I was recently in California and was eager to visit The Rare Barrel Brewery in Berkeley. I first encountered the brewery at the 2014 Great American Brew Fest in Denver and I was amazed by the sour ales from such a young brewery.
It took awhile to find the place, the brewery is in a receded kind of alley way between two other buildings.
The taproom reminds me of Oskar Blues Brewery, where it's part of the brewery not a separate room. You can drink your beer with a view of the barrels in the back. There were many many barrels, I had to remind myself that I wasn't at Avery Brewing with barrels going up towards the ceiling.
We approached the bar that was full, but there's a space for ordering beers by the cash register. The bartender asked what we wanted to order and when I asked for a taster set, we were told that on the back of the menu it's stated they don't do tasters. Okay, so I order a beer and went to a barrel table and stood there while drinking my beer. Low and behold, at the bar another bartender was giving a couple tasters of the beers.
What, I thought they didn't do that! So my husband asked another staff member about it and she said it was up us to ask for tasters, what!
So my dilemma is, what constitutes a taster? I get a confused look by waitstaff who don't understand what I want, a full 4-5 ounce of beer or a splash of beer. What is the right vernacular for ordering a taster?
On a positive note, the beer was excellent. I had the Keen Observation of the Echo Series, a golden sour aged in unrinsed Map of the Sun, their golden sour aged with apricots. It was really tart and very flavorful. i would recommend going there but just be warned, NO TASTERS!