.42 by Spoda1983 from Pennsylvania on Aug 29, 2017
Photo of rustyjaw
4.3/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
by rustyjaw from California

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
Photo of Frosty11161
4.34/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25
by Frosty11161 from California

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
Photo of lomoshe
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
by lomoshe from California

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
4.64 by BMMillsy from Florida on Apr 16, 2017
4.28 by epyon396 from Pennsylvania on Mar 22, 2017
4.58 by Inglewood from Illinois on Mar 10, 2017
4.8 by kylehay2004 from Illinois on Feb 05, 2017
4.08 by 22Blue from Kansas on Feb 01, 2017
4.38 by CanConPhilly from Pennsylvania on Dec 31, 2016
Photo of SportsandJorts
3.67/5  rDev -18.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5
by SportsandJorts from Virginia

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
4.65 by kevindp9 from Arizona on Nov 18, 2016
Photo of Zythophile
4.15/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4
by Zythophile from District of Columbia

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
5 by datpingao from California on Aug 01, 2016
3.96 by StoutBoi from New York on Jun 26, 2016
Photo of busternuggz
3.23/5  rDev -27.9%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.25
by busternuggz from California

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
4.66 by kkdowning from Pennsylvania on Jun 02, 2016
4.18 by billab914 from Virginia on May 05, 2016
Photo of dbannister
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
by dbannister from California

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
4.51 by FLBeerGuy from Florida on Apr 25, 2016
4.64 by BartS from California on Apr 24, 2016
Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.94/5  rDev -12.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5
by ONovoMexicano from New Mexico

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
4.75 by BarleyAndBrett from California on Mar 26, 2016
The Rare Barrel in Berkeley, CA
Brewery rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 4523 ratings