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Waterbury Republican -- A Winter Escape

BY WILL SISS | REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN 

When the snow and blustery wind chills you to the core, stepping inside a warm, hospitable tavern is just about the greatest feeling in the world. Such is the case with the Barrington Brewery & Restaurant, a microbrewery and brew pub in Great Barrington, Mass.

The brewery — located in a renovated barn off Route 7, north of downtown — is a pleasant retreat for anyone who wants to recover from the slopes or step away from winter's bitterness.

The selection of beer created in the barn, known as the Jenifer House Commons, is varied. On a recent Saturday afternoon, I treated myself to some respite and steak. To get to the bar, from the back entrance, you need to cross through the restaurant. It looked like a Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant I once went to, and I half expected to see signs of the Amish. I passed some giant beer steins and a Christmas tree decorated with beer cans, and negotiated my way toward the brewery equipment.

The giant, steel cylinders rose up like an altar across from the nine-tap bar that seated 10. At 2:45, sunlight was streaming through a window, completing the church-like effect. I chose to sit at a table for two, facing the burgundy-colored bar, which sported two televisions that broadcast football.

Nearly all the bar's tall, mismatched chairs of green and maroon were taken up by bundled-up patrons. Everyone was pretty quiet, except for one guy in his 50s who babbled about famous people he'd met. He peppered his speech with a lot of "uhhhs," which made me wish the incongruous classic soul tune that was playing was set a little louder.