The Rare Barrel Blog

The Rare Barrel
 
July 21, 2014 | The Rare Barrel

We're Hiring: Beer Club Coordinator

Title: Beer Club Coordinator

Hours: 30-40 hours/week, during normal business hours. Will also be required to occasionally work events on weekends and week nights.

Pay: $15 / hour

The Rare Barrel, an all-sour beer company based in Berkeley, CA, has an opening for a Beer Club Coordinator. We are searching for someone responsible and trustworthy who can match our passion for sour beer and commitment to excellent service. Prior experience in customer service and sales are required, and prior experience in order fulfillment is preferred.  

 

Requirements

Employee should have excellent communication skills and enjoy communicating effectively with customers in person, though email, and on the phone. Employee must enjoy interacting with other people on a regular basis.

This is a physical position. Employee must be able to stand for long periods of time and be comfortable working on their feet. Employees must also be able to lift 40 lbs boxes regularly.

Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Windows OS is required.  Basic Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop experience is preferred, but not required.

Employee must maintain ABC LEAD certification (alcohol service) within 60 days of commencing employment. Employee must renew these certifications (or their equivalent if changed over time) thereafter in accordance with company policy and regulatory requirements.

Employee must be a team player, honest, trustworthy, dedicated, hard-working, self-motivated, and possess an attention to detail. A personal commitment to cleanliness and efficiency is required.

Must love sours.

 

Duties

Employee will be expected to maintain a strong relationship between the Founder’s Club and The Rare Barrel.  Employee will be expected to promptly respond to customer inquiries via email, phone, and in person, while maintaining a positive attitude and a service-minded approach.

Employee will be expected to accurately process orders on the POS and collect payment, both in-person and remotely.  Additionally, the employee will be expected to maintain an organized inventory for beer and merchandise. Employee will be expected to pack and ship orders placed through the website. Additionally, the employee may be required to assist customers with purchases during Tasting Room hours.

Employee will assist in planning and working at events, which are often held on weekends and evenings.

Duties of this position include, but are not limited, to those listed in this description. Employee will also be expected to assist Director of Sales and Marketing with a variety of other tasks related to sales and marketing.

Applying

The Rare Barrel is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or veteran status.

If you are interested in applying to this position, email your resume and cover letter to info@therarebarrel.com with the title “Club Coordinator (insert first and last name)”.

The Rare Barrel
 
May 21, 2014 | The Rare Barrel

How long should you cellar our bottles?

Our bottles of sour beer are ready for consumption when we release them, however, aging bottles of sour beer can be a fun and exciting experience. Since sour beers are acidic (similar pH to wine) and have very little hops, they have the potential to age well over the years. A lot of our visitors enjoy cellaring sour beers, so we’re often asked, “How long should I cellar my bottle of your sour beer?” It’s a simple and great question, with one simple and one complicated answer.

The first, and simplest of the answers, is that we don’t know how long you should age them. Why don’t we know how long you should cellar your beers? Well, we don’t have many data points with our own bottles. We’ve only had beer in bottles since December of 2013, so we can’t say with 100% confidence that our beer will taste great/better in 1, 2, or 5 years. However, our bottles of sour beer should age well for years to come, if cellared properly (55F and in a dark place), which leads us to our second answer to this question. 

The second answer, which is long and a little more complicated, is that we do everything we can to preserve the long term quality of the beer and pass on the cellarmanship of that bottle from us, to you.  If you are interested in geeking out over the things we do to ensure our bottles of beer are best suited for cellaring, here are a few of the things we do to maintain the long-term quality of our sour beers...

Bottle Conditioning With Fresh Yeast – When we bottle a sour beer, we will add some fresh yeast and a very specific amount of sugar to the beer prior to packaging. Over the course of 1-3 months, the yeast will consume the sugar and create CO2, which will naturally carbonate each bottle of beer. One of the main benefits of bottle conditioning is that the fresh yeast will also absorb some residual oxygen, which can very damaging to beer flavors. Bottle conditioning with fresh yeast should reduce oxidation in the bottle. 

