The Rare Barrel

My previous Bay Area trip in December 2013 was about two weeks before The Rare Barrel opened. A bit of a bummer, but I figured it would encourage me to visit again sooner rather than later. Took a little over a year, but I finally made it. Marcus picked me up at the Macarthur BART station, and we went straight to the barrel house (they don’t have their own brewhouse, but they do have fermenters and lots and lots of barrels) to ensure we got seats before the crowds descended. After some decent grilled cheese from their little kitchen, we methodically went through everything of theirs on tap. They only make sour beer, but they have some non-sour guest taps, as well.

only sour beer at The Rare Barrel

Two sours at The Rare Barrel — Berkeley, CA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Apropos of Nothing – 5.6% – Dark sour with great mix of elderberry and lavender. Berry is more prominent; lavender is more subtle. Some oakiness as it warms, as well as some vinegar and soy sauce aroma.
  • Wise Guise – 5.4% – Dark sour with raspberries. Raspberry aroma and flavor. Touch of vinegar.
  • Arrows of Neon – 4.5% – “Berkliner” Weisse. With lemon and lime peels. Nice lemon/lime flavors. Fairly sour, with very subtle breadiness and hint of eggy aroma.
  • Soliloquy – 5.1% – Golden sour with rose hips and orange peels. Flavors are subtle but enough to make you think while drinking. Orange comes out more in the finish.
  • Shadows of their Eyes – 6% – Dark sour. Caramel and graham cracker malt mix with touch of vinegar and soy sauce.
  • Egregious – 5.3% – Dry hopped golden sour. Floral and sour aroma and flavor. Floral and citrus hop flavors nicely punched up by the sourness. More floral than citrus.
  • Sourtooth Tiger – 5.2% – Golden sour with ginger. Sour and ginger aroma. Ginger flavor not so strong but adds a fun spicy edge to the sourness.
  • Forces Unseen – 5.5% – Batch 2. Blend of three golden sours with brett and other critters. Citrus mix and beautiful sourness; there’s a certain pureness to this. Wonderful.
    The Rest

  • Across the Sea – 4.5% – Gose with coriander. Just at my salt threshold. Hard to taste the coriander. Okay, but not great.

No logo glassware, but maybe they’ll fix that by the time I visit again. The once-a-year trip cycle seems to work pretty well – gonna have to start planning the next one fairly soon, I suppose.

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