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The Rare Barrel
July 9, 2019 | The Rare Barrel

Adventures in South America

A story told by Co-founder Alex Wallash

This story starts like many others… one friend introduces you to their friends however, this time around it doesn't stop there, some magic happens. In our case, our good friend Pete Slosberg introduced us to his friends Semilla, Ian, and Pisa from Juguetes Perdidos (a brewery in Argentina) and Oscar and German from Cerveceria Granizo (a brewery in Chile). Little did we know that we’d become friends and I'd have the pleasure to visit them in South America a year later.


Festival de Cervezas Extremas Juguetes Perdidos (May 25th - 26th, 2019)

This adventure began in Buenos Aires, Argentia, where I started off with the Festival de Cervezas Extremas Juguetes Perdidos. To my best knowledge this was the first festival in Latin America that was foucused on serving barrel-aged and sour beers! There were 62 participating breweries (mostly from Latin America with a select handful from the rest of the world) that poured their beers in a futbol (read: soccer) stadium in Juguetes Perdido’s neighborhood. Over 1,500 people attended the festival each day that had traveled from all across Latin America. For this first festival of it’s kind, the feeling in the air was electric.
The festival was EPIC. It was a huge honor that The Rare Barrel was one of the handfull of breweries from the USA that was able to participate. This was our first time sharing our beer in South America and we're excited about the opportunity. Personally I was incredibly excited to try some amazing mixed-culture and sour beers made in South America and really enjoyed tasting Catharina Sours, which I would say are closest described to a fruited Berliner Weise… light acidity, bright fruit character, balanced, and delightfully crushable. It's hard to describe all of the tasty beers I was able to try at this festival because there were so many!!!
I shared our sour beers...
And made some friends...

Collaboration & Asado

After the festival on May 27th, 2019, I had an amazing day brewing with our friends at Juguetes Perdidos. I got to enjoy many of their beers (which were fantastic) and listened to how Semilla taught homebrewing for free in Argentina for 15 years and had 16 barrels of sour beer in his living room before starting Juguetes Perdidos. 
We brewed a beer with a simple grist of 2-row and unmalted barley, mashed at a high temperature to favor some longer chain dextrins, added a small amount of bittering hops to the boil, and then knocked-out the beer into their new coolship!
Our brew was the second time they’ve used the coolship and from what we know, Juguetes Perdidos has the first coolship in South America! (*Note: it was the beginning of winter in South America with temperatures that were ideal for a coolship project.)
The brew day turned into an amazing hang sesh with ~20 people from 10 different breweries and asado (aka Argentinian BBQ). If you ever visit Argentina, you must try asado… it’s delectable. Free-range meat smoked over a wood fire and seasoned with nothing but salt, it’s simple and perfect. There is a real sense of community at Juguetes Perdidos, they have asado every Friday afternoon together, but if you don't have the pleasure of joining them, Los Talas is an amazing asado joint that I hope to visit again. 
Hanging with Ian, Pisa, and Semilla on the roof of Juguetes Perdidos...

Dinner, Beers, and Conversation

When the collab day was over, we headed over to Belgica, a craft beer bar and restaurant where we had a beer pairing dinner with four of our beers from The Rare Barrel.  Great food was enjoyed...
And stories were shared...
Tuesday night was quite special too, as Phil from Almanac, Zack from KCBC, and I got to speak to a theater full of brewers, homebrewers, and enthusiasts about how we make beer...
I was supposed to leave for Chile Wednesday morning, but due to a nation-wide strike, my flight was canceled. No worries...that gave a day to hang out with Mati and Nico at Dos Dingos for another asado while they collab’d with KCBC...
and some time to see Tor at Strange Brewing, who has some really cool mixed-culture projects in barrels right now. 


Waves, Beers, and More BBQ

Chile got off to a super chill start. I spent the first 3 nights with Jason, a surfer from California who has lived in Chile for 23 years and now grows hops in Chile under the name Lupulos Mantagua. Surfs and grows hops? Yea... we hit it off!
By day, we traveled around in search of surf, by night, we talked hops. On Saturday night, Oscar from Cervezeria Granizo invited us over to his house for a BBQ, where we were joined by our friend Peter Bouckaert (Purpose Brewing and Cellars) and where I was reuinited with my travel buddy Phil Emerson (Almanac).

