About Our Beer
What is sour beer?
Sour beer is a type of beer that is fermented with yeast and bacteria. The bacteria, often found in other foods like cheese, bread, and salami, produces acids that give the beer a tart and refreshing flavor profile. All of our sour beers are also aged in oak barrels for an average time of 9-12 months.
Are all of your beers aged in oak barrels?
Most definitely. Every beer we have released was aged in oak barrels. Our average barrel aging time is somewhere between 9-12 months. However, some beers can take a little longer than others. Someone wiser than us once said, “Sour beer is ready when sour beer says sour beer is ready.” So deep.
Why do you only make sour beer?
We love sour beer. It’s our favorite style of beer. Learning about sour beer and barrel aging is what excites us. We believe that by focusing entirely on sour beer, we’ll be able to learn more and produce better sour beer than we would if we didn't focus entirely on sour beer. We often refer to what we’re doing as a decades-long experiment.
What type of yeast and bacteria do you use to ferment and sour your beers?
All of our beers contain at least one strain of yeast and one strain of bacteria, but most of them include multiple strains of each. Lactobacillus and Pediococcus are the two most common species of bacteria that we use to ferment our beers. All of our beers contain Brettanomyces, and some of them contain Saccharomyces.
What type of barrels do you use?
The majority of our beers are aged in neutral red wine barrels. We’ve recently been experimenting with aging beer in fresh wine barrels and spirit barrels and have released some of these sour beers on draft and in bottles.
Why are you in Berkeley?
Berkeley’s climate hovers between 50-70F, which is an ideal fermentation range. We also dig the Berkeley vibe.
Do you make kettle sours or quick sours?
No. We prefer to focus our attention on producing barrel-aged sour beers.
Have you won any awards?
Yup, we’ve picked up some hardware
at the two most prestigious beer competitions in the world.
Do you have a brewhouse?
We do not have a brewhouse. We produce our recipes of wort at a few other craft breweries, then bring it back to our place to manage all fermentation, barrel aging, and packaging.
What does The Rare Barrel mean?
The Rare Barrel is named after an idea. The idea that in the 1,000+ oak barrels of sour beer that we have, there is one barrel that is better than the rest. This barrel is better than the rest because of the unique blend of yeast and bacteria that fermented that beer. With help from our customers, peers, and heroes, we’ll search for the best barrel of beer and name it “The Rare Barrel” for that year. The Rare Barrel will be served at a party for y’all to enjoy, but the majority of that barrel will be used to inoculate another batch of beer and eventually permeate our future beers.
How do I learn more about how to make sour beer?
Jay Goodwin, one of the co-founders and Director of Blending and Brewing at The Rare Barrel, hosts a podcast on The Brewing Network called The Sour Hour. On The Sour Hour, Jay and Moscow (co-host) discuss sour beer production while interviewing other sour beer producers and experts. When you are ready to geek out over sour beers, there are over 40 hours worth of episodes that are available to stream for free through iTunes.
Visiting the Tasting Room
What is the Tasting Room?
The Tasting Room is a space where you can enjoy a variety of sour beers on tap while gazing upon the barrels that produced those very same beers. The Tasting Room is our opportunity to share our love and knowledge of sour beer with you and your friends. With a variety of beers on tap and in bottles, it’s a place to learn about sour beer, party over sour beer, or simply enjoy a glass or two in our beautiful space… the choice is yours.
What do you have on tap?
We usually have 5-10 of our sour beers, 4-6 non-sour guest beers, and and 2 wines on tap. Click here for our most recent Tasting Room menu
. Follow us on Instagram
, or Twitter
to learn about our next draft or bottle release.
Do you fill growlers?
It’s complicated. In order to control our supply of beer, we currently only fill our own branded growlers. Branded growlers are only available through an Ambassadors of Sour membership, or by borrowing a growler from your friend who is or was an Ambassador. Unfortunately, we do not sell branded growlers in our Tasting Room at this time.
Do you offer different size pours?
Yup. Most of our beers are available in 10oz and 5oz pours.
What temperature do you serve your beer at?
We serve our sour beer at 44F and non-sour guest beer at 39F. We serve our beer at 44F because the small increase in temperature really enhances the flavors and aromas experienced in the sour beers. It tastes just a little bit better when it’s a little bit warmer.
Can I buy bottles to go?
Can I buy bottles to drink on-premise?
Usually. We typically have 1-3 select bottles from our cellar available for consumption on-site. Our “From The Cellar” bottle list rotates every week or two. It will be most current starting on Thursday with the possibility that we may run out of certain brands by Sunday. Why aren’t these bottles offered to go? The majority of these bottles were already sold to the public 1-3 years ago, and we just happened to save a few bottles from each release for this special experience in our Tasting Room.
Can my kids come with me to the Tasting Room?
Yes, people under 21 years of age are allowed in our Tasting Room. However, our accommodations are more tailored to those who are 21 years of age and older . Our Tasting Room can get active and loud at times, which can be fun for adults but could be uncomfortable for some little tikes and adults-in-training.
What are your hours?
Why are you only open some days and not others?
We only have enough draft and bottled beer to support our current Tasting Room hours. 99% of our beer is sold directly through our Tasting Room and to our Ambassadors of Sour. We plan to expand our hours when our supplies permit.
Can I buy bottles outside of the Tasting Room hours of operations?
Sorry, but we are not set up to process any bottle sales when the Tasting Room is closed.
Do you serve food?
Most definitely. We offer a grilled cheese with garlic infused olive oil and a pickle on the side for $5. It’s only one option, but it’s mad decent.
Can I bring my own food in?
