The Rare Barrel
March 15, 2018 | The Rare Barrel

The Next Search for The Rare Barrel | April 26th - April 29th

Long story short... We conducted our first Search for The Rare Barrel back in September of 2016 and found Barrel p9t. Over the course of 3 days, our friends along with some of our Ambassadors of Sour participated in an extensive tasting of our barrel house in order to find the best barrel of beer...aka “The Rare Barrel.” Well, the time has come for us to conduct our second Search for The Rare Barrel this April! We’re changing it up a little so make sure to check out more info below.
Long story long... our namesake, The Rare Barrel, and The Search for The Rare Barrel, is inspired by the epic story of pH1. pH1 is an oak barrel, and she was crafted in France from French oak in 1990. After a few years of housing wine, she found her way to New Belgium Brewing, where she was part of their original sour beer program. With Lauren Salazar as pH1’s shepherd at New Belgium, pH1 helped define the process and flavor profile of La Folie, an amazing and pioneering sour brown ale.  Around 2003, pH1 disappeared (or was secretly gifted, depending who you ask) to Vinnie Cilurzo at Russian River Brewing Company. While at Russian River, pH1 contributed to the first batches of Beatification, their spontaneously fermented beer, and spent the following 11 years contributing to their exceptional sours. When we heard this story about the travels of pH1 and her impact on these breweries, we were inspired by an idea… the idea that there is one barrel that stands out from the rest. There’s a rare barrel that houses an amazing, and possibly perfect, blend of yeast and bacteria. We named ourselves The Rare Barrel because of pH1.  Shortly after our first Search for The Rare Barrel, Barrel pH1 mysteriously showed up at our back door. No joke! We received an unexpected delivery at the back door of our warehouse and when the truck rolled up its door, Barrel pH1 sat there alone, waiting to call The Rare Barrel her next home. We were lucky enough to shepherd her for the next year and bottled a single barrel of her beer. She now has traveled on to her next journey, back with old friend Peter Bouckaert, one of her original shepherds at New Belgium Brewing and now at his own brewery Purpose Brewing. We are looking forward to continuing to follow her story while we continue to search for our very own rare barrel.
WHAT | The Search for The Rare Barrel will span 4 days. A group of our Ambassadors of Sour and some friends in the Industry  (a.k.a. The Search Party) will taste and rank barrel samples throughout the final two days of The Search on Saturday and Sunday. We’ll crunch the data from The Search Party to find the best barrels in our barrel house, which will move forward to a final tasting on Sunday evening. Founders Jay Goodwin, Alex Wallash, and Brad Goodwin will taste through the selected best barrels from The Search and, from those, select The Rare Barrel.
WHERE | Barrel Cellar and Tasting Room & Kitchen @ The Rare Barrel, 940 Parker St, Berkeley, CA 94710
WHEN | Thursday, April 26th through Sunday, April 29th
WHY | We are in search of the rare barrel … the barrel that houses the perfect blend of yeast and bacteria.
HOW CAN YOU PARTICIPATE IN THE SEARCH? | We will have a limited amount of flights of 3 barrel samples available in the Tasting Room & Kitchen per day for y’all to compare, contrast, and formulate opinions on. The barrel samples will be selected from barrels that are part of The Search. Each barrel sample is served uncarbonated and at room temperature, just like how our blenders taste through barrels in production. A commemorative glass is included with each barrel sample flight.
So are you in? Stay tuned for more details to come about draft being served, guest beers, and food!


The Rare Barrel
March 8, 2018 | The Rare Barrel

Fifth Annual Allagash Saison Day at The Rare Barrel | Saturday, April 14th

We’re doing it again! We are more than honored to host another Saison Day. The Fifth Annual Allagash Saison Day will be held at The Rare Barrel on Saturday, April 14th starting at 1PM. Join us, along with Allagash Founder Rob Tod, in the Tasting Room & Kitchen as we celebrate this amazing style along with 15 other Northern California breweries. So who else is going to be raising a glass and partying down with us? Check out the list of breweries that will be showcasing saison for Saison Day below. 
Astrid | mixed fermentation saison aged in Aquavit barrels
Belfius | blend of spontaneously fermented beer and saison
Hibernal Fluxus | saison milk stout
Shiro's Delight | mixed fermentation saison aged in plums and pluerries
Saison Gratis | open- fermented saison hopped in a coolship
Bay Saison | saison with California bay leaves
Lost Wisdom | solera style saison
Brett Midler | sauvignon blanc barrel aged saison with Brettanomyces
Citraison | saison brewed with citra hops
Aces Rye | rye saison dry-hopped with citra hops
Resonance | blended saison
Champ Rochaux | saison with nectarines
Saison Sandwich | mixed fermentation saison aged in chardonay barrels
Paid Vacation | hoppy saison
Brouwerij Kat | mixed fermentation saison aged in gin barrels
The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg | solera aged saison with Brettanomyces 
Admiral Loral Saison | strong saison brewed with Admiral Maltings Maiden Voyage, loral hops, and Fantome's primary yeast strain
Yeoman's Pride | oak-kissed saison
Take The Time | keg conditioned saison
Roads Diverge | tart saison aged in oak barrels
Fork in the Rose | tart saison aged in oak barrels with rose hips and rose petals
Leaf in the Grassland | tart saison aged in oak barrels with sumac and lemon grass
Tomorrow's Verse | classic saison
Saison Apotheca | open fermented warehouse saison
Hungry? Tacos El Rey will be on site to dish up some tacos, burritos, and quesadillas to eat while drinking saison! So come thirsty, come hungry, come ready to cheers to this time-honored style.
The Rare Barrel
January 30, 2018 | The Rare Barrel

