Brewery Spotlight

The Rare Barrel

Finding a beer that you fancy can be instant or may take several years. It all depends on your luck. But don’t be stuck to just one taste. With craft brew taking over the market, there are so many different flavors to choose from that you might have more than one favorite. Take, for example, The Rare Barrel, which offers all-sour beer. Have you given their favorites a try?

The Rare Barrel, A Sour Beer Co.

An all-sour beer company, The Rare Barrel is located in Berkeley, California, and was established by Jay Goodwin and Alex Wallash. The two friends started home-brewing in their apartment when they decided to start a brewery together, and they did! Along with Brad Goodwin, Jay and Alex started The Rare Barrel in February 2013, brewing their first batch of all-sour beer. 

The Rare Barrel is only a small part of the huge American beer landscape. But they have, since their establishment, won several awards already. A year after the brewery was started, they secured the Gold medal for Cosmic Dust American-Style Sour Ale at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival.

There was no stopping them after that. They also won two more medals that year, followed by many more in the coming years, especially at the World Beer Cup and the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer.

Image by Jim Gebis on Google Maps

What makes them one of the best?

Sour beer is their favorite, as the flavors produced by them are so unique that it cannot be replicated. As sour beer involves a grim process, not many breweries take the trouble of brewing them, let alone blending in several flavors.

The Rare Barrel has a reason behind the all-sour beer offered to customers. Not only does it have a unique taste and flavor, but it also wishes to concentrate on learning why sour beer produces a unique aroma. In an attempt to focus on the brewery, they also crafted a huge cellar around the production of sour beer, providing plenty of space and a moderate climate to create their unique flavors.

Sour beers are a product of time and the right mix. They take an exceptionally long time to mature and bring that taste that most people like. The Rare Barrel is one of the best, as they are focused on just one aspect, along with continued attempts to make it even better. They have adopted all-sour beer as their single focus and plan to add a variety of enticing flavors by creating new beer by conventional and experimental methods.

What is the best part of their brewery?

As mentioned before, The Rare Barrel is an all-sour brewery that focuses on brewing beer that’s barrel-aged for one to three years. What keeps them apart from all other breweries is their mission to discover the fermentation and brewing methods behind a ‘dream barrel’ of a remarkable sour beer. With the sole purpose of brewing the best sour-beer and creating new tastes and flavors year on year, The Rare Barrel was established.

They concentrate on the practical reason for brewing all-sour beer and sour beer alone to focus on learning why those unique flavors are produced. To focus on their mission and on learning about sour beer, they also built a cellar with a high-ceiling, plenty of space, and a moderate climate dedicated to giving the barrels ideal space to brew their unique flavors. The best part about The Rare Barrel is their promise of making every sour-beer taste better than the one before.

Image by Michel Carvalho on Google Maps

Which is the best beer they brew?

In 2000, New Belgium Brewing, located in Fort Collins, Colorado, brewed the first batch of La Folie in a ‘ph1’ barrel. The Rare Barrel is named for ‘ph1’ in honor of the famous La Folie, which is wood-aged in an oak barrel for one to three years.

In 2015, New Belgium gifted the ‘ph1’ barrel to The Rare Barrel. As a tribute to the original ‘Rare Barrel,’ The Rare Barrel, with a team of customers peers, craft-beer enthusiasts, sour-heads, homebrewers, foodies, and BJCP judges, among others, choose the best barrel of beer each year, and names it ‘The Rare Barrel’ for the term. So of course, the ‘The Rare Barrel’ is always the best-tasting beer that the brewery has to offer. But others include:

  • It’s a Vibe: Brewed with Golden Promise, Spelt, Oats, Vienna, and Winter Wheat, the Indian Pale Ale portion of “It’s a Vibe” beer is fermented with a Juicy English yeast strain and profusely hopped with Cashmere and Citra. The IPA base is conditioned on Passion fruit and Guava blended with barrel-aged sour beer.
  • Ensorcelled: It is a dark sour beer aged in oak barrels with raspberries. Ensorcelled is a unique blend of oak-aged black Brettanomyces beer and oak-aged red sour beer, both which are homebrewed at The Rare Barrel and added with raspberries before being left in the barrel for a few more months.
  • Bae Breeze: It is a golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with lime, pineapple, grapefruit, and cranberry. Fresh lime zest is added to invoke a bright citrus character into the beer that complements its lightly acidic backbone.

What to expect when you get there

To start with, you can expect a great time tasting their beer. The mesmerizing food served with the tantalizing sour-beer will make you want to visit them again and again. The Rare Barrel is set up with one bar, a kitchen, and lots of tables. But at times, if you haven’t booked a reservation, you will find a long line outside with sour-beer lovers waiting to get their hands on the most uniquely flavored and enticing beer.


  • Monday to Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 4 pm to 10 pm
  • Friday: 4pm to 10pm
  • Saturday: 11am to 10pm
  • Sunday: 11 am to 8 pm

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