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The Rare Barrel

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BEER AVG
4.2/5
The Rare BarrelThe Rare Barrel
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar

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

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BEER STATS
Beers:
46
Reviews:
291
Ratings:
3,026
PLACE STATS
Score:
95
Reviews:
32
Ratings:
129
Avg:
4.36
pDev:
4.59%
 
 
Taps:
0
Bottles/Cans:
0
Cask:
N
Beer-to-Go:
Y
View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 129
Reviews by bram325:
Photo of bram325
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of kevindp9
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Zythophile
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
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 +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

Photo of datpingao
5/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of StoutBoi
3.96/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Photo of busternuggz
3.23/5  rDev -25.9%
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.

 1,073 characters

Photo of kkdowning
4.66/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of billab914
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of dbannister
4.97/5  rDev +14%
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 +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

Photo of BartS
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.94/5  rDev -9.6%
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 +8.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Alequine
3.92/5  rDev -10.1%
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 -0.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75

Photo of SanFranJake
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
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
4.06/5  rDev -6.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Photo of Frobert_Reynolds
3.78/5  rDev -13.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Photo of reggggg
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of MachIPA
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Rddayson
5/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of amano_h
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
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
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | 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 +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

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The Rare Barrel in Berkeley, CA
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,026 ratings.
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