Congreso De Barrel Aged & Sour Beer and Collaboration

On Monday, June 3rd, 2019,  I had the honor of speaking at the first Congreso Barrel Aged & Sour Beer, which was the first conference in Chile (and likely Latin America) specifically focused on producing barrel-aged and sour beer.
It was incredibly rewarding and special to speak on behalf of The Rare Barrel and share what we know about making sour beer along with other speakers like Peter Bouckaert (Purpose Brewing), Oscar (Cervezeria Granizo), Phil (Almanac), and more. HUGE shoutout to Cerveceria Granizo for organizing and hosting this conference! 
After the conference, we headed to Valpariso for a late night of celebrating where I couldn’t get enough of Granizo’s IRA … India Rosemary Ale. It might sound a little crazy on paper, but wow, that beer is amazing!
On the last day in Chile, I was happy to spend it making a beer with our friends at Granizo. We brewed some wort to make a saison base beer, but were lucky to score some whole cone hops grown by my new friend Jason at Lupulos Mantagua. The plan for this beer is to innoculate it with some of our mixed-culture after primary fermentation and then let the beer age and acidify in some Chilean Oak and Alerce barrels. 

Thank You

I am incredbily thankful to those who helped make this trip to Argentia and Chile so amazing! In particular I'd like to thank Pete Slosberg for introducing us to our new South American friends, Juguetes Perdidos in Argentina for hosting the Festival de Cervezas Extremas and for asking us to make beer with you all, Cerveceria Granizo in Chile for hosing the Congreso De Barrel Aged and Sour Beers, Miguel Rivas (@TheBeerTrekker) for taking amazing photos in Argentina, and all the amazing brewers in South America I met along the way who were so welcoming. 
- Alex
The Rare Barrel
March 22, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

Solidarity Forever | Collaboration Draft Release with The Pink Boots Society

Release Party - Friday, March 31st at The Rare Barrel

Much like the old saying goes “it takes a village to raise a baby”, it takes a variety of people in a community to realize a common vision. The Rare Barrel and the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Pink Boots Society, organizations that have strong focuses on education, creativity, engagement, and equality, wanted to work together to actualize these common values. To promote solidarity in a community (comprised of brewers, sales representatives, bartenders, lab analysts, writers, etc.) through a creative process that inspires a desire to learn, active participation, and encourages communication.
On March 2nd, The Rare Barrel hosted over 20 members of the Pink Boots Society, from various backgrounds in the SF Bay Area craft beer industry, for a collaborative blending day. By working directly with The Rare Barrel production team and sampling suggested base beer blends, participants were able to have an open dialogue surrounding the differences in the samples as well as The Rare Barrel’s practices in wort production, fermentation, and blending in sour beer production. After tasting the 2 suggested samples, each woman recorded notes on the differences between the two blends and then submitted a ballot for which one they preferred. After ballots were collected and a base beer was finalized, the Boots then broke up into 5 small groups and worked together to mix various tinctures into a carbonated sample of the selected base beer.
(photo credit : Gail Ann Williams)
An open exchange of ideas was hosted online prior to the blending day with suggestions from both Pink Boots Society members as well as The Rare Barrel on ingredients that would be interesting to trial. All 5 teams had access to trial ingredients such as papaya, tamarind, lemongrass, ginger, and rose petals in their carbonated samples. Each team’s potential blend was presented to the entire group. Every individual then tasted and ranked each sample from 1 - 5 (5 being the most favorable). Below is the recipe that resulted in this collaborative blending day.

Barrel 1: English Ale Yeast, Gigayeast French Saison, The Yeast Bay Saison Blend, Brettanomyces lambicus

Barrel 2: Gigayeast Saison Blend, Brettanomyces bruxellensis,

Barrel 3: English Ale Yeast, Brettanomyces claussenii, Brettanomyces bruxellensis

Barrel 4: The Yeast Bay Dry Belgian, Wallonian Farmhouse, NE Abbey Ale, Brettanomyces bruxellensis var. Drei

Barrel 1: Lactobacillus buchneri, Pediococcus damnosus

Barrel 2: Belgian mixed culture

Barrel 3 Belgian mixed culture

Barrel 4: Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Pediococcus damnosus