Totally. Feel free to bring in any food you’d like. The acidity in the sour beers cuts through fatty foods very well. We think various cheeses, breads, charcuterie, pizza, and macaroni and cheese pair particularly well with our sour beers.
Can I bring my pet dog or goat to the Tasting Room?
We love dogs and goats, but unfortunately the Health Department does not permit animals to party in our restaurant.
Do you offer tours?
Sorry, but we do not have a tour program. However, our Tasting Room staff is very knowledgable about our sour beers and sour beer production, so feel free to get chatty with them! The Tasting Room is located in a corner of our barrel house, so you can sip on your sour while hanging out amongst the barrels.
Can I book a private party?
We like to party and we like to throw parties, but unfortunately we do not book private parties or events in our Tasting Room.
How do I buy your bottles?
Bottles are currently sold through our Tasting Room and online through our Ambassadors of Sour beer club. Bottles are not always available in the Tasting Room, but you can conveniently see what is available by seeing our menu here. For more information on the benefits of being apart of Ambassadors of Sour click here
Can I buy bottles when the Tasting Room is closed?
Sorry, but we only process bottle sales during normal Tasting Room hours.
Can I buy bottles online?
As of now, we are currently online sales with our Ambassadors of Sour beer club. We occasionally sell bottles online to the public through Online Bottle Access for a 24-hour period. For more information on the benefits of being apart of Ambassadors of Sour click here
. And click here
to sign up for our Newsletter to get more information on our next Online Bottle Access sale.
Do you ship your bottles?
As of now, shipping services are currently only available through our beer club and to those that purchase bottles through Online Bottle Access.
Are your bottles available in shops and bars?
We currently have a limited amount of bottles to sell to shops, bars, and restaurants.
About the Beer Club
Do you have a beer club?
Why do you have a beer club?
We started a beer club to make it convenient for people who love sour beer to get access to our sour beer. Our club members have the ability to purchase most bottle releases conveniently online, instead of having to wait in line. As an Ambassador, you can pick up your bottles purchased online in the Tasting Room, have it shipped to your home in California, or have us store your bottles at the brewery for up to a year if you or your trustee want to pick up your bottles at a later date.
What are the benefits of joining Ambassadors of Sour?
Our 2016 Ambassadors of Sour membership include 10 bottles of beer (2 bottles of 5 brands that we choose) that are exclusive to the Ambassadors, the ability to conveniently purchase most bottle releases online, the ability to have us store your beer for up to one year, the ability to ship your beer to an address inside California, the ability for you or a trustee to pick up your beer in the Tasting Room, a growler, glassware, and a 10% discount on all purchase. Click here for the full details
Can I join if I live outside of California?
Most definitely. We have a lot of Ambassadors who do not live in California. You'll still have the ability to purchase the majority of our bottle releases conveniently online, however, you'll need to figure out how to get the bottles from CA to your refrigerator. Some of our Ambassadors who do not live in CA will give their friend permission to pick up their bottles for them, will ship their bottles to a friend who lives in CA, or will wait until they visit CA to pick them up. We currently allow you to store your bottles here until March 31st of the year following your membership.
How do I join Ambassadors of Sour?
Ambassadors of Sour is currently full and enrollment is now closed. We will re-open enrollment around October of each year. Sign up for our Newsletter
or follow us on Instagram
, or Twitter
to find out when enrollment opens again.
How fast does enrollment fill up?
We don’t know how fast enrollment will take to fill up this year, but enrollment filled up in less than 24 hours for our 2017 club.
Retail Sales Inquiries
Do you wholesale draft beer and bottle beer to be resold at shops, bars, and restaurants?
We do, but it is an extremely limited supply. We only have enough beer to support a few accounts, and they don’t even get beer that regularly. We currently don’t have enough beer to support retail sales regularly.
Who should I contact about setting up a wholesale account to buy bottles or draft beer to resell at my shop, bar, or restaurant?
We have limited room for new accounts, so it’s pretty unlikely we’ll be able to make anything happen. Lame… we know. However, you can always drop us a line at email@example.com.
Can I buy bottles in your Tasting Room and resell them?
No, you cannot buy and resell bottles without a having a Wholesale Account with us. It is illegal to resell bottles purchased from our Tasting Room or beer club. This will jeopardize your Alcohol Beverage Control licence, and we will not do business now or in the future with any person and/or retail licence found violating the law this way. That’s sketchy, and we play by the rules.
When is your Anniversary Party? I hear it's fun.
Yup, you heard correctly... our Anniversary Party is a blast. The date for our 4th Anniversary Party has not been set yet, however, it will most likley be in October of 2017. Tickets will be available online a few months before the party. The Tasting Room will be closed for this event. Sign up for our Newsletter
for more information.
What events and festivals do you participate in each year?
Since we only have enough draft and bottled beer to support our current Tasting Room hours, it is difficult for us to commit to many events and festivals. Join our Newsletter
and follow us on Instagram
, or Twitter
to learn about the events we participate in throughout the year. A few events that you are likely to find our beer at include the Great American Beer Festival (Denver, CO), Beer Advocate’s Extreme Beer Festival (Boston, MA), Firestone Walker Invitational (Paso Robles), Rate Beer’s Best (Santa Rosa, CA).
How can I get The Rare Barrel to participate in an event/festival in my area?
Due to the the limited amount of draft and bottles we produce, we are unable to participate in many of the awesome events that come our way. However, you can always send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I join your Production team?
If you are interested in joining our Production Team, please click here
to learn more.
How do I find out about other job openings?
We post all of our jobs on social media. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to hear about new job openings. Click here if you are interested in joining our Production Team.