Oxygen Scavenging Bottle Caps – Oxygen, a highly reactive molecule, is very damaging to flavors in beer. Picture oxygen as a wrecking ball, swinging around and demolishing the flavors that the yeast and bacteria have spent so long creating. We do everything we can to prevent oxygen from coming into contact with our beers when they are aging and in the package. It’s impossible to remove 100% of oxygen from beer, but our oxygen scavenging bottle caps will continue to absorb oxygen that is in the head space of the bottle after packaging.

Complete Fermentation Before Bottling – Have you ever opened a bottle of beer, only to find the contents gushing out so fast that when all is said and done, the bottle is half empty and you have a big mess on your ceiling? Lame. Over carbonated beer is most often a result of too much fermentable sugar still in the beer when it is bottled. If a beer is bottled and there are still fermentable sugars available for yeast to consume, then the yeast will ferment those sugars, produce CO2, and carbonate the beer further. In order to prevent over carbonation in our bottles, we take regular density measurements to ensure that the yeast has stopped attenuating the beer before the beer is packaged in bottles. 

Very Thick Glass Bottles – It’s possible that a beer can over carbonate so much in a bottle that the pressure breaks the bottle. Not only do you lose all the beer you wanted to drink, but more importantly, this is very dangerous and could hurt someone. While we let our beers fully attenuate and do everything to prevent our beers from even getting close to this dangerous level of carbonation, we also use bottles that can withstand 15 Bar (over 200 psi). We don’t expect to have issues with over carbonation, but if we do that issue, we know we’re using the strongest bottles available.

Amber Glass and Oversized Labels – Light is another thing that can damage the flavors in beer and other foods. Specifically in beer, light will drive a photochemical reaction that converts iso-alpha-acids into 3-methly-2-butene-1-thiol, which has aromas that are reminiscent of a skunk. Not too appealing, right? Fortunately, iso-alpha-acids come from boiled hops, and most of our beers are under 10IBUs, so this shouldn’t be much of a problem with our sours. That being said, we use amber glass bottles and cover them with the largest label we can fit on the bottle to prevent as much light from reaching our beers as possible.

While we dont have a concrete answer as to how long you should cellar our beers, we are taking every step we can think of to ensure long-term qulaity in our beers.  We’re currently cellaring bottles of each brand, and we’ll be performing sensory analysis on these bottles for years to come. We’ll update this blog post in 10 years, when we have some concrete data around how our bottles have been aging over the years.    

Cheers, 

Time Posted: May 21, 2014 at 11:03 AM
The Rare Barrel
 
May 8, 2014 | The Rare Barrel

Bottle Release: Proportional Response, Saturday May 17th

We're almost ready to release bottles of Proportional Response, our amber sour beer aged in oak barrels.  Here are a few details around the bottle release of Proportional Response:

WHEN | Doors open at 2PM on Saturday, May 17th

WHERE | The Rare Barrel, 940 Parker Street, Berkeley, CA 94710

WHAT | 750mL bottles of Proportional Response, our amber sour beer aged in oak barrels. Each bottle is priced at $20. There is a limit of 2 bottles per person for the first 100 visitors, and 1 bottle per person after that. 

HOW | While supplies last, we will give each person a wristband that reserves them the ability to purchase 1 or 2 bottles of Proportional Response on Saturday, May 17th. The first 100 customers will have the option to purchase up to 2 bottles, and the remaining visitors will have the option to purchase 1 bottle. We had a similar number of bottles available at our last release, and ran out of wrist bands ~15 minutes after opening. Once you have a wrist band, you no longer need to wait in line, and may go to the bar and relax until the line for bottle purchases dwindles down. We will also have more people staffed at the bar this time around, so bar service should be faster this time around. 

See you on Saturday!