GRAND OPENING | Tasting Room & Kitchen

The time has come… we are thrilled to announce the grand opening of our new kitchen on February 1st! Executive Chef Charis Wahl joined our team last August and has been secretly creating an amazing food program that extends far beyond the grilled cheeses we’ve been grillin’ up for you over the last couple of years. Charis Wahl was most recently the Executive Chef at Gather and before that worked at other local favorites such as Rivoli, The Advocate, and Ozumo. With over 17 years of culinary experience, Chef is ready to share her new food with you.
So, what can you expect from our new kitchen? We’re a from-scratch kitchen, making almost everything in house. We want to focus on crafting flavor profiles and serving the best dishes possible from locally sourced, seasonal produce and seafood. And why are we only using locally sourced, seasonal produce and seafood? Because it’s a fresher product, environmentally responsible, supports the local community, and we think it will show in our dishes and create amazing flavors. That means our menu is also going to change as the seasons do, which will keep things exciting for you and fuels Chef’s creativity. Our menu will also showcase charcuterie boards and cheese boards, which we love because the acidity in sour beer cuts through the fats in the meats so well. We also love that boards can be a communal experience and can be a great adventure of unlimited flavor combinations. With a few options to share and a few entres, you’ll be set to come in and enjoy our menu for dinner or snacks. We’re also using our sour beers as an ingredient in our food… because it tastes really good and is a unique ingredient that we have the opportunity to cook with. How does pork belly braised in our dark sour beer sound?
We’re not huge fans of pinning down specific styles, but we guess you could say that puts us in the loose category of New American cuisine. Seating is still first come first serve and you’ll order your food at the bar like normal. With our new and expanded menu, we kindly ask that our guests please refrain from bringing outside food into the new Tasting Room & Kitchen. We appreciate your understanding. While we’re still a brewery and bar first, you can expect something quite different from your typical bar food!
You know what they say though… a bite is worth a thousand words. Swing on by the Tasting Room & Kitchen when you’re ready for some food to pair with your sour beers!
The Rare Barrel
January 18, 2018 | The Rare Barrel

SF Beer Week is Coming! Sneak Peek Into What's Going On at The Rare Barrel

NorCal vs. SoCal  Showdown  & Cellar Bottle Sale

Saturday, February 10th, 1PM - 10PM @ The Rare Barrel

NorCal vs SoCal Showdown
Which region’s beer reigns supreme…NorCal or SoCal? This friendly competition will pit 10 NorCal breweries up against 10 SoCal breweries and  let our guests vote on their favorite beers . Participating breweries will be matched up with a brewery from the opposing region depending on style. Guests will be asked to blind taste by style and cast votes on which beer they like better (not knowing who brewed what). The region with the most points at the end of the day will be announced victor. Winners will not only be able to brag about which region makes better beer but be able to put an end to the long standing debates on who makes a better burrito, if "hella" is a legitimate word, and if it is ever appropriate to put the word "The" in front of a freeway name. Well, at least for the next year.
So who won?  NORCAL WINS! Check out each category and what was served below.
Non-fruited tart saison
Saison Bernice | Sante Adairius Rustic Ales | pink
Mellona | Cellador Ales | orange
spiced saison
Apropos of Nothing | The Rare Barrel | green
La Vie En Rose |Pure Project | yellow
stone fruit sour
Stone Hearted  |Alvarado St : Yeast of Eden | red
Careful With That Aprium, Eugene |Beachwood Blendery | blue
fruited sour
Compunction | Russian River Brewing Company | green
Highbinder | Societe Brewing Company | yellow 
spirit barrel aged sour
4th Anniversary Sour | The Rare Barrel | red
Black and Blue BBLs | The Bruery | blue
blonde ale Lite Idea | Temescal Brewing | green
Refresh | Highland Park Brewery | yellow
hazy pale ale Moonage Daydream | Cellarmaker Brewing Co. | pink We Bought A Bench | Green Cheek Beer Company | orange
IPA Turok Juice | Cellarmaker Brewing Co. | green

That's It | Highland Park Brewery | yellow

hazy IPA Tiny Umbrella | Humble Sea Brewing Co. | red Two Thousands of Money | Pure Project | blue
west coast DIPA Hop Soup | Faction Brewing | pink Noble Ale Works | orange
hazy DIPA From Yakina With Love | Cellarmaker & Moonraker | pink Always in Love | Green Cheek Beer Company | orange
imperial stout Narwhal | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. | red Night Rider | Pizza Port Brewing | blue
barrel aged stout Eclipse Elijah-Craig | Fiftyfifty Brewing | green Devil's Teeth Cuvee (Rum & Rye) | Modern Times Beer | yellow
Cellar Bottle Sale 
We’ve been cellaring bottles from every bottle release since our very first bottling run of Skus Me back in 2013. We’ll have about 10 different bottles from our cellar available for purchase to go! This will be our first and biggest cellar sale of this scale, but quantities will still be limited and bottles will be sold on a first come first served basis. We’ll post more details about this on social media as we get closer to the event.
Real Smoked BBQ is bringing a massive smoker to our parking lot again and will dishing up some amazing BBQ for this weekend. Come hungry and thirsty!