Coriander - 2.5 lbs / oak brl

Chamomile - 3 lbs. / oak brl

Rose Buds & Petals - 3 lbs / oak brl
















Oldest Beer in blend:12/21/2015
Youngest Beer in blend: 5/10/2016
(photo credit: Brittany Hobbs - Alvarado St Brewing Company, Assistant Brewer)
The result wasn’t just a new sour beer blend, but an exchange of information, ideas, and perspectives among not only the women involved but also between the Pink Boots Society and The Rare Barrel. It was an open space that empowered each individual to ask questions as well as provide input. It was a democratic process of working together to accomplish a common goal. It was a unifying experience, an experience of solidarity forever.
On Friday, March 31st at 4PM in the The Rare Barrel Tasting Room, we will be releasing on draft Solidarity Forever, a golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with rose petals, chamomile, and coriander. We will also be serving some guest beers from 8 breweries (shown below) that also have SF Bay Area Pink Boots members. Join us in the Tasting Room to raise a glass in solidarity, celebrate this collaborative release, and support the importance of education, creativity, engagement, and equality.
Alvarado St Brewing (Monterey, CA) | Mai Thai PA - IPA
Drake’s Brewing Company (San Leandro, CA) | Hopocalypse - Triple IPA
Fieldwork Brewing Company (Berkeley, CA) | Eastside Motel - Double IPA
Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, CA) | Hoppy Pilsner
Seabright Brewery (Santa Cruz, CA) | Nectar of Ishtar (PBS Big Boots Brew) - Honey Wheat Ale
Shanty Shack Brewing (Santa Cruz, CA) | Liquid Luck - IPA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, CA) | Narwhal - Imperial Stout
21st Amendment Brewery (San Francisco, CA) | Hell or High Watermelon - Wheat Beer w/Watermelon
What is even more special about this event is that for 1 day only we will be filling any clean 32oz and 64oz growler brought in with Solidarity Forever. There are just a few requests we need to ask prior to bringing in your growlers to this collaboration release 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
* The Pink Boots Society is a non-profit organization that assists to advance careers for women beer industry professionals by raising money for educational scholarships. They provide scholarship opportunities to members for conferences, seminars, and courses put on by the MBAA, Seibel Institute, American Brewer’s Guild, and many more. To further support the Pink Boots Society, The Rare Barrel will donate all proceeds from every glass of draft sold for this release event on March 31st, and $1 from every glass sold through the Tasting Room after the release, back to the organization to promote the importance of furthering beer education.
The Rare Barrel
November 8, 2016 | The Rare Barrel

Crowd-sourced Collaboration Between Yazoo Brewing Company and The Rare Barrel

We're excited to announce that Brandon Jones​ of Yazoo Brewing Company​ is teaming up with us to work on what we're calling a "Crowd-Sourced Sour" collaboration!! That means we're opening every part of the process to share with the public, mainly through The Sour Hour and Milk The Funk​!

Brandon will be on The Brewing Network's The Sour Hour tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5 PM PST and we'll definitely be chatting about this project along with drinking some of his latest creations.

Our main goal with this project is to drive discussion of sour beer making techniques and philosophies. From brew day, to fermentation and aging, and all the way through packaging, you'll be able to not only follow the process with unprecedented access, but actually be able to influence the final outcome of the beer! We know this beer will be a Logistical Nightmare (<-- good beer name!), but the value of collaborating in this manner is to learn from the diverse opinions and knowledge of the sour beer community, pro brewers and home brewers alike!

For more details, you can follow this on @YazooBrew, @TheRareBarrel, @embracethefunk, Milk The Funk, and The Sour Hour by searching #SourCollab!
The Rare Barrel
September 21, 2015 | The Rare Barrel

The Sour Hour Podcast

Do you like learning about sour beer? If so, you might enjoy The Sour Hour podcast on The Brewing Network!

The Sour Hour is a podcast made for sour heads, homebrewers, and professional brewers who are interested in spreading knowledge sour beers.  The show is hosted by Scott Moskowitz of The Brewing Network and Jay Goodwin from The Rare Barrel, and they are usually joined by special guests on each episode.

The Sour Hour is available for free through iTunes! If you have any questions you’d like Jay and Scott to answer on the show, feel free to email your questions to or call 888.401.BEER when they are in the studio!

Here is a list of episodes and special guests that are available at the time of this blog post…

Episode 1 – Michael Tonsmeire, author of American Sour Beers

Episode 2 – Lauren Salazar of New Belgium

Episode 3 – Cory King of Side Project and Perennial Artisan Ales

Episode 4 – Troy Casey of Casey Brewing and Blending

Episode 5 – Tim Clifford of Sante Adairius Rustic Ales

Episode 6 – Q&A Episode

Episode 7 – Nick Impellitteri of The Yeast Bay

Episode 8 – Chad Yakobson of Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

Episode 9 - Q&A Episode

Episode 10 – Rudi Ghequire of Rodenbach Brewery

Episode 11 – Jean of Cantillon, Vinnie of Russian River, and Rob and Jason of Allagash