Cheers, 

The Rare Barrel
 
April 14, 2014 | The Rare Barrel

Awarded Gold and Bronze Medals at 2014 World Beer Cup ®

Last month, we entered four of our beers into the 2014 World Beer Cup, a global beer competition that evaluates beers from around the world and occurs once every two years. The competition is steep. This year, 1,403 breweries from 58 countries competed.  219 judges from 31 countries spent three full days judging beers across 94 categories. When all was said and done, of the 253 breweries who won an award, just 27 breweries won more than one award. To our astonishment, we went home with two awards from the 2014 World Beer Cup!

Category 18: American-Style Sour Ale

Award: Gold 

Beer Name: Ensorcelled

Beer Description: Dark sour beer aged in oak barrels w/raspberry

 

Category 59: Belgian-Style Flanders Oud Bruin or Oud Red Ale

Award: Bronze

Beer Name: Shadows of Their Eyes

Beer Description: Dark sour beer aged in oak barrels

We’d also like to give a big shout out to our friends at The Bruery, who took silver medal for Oude Tart in Category 59! 

Well, that’s enough of us tooting our own horn. The barrels need tending to…

Cheers, 

The Rare Barrel
 
March 18, 2014 | The Rare Barrel

Now Serving Draft Beer at 44°F

If you've had the chance to visit our tasting room in the last three weeks, you might have noticed something different about our beer: it's warmer. We are now serving our draft beer at 44°F, which is about 4°F warmer than we were serving our beer for the first two months of being open. Why are we serving our sours at a higher temperature? It tastes better.

We had casually talked about serving our beer at a warmer temperature for a little while, but it wasn’t until we had our Beer Week dinner at Mikkeller Bar SF that we realized we needed to serve our beer at a higher temperature. Throughout our five course beer pairing dinner at Mikkeller Bar SF, we tasted five of our sours that were served between 45-55°F, and decided that we needed to make this happen.

Why couldn’t we serve our beers warmer before? Originally, we were using straight CO2 to push beer through our lines. With our old set up, our serving temperature range was limited to 38-42°F. The closer we'd get to 42°F, the more problems we'd experience with foaming, because the CO2 would come out of solution. We could potentially have increased the CO2 pressure to keep CO2 in solution, but that would have resulted in us unintentionally carbonating our beers more, which we did not want to do.

How do we serve our beers at 44°F now? We needed to do the following four things to serve our beer at 44°F:

  1. Increase the temperature on our cooler to 44°F
  2. Increase the applied pressure on our draft system to keep CO2 in solution (CO2 wants to come out of solution at higher temperatures)
  3. Install flow-regulated faucets to provide more restriction to the draft system and counter act the higher pressure on the draft system.
  4. Push beer though the lines with a blend of CO2 and nitrogen, instead of straight CO2

The last part of the puzzle is crucial to the new set up. We recently installed a nifty Green Air Supply, which extracts nitrogen from the atmosphere, then blends the nitrogen and CO2 in a ratio that is calculated for our system. The ratio of nitrogen and CO2 is specific to our serving temperature, draft line resistance, elevation above sea level, and a few other things. Since nitrogen is an inert gas, and doesn’t dissolve into our beer and “carbonate” the beer like CO2 does, we are able to apply more pressure to the whole system, which allows us to serve beer a few degrees warmer.

Sounds like a whole lot of work just to be serving our beer a few degrees warmer, right? We don’t think so. In our tasting room, the tulip glass is the final “package” of our product. Our sours take a very long time to make, and we take great pride in doing everything we can to maintain quality throughout the entire production process. When we find a better way of doing something, we’re going to adapt and improve our processes.

Next time you visit, feel free to leave the mittens at home and let us know what you think about the new serving temperature. 

Cheers, 

 

Time Posted: Mar 18, 2014 at 8:07 AM
The Rare Barrel
 
March 12, 2014 | The Rare Barrel

FAQs - Tasting Room, Founder's Club, Bottles, & Growlers

 

You have questions, and we have answers. Here are a few frequently asked questions that we have some answers for:

Why is the tasting room only open on Friday and Saturday?