Cellarmaker Sunday - Tangerang Bottle Release + Growler Fills

Sunday, February 11th, 1PM - 8PM @ The Rare Barrel

We get so excited hanging with our buds from Cellarmaker Brewing Company. The creative juices start flowing and we put our heads together to come up with some new (and old favorites) collaborative brews. This year we are sharing 3 beers with y’all! What makes this year’s party more special than years past? We bottled Tangerang!
Yes, that’s right, for the first time ever you can take Tangerang! bottles home with you, and on top of that for 1 day only we will be filling any clean 32oz and 64oz growler brought in with one of the other Cellarmaker collaboration beers. There are just a few requests we need to ask prior to bringing in your growlers to this Cellarmaker + The Rare Barrel event.
  • Growlers must be a marked 32oz or 64oz growlers with a lid
  • Please tape over any logo that is not The Rare Barrel logo
  • Please clean your growler prior to attending this event
Stay tuned for more details to come on pricing, limits, and draft styles.
Looking for grub? Real Smoked BBQ will be hanging out Sunday as well to fill bellies with tasty BBQ dishes!

pH1 Beer Dinner (ticketed event)

Wednesday, February 14th @ The Rare Barrel

pH1 is the name of a barrel. Crafted from French oak in 1990, she’s traveled from brewery to brewery, positively shaping every beer she touches.
pH1 is an idea. The idea is that there is one barrel that’s better than the rest. She’s better than the rest because she is the perfect home for the perfect mix of yeast and bacteria.
pH1 is the original rare barrel, whose story inspired us to search for that perfect barrel with the perfect mix of yeast and bacteria.  
We will be exploring pH1’s influence on sour beer and showcasing some of the fruits of her labor throughout this beer dinner. Our intention is for guests to enjoy the destination as much as we have enjoyed her journey. Check out the details below.
Seatings | Each seating is intended to provide a more intimate dining experience for you to enjoy the beer, food, and shared company.
Seating 1 | 5PM - 7PM
Seating 2 | 8PM - 10PM
Ticket Price & What’s Included | $175 + tax (includes gratuity)
Each ticket will include a 5 courses paired with 5 sours including a serving of The Rare Barrel’s bottled release pH1. In addition to the beer dinner, each attendee will receive 1 bottle of pH1 to take home. This is a single barrel release with less than 200 bottles in existence. This will be the only chance to take home a bottle of this limited beer since bottles of pH1 will not be sold and will likely only be available for special events. 
How to Purchase | Click here to enter the 24 hour lottery at 9AM Pacific on Wednesday, January 24th.
Due to the limited amount of tickets per seating we will be holding a lottery for tickets. This lottery will be open to the public and sold through our shop page. Please see details on lottery entry below.
  • 1 entry per person, duplicates will be removed
  • No entries will be accepted after the lottery closes
  • Entry does not guarantee your ticket
  • 32 lottery winners will be randomly selected and contacted by 12PM Pacific on Thursday, January 25th.
  • Winners will be required to purchase their ticket within 24 hours in order to secure their seat.

Central Coast Showcase & Benefit

Thursday, February 15th, 4PM - 10PM @ The Rare Barrel

A lot has been going on in the Central Coast outside of brewing some phenomenal beers. Much of our state has been victim to devastating fire and flood, most recently Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. However, we find ways to persist, support each other, and continue to produce awesome beer! Join us on Thursday, February 15th to get a taste of the Central Coast and raise money to help our California neighbors.
In addition to a variety of our beer that will be on tap, we will be showcasing 10 beers from some of our friends in the Central Coast. $2 from every guest beer sold will be donated to the Thomas Fire and Flood Fund in order to help those that were affected. Check our what breweries we will be showcasing for this event below.
Buellton, CA
Santa Barbara, CA
Oxnard, CA
San Luis Obispo, CA
Buellton, CA
Paso Robles, CA
Ventura, CA
Come for beers and stay for dinner. The Tasting Room & Kitchen will be in full swing and dishin’ up some awesome food to enjoy with these tasty brews.

Sour Vibez Music Festival

Friday, February 16th, 4PM - 10PM @ The Rare Barrel

We’re putting out the vibe, the sour vibez. Come move to the groove, tap your toes, and enjoy the musical tunes from various local artists!
We are excited to celebrate our music program by bringing back all of the artists who have played our 2nd Friday series to present the Sour Vibez Music Festival! It'll be 5+ hours of live music, including our featured band Sharkmouth. Sour Vibez will showcase a variety of sounds, from folk to soul and all the genres in between. PLUS The Rare Barrel's very own Alex Wallash, as the loser of our fantasy football league, will kick off the evening with some ukelele tunes.
Check out the line up below for a full night of music at The Rare Barrel.
Music By…
Token Girl
Ash Powell (with Rob Dietrich and Emily Studden)
Justin Cohen
Rick Hardin
Natalie Smith
and Tall Alex
Come for the music, sip on some sours, we’ll also have a few non-sour guest brews on from friends, and enjoy some grub from our kitchen.