Episode 12 – Jim Crooks of Firestone Walker Barrelworks

Episode 13 – Milk The Funk

Episode 14 – Adrienne Ballou and Garrett Crowell of Jester King Brewery

Episode 15 –Jester King continued 

The Rare Barrel
September 3, 2015 | The Rare Barrel

Err On The Side of Awesome - A Collaboration with New Belgium


a wise man advised
"you should err
on the side
of caution"

to that they replied
"we will err
on the side
of awesome"


The Story


Last week was awesome. Jay and Alex flew out to New Belgium Brewing to blend a sour beer with Lauren Salazar. Our friend Lauren is the Blender at New Belgium, a giant in the world of sour beer, and an all-around badass. The final blend we created is called “Err On The Side Of Awesome”, but in order to fully understand this collaboration, we’re going to take a step back in time…

On a brisk afternoon in the fall of 2007, Alex’s uncle took him on a tour of New Belgium. While Alex was on the tour, he realized that brewing is using the science of biology to create art… to create beer that was way better than the stuff he was drinking at the time (crazy as it is, Alex's mom caught a picture of that exact moment below). Upon returning home, Alex got a homebrew kit, and started brewing in his kitchen with his roommate and best friend, Jay. Fast forward in time, Jay is working at The Bruery, Lauren teaches him how to start their sensory program, and a friendship is born.

Roughly around the same time that Alex went on his tour of New Belgium though, New Belgium was looking to get rid of a few of their oak barrels, and decided to send them out to other breweries. Lauren marked the barrels that she wanted to keep and she marked the ones she wants to send out. Time passes, the seasons change, and she finds herself visiting Russian River. While she’s touring Russian River, she sees a barrel marked “pH1”… which was never supposed to leave New Belgium! pH1 was one of New Belgium’s original seven oak barrels and it was producing amazing sours. Whoops. This barrel, pH1, ended up contributing to Russian River’s exceptional beer, Beatification, and ended up living there for quite some time.

A few years later, Alex and Jay catch wind of this story, and love the idea behind it… the idea that there is this one exceptional barrel that has a perfect blend of yeast and bacteria. With that in mind, Jay and Alex decide to name their brewery “The Rare Barrel”, in reference to the legendary pH1.


About one year ago, Russian River surprised Lauren by sending her beloved pH1 back to her! She excitedly filled it up, and began to age a cherry sour in it. The cherry sour aged for a year, and brings us back to present time. pH1 has bright cherry notes, is assertively sour, and very dry. pH1 is bold, and pH1 is ready to be blended. By this point, we’re good friends with Lauren, and a collaboration with New Belgium and The Rare Barrel is born, with pH1 right smack dab in the middle of it.  The circle is complete.

The Collaboration

Lauren, Jay, and Alex spent three epic days in the wood cellar tasting through a wide variety of samples from New Belgium’s barrel and foeder program. We started with pH1 at the center, which was assertively sour and dry with bold cherry notes and free from off flavors. It was a perfect beer to blend with, because it had so much personality that we were able to carry though the entire blend. After days of tasting, blending, tasting, and more blending, we came up with a blend that we were all quite proud of.

The final blend consists of pH1, eight oak barrels of cherry sour, and parts of 2 foeders of Felix (pale sour). Check out the video below for a fast tour through the wood cellar to see pH1 and the 2 foeders. The final blend ratio of Err On The Side Of Awesome is 4 parts cherry sour, 1 part Felix from Foeder 59, and 1 part Felix from Foeder 29. Err On The Side of Awesome is assertively sour with bright notes of cherries, pineapple, white wine, and friendship. 

For more details on this collab, feel free to check out The Full Pint's story too. 


The Rare Barrel
February 16, 2015 | The Rare Barrel

Collaborations with Cellarmaker Brewing Company

Fact: Cellarmaker Brewing Company knows their hops.

We teamed up with our buds from Cellarmaker Brewing Company to create 3 dry-hopped sour collaborations for SF Beer Week. We brought the sour base beers, and they brought the hop schedule. Done and done. 

Why 3 dry-hopped sours? Well, we collaborated with Cellarmaker to create a dry-hopped golden sour called Tangerang back in 2014, and we were both quite proud of that. Tropical and juicy, Tangerang is like a refreshing and crushable IPA that is sour instead of bitter. We thought it would be fun to explore dry-hopping sours a little bit further, so we teamed up with those guys to create a few more of these. Here are the details on the three collabs we made with them...

Tangerang - golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with motueka, citra, and columbus

Breakfast Time - golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with apricots and dry-hopped with citra, simcoe, and equinox

What Hop Pun? - golden sour beer aged in oak barrels and dry-hopped with citra

In order to preserve the freshness hop character in these beers, we made them for draft only. Don't worry though.... if you missed 'em this time, we'll probably bring them back again in the near future. 

