Reviewed: The Rare Barrel In Good Time
Official description: Fermented with a blend of yeast and bacteria, In Good Time is a golden sour beer aged in chardonnay wine barrels for nearly 2 years. Only in good time did this beer begin to showcase barrel character with aromas of toasted oak and notes of maple and vanilla bean that complimented an expressive base blend that features tones of cider, pear, and lemon zest. The Rare Barrel – The Rare Barrel In Good Time 2018 – 750mL bottle served in Rastal Harmony glass – 6.3% ABV
The Rare Barrel (Berkeley, CA) is an all-sour beer company. I first tried their beer back in 2014 and was immediately impressed. Given their acidity and large format bottles, most Rare Barrel beers I’ve tried have been in tasting settings. Last year, I reviewed Blurred CsT, the first beer from them that I’d been able to sit down with for a prolonged period and really appreciate in detail. Blurred CsT was outstanding and was a runner-up for my favorite new beers of 2019.
I’m reviewing the 2018 vintage of In Good Time, which to my knowledge is the only release so far. There’s’ no bottling or best-by date since this beer can be cellared for several years. An “18” is all you get and all you need to know. Into my glass, In Good Time is a chardonnay-colored bright straw yellow with some chill haze and modest sudsy foam. Bringing up the glass, I get freshly sliced green pear and yellow apple, crushed green grapes, pineapple, and saltwater. As it warms, buttery apple pie comes through. Flavors are nicely rounded here with a good mix of residual sugar, spicy acetic acid, and tannic oak barrel. The finish isn’t too puckering with overall acidity high but not overwhelming. After getting through a full glass, In Good Time comes across as refined and well-balanced with similarities to Russian River’s Temptation, arguably the gold standard for Chardonnay barrel-aged American sour ale. Its intensity, though, is still better suited to a larger group tasting or perhaps in conjunction with a cheese pairing. It’s a special occasion beer for sure.
Perceived Specs for The Rare Barrel In Good Time 2018
In Good Time is a special beer that achieves an impressive balance between sweet golden fruits like pear and apple with spicy acidity and firm tannins. That residual sugar is key to allowing the other flavors to pop and allows you to enjoy the beer fully rather than having to sip and baby it. The Chardonnay barrel comes through with pineapple and crushed grape flavors along with buttery apple pie. Overall, this was outstanding. Though I still feel its calling is for a sour beer and cheese pairing.
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