Celebrating Women in Beer

Saturday, February 18th, 1 - 10PM @ The Rare Barrel

We are throwing a party to celebrate all of the women in beer that continue to help this industry grow and thrive. Outside of the variety of our beer that will be on draft, we will have beers from 14 breweries that were founded and/or have Head Brewers that are women. To further empower women in beer, we are donating $2 from every guest beer sold to the Pink Boots Society, a non-profit organization that assists to advance careers for women beer industry professionals by raising money for educational opportunities.
Check our what breweries (and some of the women behind making awesome beer) we will be showcasing for this event below.
Richmond, CA
Alex Zobel - Co-Founder & Brewer
Los Angeles, CA 
Devon Randall - Head Brewer
Portland, OR 
Natalie Baldwin - Brewer
Los Angeles, CA 
Ting Su - Co-Founder
Alameda, CA
Claudia Davis - Co-Founder
Redwood City, CA
Alisha Blue - Head Brewer
McMinnville, OR 
Lisa Allen - Head Brewer
Austin, TX 
Averie Swanson - Head Brewer
San Francisco, CA 
Regan Long - Co-Founder & Brewmaster
Sarah Fenson - Co-Founder
Kihei, HI 
Kim Lutz - Brewmaster
Fort Collins, DE
Kim Jordan -  Co-Founder
Lauren Limbach - Wood Cellar Manager
Capitola, CA
Adair Paterno - Co-Founder
Torrance, CA 
Laurie Porter - Co-Founder
Inglewood, CA
Lynn Weaver - Founder
Alex Nowel - Brewmaster
We will also have a food truck on site to fill your bellies with tasty grub throughout the day.

Sunday Brunch

Sunday, February 19th, 11 - 5PM @ The Rare Barrel

If you like mimosas but don’t want to commit to champagne, then you are in for a treat! We will be serving beermosas and 2 other brunch cocktail inspired sours during Sunday Brunch at our Tasting Room & Kitchen. We are adjusting our hours from 11AM to 5PM so that you can wind down from a fun and busy SF Beer Week by enjoying a beermosa and some of our brunch-inspired dishes from our kitchen. If you weren’t able to try any of the beer from our events during the week or want to get another chance to grab a glass of something that was offered during one of these events, Sunday Brunch will be your last chance to try some of these amazing guest beers. We’re not sure what will be on tap yet but our draft list will be updated on site throughout the day.

Off-site Events

Sours from The Rare Barrel can also be enjoyed at the following events: SFBW Opening Gala (2/9), Sour Sunday at Jupiter (2/11), SARA’s Friends at Sante Adairius Santa Cruz Portal (2/11),  Homies night with Alvarado St, Cellarmaker, Sante Adairius, and The Rare Barrel at Toronado (2/12)
Enjoy an epic Beer Week and see y’all in the Tasting Room!


The Rare Barrel
December 20, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

Terminal Acidic Shock and Sour Ale Bottle Conditioning

Here at The Rare Barrel we bottle condition all of our bottled beers. While bottle conditioning can be a little more challenging that force carbonation, we believe that this is an important step for creating the best flavor profile.  In short, bottle conditioning means that we add a simple sugar (Dextrose) and new dry yeast to a beer before packaging. And then we wait… A new fermentation occurs in the bottle to carbonate it, this also adds a richness and body that we are fond of.
Unfortunately, most yeasts do not perform optimally at a very low pH or at a high alcohol content. In the past we, along with other breweries that bottle condition sour beers, have had issues with inconsistent and under carbonated conditioning results. Even experiencing batches where carbonation nearly completely fails. This is obviously an incredibly disappointing incident, we love the beer we make and we want you to experience the best presentation of our beer.  As Quality Manager, I wanted to help overcome this issue. After doing a bit of research on yeast shock and speaking with a few breweries, we created a protocol to improve consistency in carbonation and bottle conditioning.

What is Terminal Acidic Shock (or TAS)?

Terminal Acidic Shock refers to the death or dormancy of Saccharomyces cerevisiae during fermentation in a high acidity and high ethanol content environment (Rogers To combat this many breweries will temper a yeast addition slurry with a portion of the beer to be carbonated. This allows the yeast to slowly adjust to the severe conditions and have a few generations of growth within a few steps to increase the productivity once pitched into the beer and bottled.