With Friendship, 

The Rare Barrel
July 29, 2014 | The Rare Barrel

Collaboration Series: On the Shoulders of Giants

Sir Isaac Newton once wrote “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." As an all-sour beer company starting out in a thriving craft beer revolution, this quote has struck a chord in our hearts.

Take a moment to think about your favorite craft beer, your most memorable brewery visit, and the friends you’ve met through your shared interest in craft beer. The craft beer revolution that we enjoy today has grown and flourished through the hard work, passion, and dedication of the brewers and pioneers who paved the way for those of us who are starting breweries today. We have the utmost respect for those who have come before us and shaped the amazing craft beer industry that we have today.

In honor of those who have contributed immensely to the growth of craft beer, we are starting our first collaborative series of beers, called “On the Shoulders of Giants”. In this series, we will collaborate with a person (aka a “giant”); someone who has significantly and positively changed the landscape of beer. Once we have blended and released a beer with one of the “giants”, we will work with that person to select the “giant” for the next collaboration in the series.  In our first installment of On the Shoulders of Giants, we collaborated with our personal “giant”, Pete Slosberg.

Pete Slosberg co-founded Pete’s Brewing Company in 1986. His flagship beer, Pete’s Wicked Ale, was an American Brown Ale that was made with an all-malt recipe and a focus on quality ingredients. In a time when craft beer awareness wasn’t nearly as prevalent as it is today, Pete understood that education about craft beer was paramount to understanding awareness about craft beer. In order to promote better understanding about beer, Pete created “Pete’s Landscape of Beers”, an educational tool that he used to “teach anyone to be expert in craft beer in 10 minutes”. When hiring a new employee, the offer letter included three books, and the new hire was required to take a beer test on their first day with the company. In a time when 6 packs were the norm, he was among the first package his beers in a 22 oz. bottle as a core strategy for the packaging (take a moment to think about how much of an impact that has had on how we try beer today!).  And what about cans? Pete was among the first craft breweries to put his craft beer in cans, which eventually could be enjoyed on four different airlines. In a time when seasonal varieties were limited to just a Christmas or pumpkin beers, Pete was the first to offer four different seasonal beers. Pete's Brewing Company was the first to sponsor the Ninkasi Award through American Homebrewers Association, an award given to the most awarded homebrewer at the National Homebrewer's Conference. Part of the prize included being the first homebrewer to do a collaboration that was released nationally. When KQED hosted a beer fest in the early 1990’s and asked Pete for a donation, he auctioned off a dinner with himself, instead of the traditional case of beer or shirt. Greg Koch and Steve Wagner won the auction and joined Pete for dinner, a few years before they went on to found Stone Brewing Company. When Facebook and Twitter weren’t yet an option for communicating with his followers, he created an ad campaign in 1994 that the NY Times said was one of the top 10 nationally, across all companies. When Pete heard he was going to be a first time grandfather, he approached Drie Fonteinen about blending a special sour beer in honor of his grandson's birth, a beer that could be cellared for 20+ years for that generation.  Armand and Lydie thought it was a crazy idea, but supported it.  For the first time ever, Armand blended a beer from only his worts.  This inspired Armand and Lydie to create their own unique offering from this blend, Armand 4, Spring. In a time when the options for craft beer were few and far between, Pete did things his own way. With 10 years of over 100% growth and making the Inc. 500 list for fastest growing private company, Pete’s Brewing Company was a force in craft beer that changed the idea of beer as we know it today.

In our first installment of “On the Shoulders of Giants”, we gave Pete the keys to our barrel house, and let him create his perfect sour. After tasting though countless barrels, Pete decided to create and blend a dark sour beer with sour cherries. Pete chose the barrels, blended the beer, added the sour cherries, bottled the beer, and visited often to check-in on his blend. With rich notes of dark chocolate and cherries, this beer is arguably one of our most sour beers yet. With the recent birth of his granddaughter McKayla, Pete created this beer with the intention of sharing these bottles with McKayla on her 21st birthday, in 2034 (we can’t guarantee this beer will age that long, but will definitely be tracking it’s progress over the years!).

Pete – Thank you for all you have done in craft beer to create an environment where a few guys with the crazy idea of starting an all-sour brewery have a chance to share our passion with the world.  If we have seen further it is by standing on your shoulders. 


Time Posted: Jul 29, 2014 at 1:21 PM Permalink to Collaboration Series: On the Shoulders of Giants Permalink Comments for Collaboration Series: On the Shoulders of Giants Comments (1)

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