We currently don’t have enough draft beer to open up another day. We do intend to open the tasting room on Sunday and potentially Thursday when we have more beer, but until then, we’re going to have to stick with only Friday and Saturday.

Will you expand your seating in the tasting room?

Yes. We are installing an additional 20’ bar top that will seat 20 people. This communal table should be ready for the week of March, 28th.

Why don’t you do samples or sample flights?

You might have noticed that we currently only offer 10 oz pours of our sours, and do not offer sample sizes or flights. Why is that? Well, we believe the 10 oz pour combines the best of both worlds since it is a small enough size for you to try multiple beers without becoming over intoxicated, while at the same time it allows us to maintain timely service. Based on the number of visitors we have and the way our bar set up, we would sacrifice timely service in order to provide you with multiple smaller pours. We’d prefer to get a tulip in your hands in under 5 minutes than four samples in your hands after a 15-20 minute wait. We always have tasting flights in the back of our minds, but until we’re able to do it a manner that doesn’t sacrifice service, we hope that the 10 oz pour is a happy medium!

Where can I find your beer outside of the tasting room?

In order to continue keeping the tasting room open on Friday and Saturday, we’ve paused self-distribution around the Bay Area. For the short term, draft is only available in our tasting room.  

How do I enroll in the Founder’s Club?

Unfortunately, enrollment for the Founder’s Club closed last October. However, if you would like us to email you when the details for our 2015 beer club are ready, simply click here and submit your email address in the form at the top of the page. We’ll drop you an email sometime around fall with the details for the next club!

Do you fill growlers?

We are currently testing out a growler program with our Founder’s Club. Once we have enough beer to fill more growlers, we plan to offer more growlers in the Tasting Room. We don't have enough beer to fill a lot of growlers right now. In order to manage our supply of draft beer, we can only fill our growlers.

Do you have any bottles for sale?

As of today, we do not have any bottles available for sale. However we do have a number of brands that are bottle conditioning and should be ready in the upcoming months. If you would like to know when our bottle releases are, follow us on Facebook, Instagram (@therarebarrel), Twitter (@therarebarrel), and our newsletter.

Do you ship beer?

One of benefits included in the Founder’s Club is that we can ship your bottles of beer directly to your residence or business in California. We do plan on expanding our direct shipping program outside of the Founder’s Club at some point, but are not sure when that will be. 

 

We hope that answered a number of the questions you may (or may not!) have had. If you have any other questions, feel free to email us at info@therarebarrel.com. 

Cheers, 

The Rare Barrel
 
February 17, 2014 | The Rare Barrel

Beer Week - A Few Highlights

Last week was Beer Week, and boy, was it an epic one! We had a lot of fun events and made a lot of new friends. Here is a little recap of some of our highlights from Beer Week 2014:

 

SKUs Me Bottle Release

We had our very first bottle release on the first Saturday of beer week. We’ve spent almost 2 years working full time to get to this point, so needless to say, we’re ecstatic that we we’re finally able to get our bottles in your hands! If you didn't happen to snag a bottle before we sold out on Saturday... we have quite a few more bottle releases lined up on the near horizon. (What's up with the recliner below? The first fans showed up around 9:30AM for the 2PM bottle release, so we thought they needed a comfortable place to wait. We'll be keeping the recilner reserved for the first person in line for future releases.)

 

Wood is Good w/New Belgium Brewing

On Thursday night of Beer Week, we partnered with New Belgium Brewing to serve 6 sour beers and discuss blending in the basement of La Trappe. This event was particularly fun because everyone got to chat sours with Lauren Salazar (she manages the wood program at NBB, is a sour beer rock star, and an all-around great person). We hope everyone who came learned a little bit about sour beer and blending, while enjoying some sours from NBB and TRB!

 

Beer Dinner At Mikkeller Bar SF

What do you get when you have six sour beers and an remarkable chef? You get a delectable beer dinner. We worked with Chef Mike O’Brien from Mikkeller Bar to pair 5 of our sour beers with 5 food courses. If you are interested in getting adventurous in your own kitchen, you can eat with your eyes below. Warning: you will be hungry in 2 minutes....