The Experiment

To test different mediums and processes I created an experiment where I took the dry yeast and hydrated it with a sugar solution.  A few different types of low sugar content solutions were tested in this experiment including wort and varying sugar water concentrations. After adding the same amount of yeast to every sugar solution I allowed 2 days for some growth and fermentation. I then added a 50:50 solution of more low sugar solution and sour beer and waited another 2 days. I then tested cell viability and density as will as pH and gravity changes. I concluded that a 2 degree Plato water and dextrose with nutrient added yielded the healthiest yeast at the end of the beer tempering. The slurry was then added to a small bottling run. I also compared this experimental slurry to a control of just day-of rehydrated dry yeast which was our current method of yeast preparation. I concluded that the tempering increased yeast health and decreased conditioning time (tested by yeast viability and pH/gravity changes).
*QA/QC Manager Jenna Blair counting cells of Saccharamyces and Brettanomyces mixed cultures under a microscope.

Our New Procedure

We now boil dextrose and water with a small amount of yeast nutrient to a vessel cool to an optimized fermentation temperature, add yeast and allow for 24 hours of fermentation, then add a 50% 2 Plato sugar water and 50% beer solution the day before bottling and count the yeast each day during tempering in order to assure the yeast we pitch is healthy. On bottling day we add sugar to the beer which is calculated based on the desired CO2 volumes and then count the slurry of tempered yeast and pitch by weight for a goal of 2 million cells/ml. This may seem like a lot as it is far over what would be recommended for a pale ale but for sour/barrel aged beers even with the tempering 1.5-3 mil cells/ml is recommended.
*Weighing dextrose before adding to boiling water.
Scaling this experiment up to our needs was interesting, anyone who we had known that had tried anything like this had small enough bottling runs where the liquid and yeast additions could all be contained in a small flask! We adopted the procedure to yeast brinks converted from full half barrel kegs and eventually into our 5 barrel fermenter for our largest bottling batches.
* Top Photo: Cellar Technicians weigh dry yeast that will NOT be added to the dextrose mixture to ensure that the yeast added is not contaminated.
Bottom Photo: Yeast starter after dry yeast has been added to the dextrose mixture prior to transfering to a brink 24 hours before bottling day.
Though not without challenges we have experienced favorable results with this procedure. We have seen shorter carbonation times as well as more bottle to bottle consistency. We are however continuously tweaking the procedure. We plan to play with different liquid addition volumes and sugar water to beer rations as well as pitch rates. Our goal is first and foremost to make good beer, we get to accomplish this by continuing research and experimentation not only in fermentation and blending but also by conducting experiments that can streamline process and improve the quality of our product.
Consistency and predictability are often regarded as some of the pillars in beer quality assurance and control. Sour beer is a beast that refuses to be controlled but with continuous experimentation we are enthusiastically working towards higher caliber beers.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.
Jenna Blair
QA/QC Manager

Rogers, C. M., Veatch, D., Covey, A., Staton, C., & Bochman, M. L. (2016). Terminal acidic shock inhibits sour beer bottle conditioning by Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Food Microbiology,57, 151-158. doi:10.1016/


Time Posted: Dec 20, 2017 at 9:00 AM
The Rare Barrel
December 11, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

We're Hiring | Line Cook


The Rare Barrel, an award winning, all-sour beer company based in Berkeley, CA, has an opening for a part-time line cook! We are searching for someone responsible and trustworthy who can match our passion for sour beer and food. Prior experience working in a commercial kitchen is a must. The new kitchen at The Rare Barrel will serve New American food with a focus on seasonal and local ingredients. We make as many things in house as possible and the menu will change to reflect seasonal and exciting ingredients.


This position will require availability for a minimum of 3 shifts (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) per week (25-30 hours per week).
Kitchen shifts are Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays . Must be available afternoons and evenings. Availability for special events, which occur around 5-7 times per year, is also required. Hours of operations are subject to change.


Hourly rate: DOE
In addition to hourly rate, employees receive a monthly allowance for The Rare Barrel beer, food, and merch, as well as bottles of each new release.


  • Applicants should have a great attitude and take pride in communicating effectively with fellow employees.  
  • Applicants must be able to stand for long periods of time and be comfortable working on their feet. Applicants must also be able to lift 60 lbs (this is a bona fide requirement of the job).
  • Successful applicants must have their ServSafe Food Server certification prior to first day working in the Tasting Kitchen. Successful applicants must renew these certifications (or their equivalent if changed over time) thereafter in accordance with company policy and regulatory requirements.
  • Applicants must be a team player, honest, trustworthy, dedicated, hard-working, self-motivated, and possess a keen attention to detail. A personal commitment to cleanliness and efficiency is required.
  • Must love sours.


  • Prepping ingredients for service
  • Setup food and equipment for service
  • Work stations - cooking and plating as directed by Chef
  • Stock/restock stations
  • Ensure seasoning, quality, and appearance of all dishes
  • Communicate any inventory or repair needs to Chef
  • Change out all pans and clean gaskets
  • Clean inside fridges, oven, induction burners, immersion circulators, and panini press
  • Maintain dishwashers as directed by Chef
  • Assist food runners in washing dishes
  • Turn off food warmer, oven, circulators, cryovac, panini press, and dishwasher
  • Cool down leftover food per safe food handling guidelines
  • Participate in closing cleaning responsibilities


Pre-employment background check and drug test are required.
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.
To apply, please send a resume and cover letter in a single PDF to with the subject “Kitchen Application: LAST NAME, FIRST NAME”. Thank you!
The Rare Barrel
October 31, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

We're Hiring - Tasting Room Server


The Rare Barrel, an award winning, all-sour beer company based in Berkeley, CA, has an opening for a part-time tasting room server! We are searching for someone responsible and trustworthy who can match our passion for sour beer and commitment to excellent service. Prior experience working in food service, beverage, sales, and/or customer service is preferred.


