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The Rare Barrel

Your Rating: None
The Rare BarrelThe Rare Barrel
BA SCORE
4.18/5
Exceptional
3,588 Ratings
The Rare BarrelThe Rare Barrel
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Beer-to-go

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

(510) 984-6585 | map
therarebarrel.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by pmarlowe on 10-18-2013

BEER STATS
Beers:
58
Reviews:
350
Ratings:
3,588
PLACE STATS
BA Score:
4.49/5
Reviews:
38
Ratings:
141
pDev:
7.57%
 
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 141 |  Reviews: 38
Photo of elNopalero
4.7/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

 180 characters

Photo of Spoda1983
4.42/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of rustyjaw
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

 498 characters

Photo of Frosty11161
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

 211 characters

Photo of lomoshe
4.97/5  rDev +10.7%
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?!

 156 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
4.64/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of epyon396
4.28/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Inglewood
4.58/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of kylehay2004
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of 22Blue
4.08/5  rDev -9.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of CanConPhilly
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.67/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

 800 characters

Photo of kevindp9
4.65/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Zythophile
4.15/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

 705 characters

Photo of HaoleToYouToo
4.51/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

Photo of datpingao
5/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of StoutBoi
3.96/5  rDev -11.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Photo of busternuggz
3.23/5  rDev -28.1%
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.

 1,073 characters

Photo of kkdowning
4.66/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of billab914
4.18/5  rDev -6.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of dbannister
4.97/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

 680 characters

Photo of FLBeerGuy
4.51/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

Photo of BartS
4.64/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.94/5  rDev -12.2%
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 +5.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

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The Rare Barrel in Berkeley, CA
Brewery rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 3,588 ratings
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