Course 1 of 5 - SKUs Me (golden sour) paired w/Kumato oysters on the half shell w/Asian pear mignonette

Course 2 of 5 - (red sour w/raspberry) paired w/roasted baby beats, fennel, bulls blood

Course 3 of 5 - Egregious (dry-hopped golden sour) paired w/poached rock cod, celery root purée, endive

Course 4 of 5 - Shadows of Their Eyes (dark sour) paired w/honey glazed duck n barley risotto

Course 4.5 of 5 - Gose Without Saying (pale sour) granite, pineapple compote, chantilly

Course 5 of 5 - Ensorcelled (dark sour w/raspberry) paired w/salted caramel & dark chocolate tart

 

Sour Sunday at Jupiter

For those who haven’t been to Jupiter’s Sour Sunday, it is definitely worth penciling in the schedule for next year. Over 100 sour, wild, and barrel aged beers to choose from... yes please.  While the weather was a little wet this year, we don’t think it stopped anyone from having a sour time. We were also very excited to be included at the featured pour table w/The Bruery, Russian River, Crooked Stave, and Almanac. Big shout out to Kelsey and the Drake’s/Jupiter/Triple Rock crew for throwing a great event! 

We hope you had as much fun during beer week as we did. 


Cheers, 

Time Posted: Feb 17, 2014 at 12:24 PM
The Rare Barrel
 
February 1, 2014 | The Rare Barrel

Beer Week Events

Beer Week (Feb 7-16) is right around the corner, and we have some awesome events in the tasting room and around the Bay! Here is a snapshot of the good times ahead:

TASTING ROOM (Tasting Room is open Fridays 4-10PM and Saturdays 2-10PM)

All Sour, All The Time - We will dedicate all 10 of our beer taps to our sours, and we'll be rotating through every beer we've put on draft so far. Over the course of the two weekends, we'll bring back Map of the Sun, Fields Forever, Tremendous Slouch, Egregious, and Hope in the Darkness (all of which are no longer on tap, and will probably only last though Beer Week). We only have 1-2 kegs of each beer, so we'll pour them while supplies last! Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to see when these beers are tapped.

EVENTS AROUND THE BAY

Friday, February 7th, 6-10PM

SF Beer Week Opening Gala - Come say "hi" to Jay and Brad as they pour you a sour or two at the gala! 

Saturday, February 8th, ~6PM - ??

Barrel Aged Beer Fest @ The Trappist - Come enjoy some barrel aged beers from The Rare Barrel, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, 50/50 Brewing Co., and more. Jay will be there, and we hear Chad from Crooked Stave will too. If you haven't met Chad, he's pretty rad. 

Sunday, February 9th, 11:30AM-??

Sour Sunday @ Jupiter - Jupiter will be pouring an egregious amount of sour and barrel aged beers on the back patio. Our crew will most definitely be there pouring sours and trying to catch 'em all. 

Wednesday, February 12th, 5:30PM and 8PM

Beer Dinner @ Mikkeller Bar - We've worked with Chef Mike O'Brien at Mikkeller Bar to create a ridiculous 5 course meal... each course paired with one of our sours. This is arguably going to be one of the highlights of our week. Seatings are at 5:30PM and 8PM, and Jay and Alex will be at both seatings. Yes, this event is a little pricy, but hey, have you ever had an all-sour-5-course-beer-dinner-extravaganza? Treat yourself... feed the hedonist inside you....  a few tickets are still available here

Thursday, February 13th, 6-10PM

Wood Is Good @ La Trappe  - We're pairing up with Lauren Salazar from New Belgium Brewing to pour three of each other's favorite wood aged sour beers. The Rare Barrel crew and Lauren will be there hanging out from 6-10PM.   If you haven't met Lauren, she is a sour beer rockstar and someone for whom we have the utmost respect and admiration. This event will be $25 for a flight of six 4oz pours (flight of all 6 sours being served). Tickets will also include light snacks. 2 kegs will be tapped at 6PM, 7PM, and 8PM!