This position will require availability for a minimum of 3 days per week (10-30 hours per week).
Tasting Room shifts are Thursdays 3:00-11:30PM, Fridays 3:00PM-11:30PM, Saturdays 12PM-11:30PM, and/or Sundays 12:00PM-9:00PM. Availability for special events, which occur around 5-7 times per year, is also required. Hours of operations are subject to change.
This position will have the opportunity to progress into a 3-5 days per week position as shifts open up. If the new hire is interested, there is also the opportunity to work shifts outside of Tasting Room hours that include  prep work for the Tasting Room, Kitchen prep, Inventory Management, and Beer Club during the weekdays (typically Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday mornings and afternoons).


$13.25/ hour + tips


  • Applicants should have a great attitude and take pride in communicating effectively with customers and fellow employees.  
  • Applicants must be able to stand for long periods of time and be comfortable working on their feet. Applicants must also be able to lift 60 lbs (this is a bona fide requirement of the job)
  • Successful applicants must pass the ABC LEAD certification (alcohol service) within 60 days of commencing employment, and ServSafe Food Server certification prior to first day working in the Tasting Room. Successful applicants must renew these certifications (or their equivalent if changed over time) thereafter in accordance with company policy and regulatory requirements.
  • Applicants must be a team player, honest, trustworthy, dedicated, hard-working, self-motivated, and possess a keen attention to detail. A personal commitment to cleanliness and efficiency is required.
  • Must love sours.


  • Greet guests in a welcoming manner
  • Verify age from a government issued ID card before serving alcohol
  • Efficiently take orders and promptly serve guests (food, bottled/draft beer, merchandise)
  • Maintain a knowledge of the TRB brand to address any guest questions
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of what sour beer is and how it is made
  • Be able to competently describe all products available for sale
  • Accurately calculate food and merchandise bills, collect payments, and handle cash
  • Prepare hot food according to safe food handling practices
  • Act as an overall outstanding ambassador for our growing company.
Cleaning and Maintenance:
  • Wash and rotate glassware
  • Maintain a clean bar during and after service
  • Assist in cleaning draft system on a regular basis
  • Bus tables, clean dishes, and clean kitchen at closing
  • Maintain clean bathrooms
  • Rotate kegs and help keep the cold box organized
  • Participate in opening and closing cleaning responsibilities.


Pre-employment background check and drug test are required.
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.
To apply, please send a resume and cover letter in a single PDF to with the subject “Tasting Room Application: LAST NAME, FIRST NAME”. Thank you!


The Rare Barrel
October 18, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

Dry-hopped! Changing process leads to bottling

Here at The Rare Barrel, our process for dry hopping has changed significantly over the last few years. In the beginning we added the hops directly into each of the barrels of the blend and let the beer sit on the hops for two weeks. We then shifted to racking the full blend into a conical tank and adding the hops to the tank as most breweries would typically dry-hop a beer however, we were not ever completely satisfied with the hop expression resulting from this process.We felt there had to be a different way to extract better hop aroma and flavor. With this in mind, we were curious if there was an effect from the lower pH of these beers compared to that of clean hoppy beers, so we decided to alter our process again.
Our cellar is full of barrels with a range of characteristics, including higher and lower pHs, so to to see if we could get better character from dry-hopping beers with a higher pH (less sour), we tried out dry-hopping two barrels with pH readings around 4.0pH with the total amount of hops for a four oak barrel blend. After about a week we racked in two, more assertively sour barrels, bringing the pH of the blend down to around 3.5pH.
This first beer trialing this new process was our 2017 blend of Tangerang! a collaboration beer with Cellarmaker Brewing that we make every year for San Francisco Beer Week. We were very happy with the results of this blend, so we began discussing bottling a beer produced with this new process, we even test bottled about a case of this year’s blend of Tangerang! Early on we had some concern that the hop character would fade before the beer was ready to be released due to our bottle conditioning process. We currently re-ferment in the bottle with a wine yeast which we give at least 8 weeks to complete before release. After test bottling this blend of Tangerang! (and enjoying many hoppy mixed culture beers from other breweries) we are now more confident that the brettanomyces in our mixed cultures will preserve and enhance the hop character over time.
Due to their early success, we are excited to track the development of these bottles over time. It has been very interesting to compare how bottle conditioned hop character transforms with age when compared to force carbonated kegs. We will still continue to fine tune our process, in search of the best dry-hopped sour beer, but we can’t wait to release bottles of what we have been working on.
Stephan Noori
Inventory & Barrel Manager


Time Posted: Oct 18, 2017 at 11:45 AM
The Rare Barrel
July 7, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

