Brew Biz: Werts and All

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

Written by Ken Carman

Barrington Brewery and Restaurant
aka: Berkshire Mountain Brewery
420 Stockbridge Road
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Brewer and owner: Andrew Mankin

As a kid I traveled a few times through the west side of New England, via Connecticut. I was with my father… on business trips. Not the nicest locations in New England, to be overly polite. And we flew into Boston once, going to… ah, once again, “not the nicest locations…” So when my friend Dell, and his mother Kathleen Setzer, kept asking me to go with them to a camp near Otis, Massachusetts, I avoided it like intentionally exposing myself to chicken pox again.

Boy did I screw up.

The Berkshires are every bit as beautiful as my beloved Adirondacks. But on the plus side, I might never have had the adventure of discovering the Berkshires with an adult’s perspective and going places that simply weren’t around back then, like Great Barrington Brewery.

Great Barrington Brewery; otherwise known as Berkshire Mountain Brewing, sits just a few miles north of dead center Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Duh: hence the name. If you’re coming out of Pittsfield or Lee, Massachusetts you take Rt. 7 straight down to GB, but from Becket it’s route 8 to 23 west to route 7 north. It’s be on the eastern side of 7; midst an antique store and several shops in the Jennifer House Commons.

I met Andrew Mankin the brewer, for the first time, last year. A little tall; thin, he is also the owner and the creative inspiration behind this brewpub. He is not classically trained, yet he brews beers that are stylistically more on the mark than most Siebel/UC Davis/etc. brewers I have met. Unlike too many “classically” trained-only brewers I have met, most of his beers I’ve tried are not only on the mark style-wise, but couldn’t be described as bland, or boring. Last year I shared his Vienna with my beer tasters in Beaver River and they raved about it. As a judge I was impressed with the stylistic accuracy of his Vienna, yet just how individually pleasing of a brew it was. A brew can fit the styles quite well, yet be so boring you wonder if you should drink it, or use it to wash your car seats to give it that pleasing beer scent the officers so love. “Well, I was going to give you a ticket, but the interior of you car is so pleasingly odoriferous…”
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