Friday, February 14th, 7-11PM

Ales for Autism Black and White Beer Ball - 27 craft breweries, live music, local food, and all the proceeds from the event support educating children with autism, providing care for people with autism, and furthering autism research. As a new craft brewery without much beer, we don't have enough beer to send everywhere we'd like, but we're particularly excited to donate beer to this event and support the cause!

Saturday, February 15th

Meet The Brewers Beer Fest @ Hermitage Brewing Company - 12-5PM - 20 breweries, 5 food trucks, and unlimited beer. Jay will be pouring at our booth, and we believe that brewers from all the other breweries will be in attendance too. 

Funktastic Four @ Livermore Saloon, 1PM - ?? - Logsdon Farmhouse Ales + Prairie Artisanal Ales + 10 Barrel + The Rare Barrel = Funktastic Four. Word has it that David Logsdon will also be there. 

Sunday, February 16th

Sleep in. Rehydrate.

Hope you have a stellar Beer Week!

Party on, 

The Rare Barrel
 
January 29, 2014 | The Rare Barrel

Gose Without Saying

We're releasing a new sour beer on draft in the tasting room this Friday, January 31st, at 4PM. 

Gose Without Saying is a pale sour beer aged in oak barrels that clocks in at a refreshing 5.3% alcohol by volume. In our loose representation of a gose-style beer, a lemon tartness is the most defining characteristic of this beer. While gose style beers often have salt and coriander, we decided we like this beer better without those two ingredients (hence the "Without Saying" in the beer name). It goes without saying that this new sour is incredibly refreshing. 

To quote the wise words of Reading Rainbow's LeVar Burton, "Don't take our word for it though. We'll see you next time."

Cheers, 

The Rare Barrel
 
December 26, 2013 | The Rare Barrel

Tasting Room is Now Open Fridays and Saturdays

Our tasting room is now open on Fridays from 4-10PM and Saturdays from 2-10PM! Our 12 taps will be flowing with our sours, two guest beers, and two guest wines. If you get hungry, you can also nosh on organic panini with a side salad. We're also kid friendly. Here is a preview of what we have to offer on December 27th, our opening day:

Location: 940 Parker St, Berkeley, CA 94710

Hours: Friday 4-10PM, Saturday 2-10PM

Sour Beer

SKUs Me - golden sour beer aged in oak barrels, 5.3%
Proportional Response  -  amber sour beer aged in oak barrels, 4.8%
Shadows of Their Eyes - dark sour beer aged in oak barrels, 5.6%
Ensorcelled - dark sour beer aged in oak barrels w/raspberry, 5.8%
Map of the Sun - golden sour beer aged in oak w/apricot, single barrel release, 6.4%
Sirius Black - golden sour beer aged in oak w/blackberry, single barrel release, 5.8%
Tremendous Slouch - golden sour beer aged in oak w/peach, single barrel release, 6.4%
Fields Forever - red sour beer aged in oak w/strawberry, single barrel release, 4.8%

 

Guest Beer

Melange #3, The Bruery, Orange County - american strong ale, 5 oz, 15%
The Publican, Societe Brewing Co., San Diego - pale ale, 16 oz, 5.5%

 

Guest Wine

Sluice Box, Donkey and Goat, Berkeley - white rhone style blend, 6 oz, 13.7%
The Return, Eno Wines, Berkeley - red grenache, unfined and unfiltered, 6 oz, 14.9%

 

Organic Panini served w/ quinoa side salad

Turkey Pesto - goat cheddar on acme ciabatta roll
Sliced Apple and Cheese - bellweather carmody cheese, local chevre, chicory on acme ciabatta roll

 

Hope to see you around!

Cheers, 

Time Posted: Dec 26, 2013 at 5:16 PM
 

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