The Art of Blending

Blending is at the core of what we do at The Rare Barrel. When we blend, we are combining different barrels to create a beer that either has characteristics that we would like to showcase on its own or that can support fruit. These barrels can showcase various fermentation profiles and/or malt bills. In our blog “Balancing Act” we discussed what we call “cellar balance.” A balanced cellar is what allows us to effectively blend toward the goal we have in mind. Each beer we release is a unique blend, individually conceived to both suit the ingredients being added, as well as the targets we have in mind for the beer.
Our blends are constantly evolving based on the characteristics of our cellar. In an effort to continue learning and improving our beers, we are always manipulating variables in our process. As such, each bottle of ours is a representation of a particular point in time in our progression. Consequently, no two vintages of a brand are completely the same.
Blending has evolved from blending together relatively homogeneous batches (in terms of fermentation) to more complex blends that bring together barrels with many different characteristics. Our earlier batches were simple fermentations (i.e. 1 brett strain, 1 lacto strain) that produced clean, lactic beers (both in terms of yeast character, as well as acidity). We have since greatly altered our process in search of a wider range of characteristics.
The wide range of attributes for potential barrels to use in a blend include: age, bitterness (both hop and perceived), gravity, acidity (both pH and general perception thereof), aromatics, and flavor. For example, in an effort to fine-tune the acid level of a blend, our blends currently contain anywhere from 25-50% sour barrels. The other 50-75% is comprised of barrels with a range of positive characteristics (such as brett or oak character), but would not be considered sour or even tart on their own. Although blending is approached on a blend by blend basis, whether or not the final blend will have fruit will have a big impact on how we craft the blend.
One consideration that impacts how we construct blends has to do fruit refermentation time. Fruited blends require 2-3 months after fruiting before transferring for packaging. This extra time before packaging allows us to include a small proportion of younger beer (3-4 months old) in the blend. The younger portion of the blend has more healthy and active yeast, which helps with the fruit refermentation. We have noticed more diacetyl blooms in barrels when using certain fruits (mostly berries such as blueberry, blackberry, and pomegranate). A healthier refermentation can help speed up the diacetyl clean up.
Another major consideration when constructing fruit blends is the acidity of the fruit being added. More acidic fruits such as raspberries and passion fruit require a less sour base to balance the fruit’s acidity. Although the fruit is the focal point of these blends, we still aim to bring together a blend that supports and enhances the fruit character.
Currently, we are blending the base beers for two fruited brands that we have released multiple vintages of: Map of the Sun and Ensorcelled. The previous blends for each of these beers became more sour over time as our blending stock became more sour. For the upcoming blends we are consciously aiming for a more balanced acid profile. We are pulling from barrels with a much wider array of fermentation profiles and acid levels. In addition to bringing the acid level into balance, we are also attempting to blend bases that are complementary to the fruits we are adding. For Map of the Sun, that involves bringing barrels in with interesting Brett aroma and flavor that might have been absent from prior blends. With Ensorcelled, we made adjustments to the malt bill to enhance the rich, chocolatey flavors in the base. We are excited to see how these turn out, but also look forward to future adjustments that can make for a better blend.
Non-fruited blends, such as our Forces Unseen series and Across the Sea, allow us to showcase barrels that have delicate, but highly desirable characteristics. The character we found to be exceptional in these barrels might have gotten lost behind a heavily fruited blend. In any barrel program, certain barrels will inevitably stand out and it is hard not to keep them aside for the perfect occasion. These non-fruited blends are that perfect occasion to let these exceptional barrels express themselves. Although we also have a soft spot for fruit forward sours, these non-fruited blends are the blends we really get excited about.
Our beer and approach/process are constantly evolving. Our blends are a representation of the characteristics of our cellar as a whole at a given time. Consequently, the way we blend now is different from the way we blended in the past and will likely be different from the we way we will blend in the future. Although it is gratifying to look back at this progression, we are always looking forward to how we can make the next beer better.  
Feel free ask any questions in the comments below. 
Stephan Noori
Barrel Inventory Coordinator


Time Posted: Jul 7, 2017 at 8:39 AM
The Rare Barrel
April 13, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

Balancing Act | Approaching Barrel Cellar Balance at The Rare Barrel

It is important to have a diversity of beer in our cellar to blend beers from. This diversity comes into play in different ways: when blending 3 - 4 oak barrels together for draft-only experiments a single barrel can have a significant impact on the final beer; yet, when we blend some of our larger releases we take a wider viewpoint to examine batch specific attributes (a “batch” is a single brew session, and typically results in about 14-15 oak barrels). Over the last year, cellar diversification has become a focal point amongst our production team. My intention with this blog post is to  give a glimpse of what variables we are currently taking into account when designing our sour blending beer, and where you can expect us to go in the future.

