July 19, 2016 | The Rare Barrel
Long story short... we’re conducting our first Search for The Rare Barrel. Over the course of 3 days, our friends along with some of our Ambassadors of Sour will participate in an extensive tasting of our barrel house in order to find the best barrel of beer...aka “The Rare Barrel.” We’ll serve a portion of The Rare Barrel on tap for everyone to try, and then use the other portion to inoculate another batch of beer for future enjoyment.
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 around 26 years ago. After a few years of housing wine, she found her way to New Belgium, 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, and now we need help searching for “The Rare Barrel” in our barrel house.
WHAT | The Search for The Rare Barrel will span 3 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 first two days of The Search on Friday and Saturday. We’ll crunch the data from The Search Party to find the 10 best barrels in our barrel house. These barrels will move forward to Sunday, which is the third and final day of The Search, where we will get help from Lauren Salazar of New Belgium Brewing and Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River. They will help us taste through the top 10 barrels and, from those, select The Rare Barrel.
WHERE | Barrel Cellar and Tasting Room @ The Rare Barrel, 940 Parker St, Berkeley, CA 94710
WHEN | Friday, September 16th
Saturday, September 17th
Sunday, September 18th
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 approximately 100 flights of 3 barrel samples available in the Tasting Room 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.
DRAFT | Below is a draft list of what we intend to serve throughout the weekend. Please note some guest beers may not be served each day and may sell out. To see what will be offered on draft as well as bottles available to go or for on-site consumption please see our Tasting Room Menu by clicking here. Our menu will be updated by Noon each day of The Search.
TRB SOUR BEER
Gifted Branch - golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with tons of peaches and a dash of apricots, 6.7%
Arrows of Neon - golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with lemon peel and lime peel, 5.6%
Wise Guise - a blend of Ensorcelled and our golden sour beer aged in oak barrels, 5.6%
Forces Unseen - a blend of golden sour beers aged in oak barrels, 5.5%
Ensorcelled - dark sour beer aged in oak barrels, 6.2%
Another World -a blend of red sour beers aged in oak barrels, 5.8%
Shades of Cool - golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with black currants, 5.8%
Cosmic Dust - golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with hibiscus, 5.7%
Stone Age Love - golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with tart cherries, 5.7%
STS Pils, Russian River Brewing Co, - Czech Pilsner, 5.3%
Dribble Belt, Russian River Brewing Co, - Pale Ale, 4.5 %
Pliny the Elder, Russian River Brewing Co, - Double IPA, 8%
Supplication, Russian River Brewing Co, - Sour ale aged in Oak Barrels with Cherries, 7%
1554, New Belgium Brewing, - Black Lager, 5.6%
Trippel, New Belgium Brewing, - Belgian Style Ale, 8.5%
Le Terroir, New Belgium Brewing, - Dry-hopped Sour Ale, 7.5 %
NBB Love Oscar, New Belgium Brewing, - Base of La Folie aged in Cabernet barrels from Chateau Montelena
FOOD | We’ll have a different food truck on site each day! Please see the schedule below.
Friday, September 16th from 4PM - 9PM | Passione Pizza
Saturday, September 17th from 1PM - 7PM | Tacos El Rey
Sunday, September 18th from 1PM - 7PM | Doc’s Classic Comfort Food
So are you in?
PS -pH1 was gifted from Russian River back to New Belgium back in 2014, and then New Belgium gifted her to us in 2015. It’s a real honor to be the current shephard of pH1. If you’d like to hear the full story of pH1 as told by Gail Ann Williams and Steve Shapiro in issue #111 of Beer Advocate Magazine, click here for a great read!