“Cellar Balance”

We talk a lot about “cellar balance” at The Rare Barrel, but what that means can be a bit elusive. On the most basic level, “cellar balance” means that we have groups of barrels with different characteristics, allowing us to blend for new as well as previously released brands. For example, if we are making a stone-fruit beer like Map of the Sun (our golden sour with apricots), we will blend toward a drier base beer that can reinforce or accentuate the apricot; but if we are making a beer like Home Sour Home (our golden sour with peaches, cinnamon and vanilla bean) we will seek out a beer that will have a pie-crust character. Both beers will use gold stock as their base, but because we have over 700 oak barrels of gold beer to choose from, we can play up certain attributes through barrel selection.
To conceptualize cellar balance, we tend to think of our barreled beers in loose, informal categories. Perhaps the most basic category is beer color. Since opening, The Rare Barrel has made four core “colors” of wort -- gold, red, dark, and black -- that are associated with four of our “core” brands -- Forces Unseen, Another World, Shadows of Their Eyes, and Ensorcelled. The majority of our beers use our gold base malt recipe, so 85% of what we brew is gold wort; we do, however,  brew our red, dark, and black base malt recipes throughout the year to have beer of different ages on hand for blending.
A few of the other prominent categories we consider when discussing cellar balance are acidity level, aromatics, age, dryness, and bitterness, all will be discussed further below.

Diversifying the Cellar

So, how do we create “cellar balance”? Let’s go through some of the variables that we use to diversify our barrel cellar.
Microbes: Perhaps no variable is more impactful on our beers than the microbes we use. Many of our early beers were fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces var. Drei and Lactobacillus Delbrueckii, but as we have continued to seek out new and different fermentation profiles we have vastly expanded our yeast and bacteria catalogue.  Currently we use yeast from many of the major brewing traditions (Belgian, French, American, British), and are continuing to explore the range of Brettanomyces available to commercial breweries. Oftentimes we will split our gold base wort into two fermenters, each with different yeast and bacteria. (Right now we have our gold recipe in one fermenter with a DuPont & Brett Blend and the other with Omega C2C Yeast.) If you’re interested in reading more on how we select and use yeast and bacteria at The Rare Barrel, check out our blog post (An Overview of Fermentation at The Rare Barrel).
Inoculation Timing: In addition to selecting different inoculants, another variable we tweak is the timing of when a beer might see either Brettanomyces and/or souring bacteria. Phenolic expressive (POF+) strains of Saccharomyces will leave compounds in the beer that some strains of Brettanomyces can later transform into some really delicious and unique flavors and aromas (one commonly discussed pathway is the transformation of the clovey 4-vinyl guaiacol found in hefeweizen to the funky or “horsey” 4-ethyl guaiacol). If the beer is inoculated with Brettanomyces alongside Saccharomyces, less of these compounds will be available for transformation, and the result is typically cleaner. Bacteria tends to grow at a faster rate than yeast, and can also diminish some of the flavors and aromatics created by yeast. Adding bacteria early in fermentation (when sugar is still available) will result in accelerated acid development at the expense of depth and complexity; adding it after both Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces have taken their turns results in less acidity, a generally longer timeline, but a more complex and nuanced beer. (Note too that most brewing bacteria are inhibited to varying degrees by hops, so that is another variable to attend to.)
Hops: We joke that hops were once a four letter word at The Rare Barrel, but through experimentation they’ve made their importance known and are now included in every batch we brew. Hops inhibit the growth of gram-positive bacteria (like Lactobacillus and Pediococcus), so they are a powerful tool in tempering acidity. We’ve found that even with a fairly robust hot-side hopping rate (~25 IBU), our house-adapted bacteria cultures will still produce acidity. Hops have aided our attempts to create more nuanced blends of sour beer, and we are excited to expand our exploration to include a wider range of varietals.
Malt Bill: Responding to patterns that we notice across numerous batches, at times we have tweaked our base recipes by swapping out or adjusting the percentages of particular grains. In recent batches of our black wort recipe, for example, we’ve subbed out American crystal malt for British crystal malt -- we’ve found that in our beers the British crystal results in a richer maltiness, while American crystal tends to be drier, grainy, and has a single-note sweetness. Right now we are in the process of updating our red recipe with the goal of drawing out more intense berry flavors.
Barrel History and Preparation: Oak is a porous material, and as all of our beers rest for 4 - 16 months in barrels, microbes penetrate and find a home in the wood of the barrel. When barreling down fresh beer, we consider what the previous tenant of that barrel might bring to the table. If we think that the resident microbes will be a good fit for the beer going in, we will either rack directly atop of the yeast and bacteria slurry, or we will lightly rinse the barrel with cold water and then rack in. If we wish to temper the impact of the previous beer on the new batch, we will use a high pressure gamma-jet to rinse the barrel with ozonated water, and then steam the barrel. Steaming will knock back the microbes for a while, but we’ve found that there is no way to entirely obliterate the impact of previous barrel residents.
Non-Sour Beer: Although we have been “All Sour Since 2012,” we do have beer in our cellar that is *gasp* not sour. Typically these are Saccharomyces / Brettanomyces beers that have gone into ozonated barrels. These beers have been a great tool as we look to draw back the acidity of some of our beers and to layer in a wider range of flavor and aromatics. These non-sour beers are created just as blending components and continue to impact the range of sour beer that we are able to blend--we have no intentions to release them on their own.
Although we talk of the goal of a having a “balanced” cellar, the effects of our efforts can take from 4 - 12 months to fully develop. Balancing really is a continual and reactive process.
Post up any questions and I’ll do my best to respond in a timely fashion.
Aaron Wittman
Research & Development Coordinator


Time Posted: Apr 13, 2017 at 9:00 AM

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