Joshua M. Bernstein
The author and journalist’s latest project is the app Craft Beer NY, an indispensable tool for anyone who wants to know about the best places to drink good beer here in the city.
What neighborhood do you live in?
For the last 10 years, I’ve lived in Crown Heights—or Prospect Heights, depending on which realtor you ask. I moved here after a two-year stint in Astoria, Queens. We were looking for a cheap, spacious apartment that was close to Prospect Park, and we found a great three-bedroom apartment for a fair price. And we have yet to move. I’ve always loved the Caribbean food and proximity to the park and Brooklyn Museum, but in the last few years Franklin Avenue has really blown up with bars and restaurants galore. The neighborhood is drastically different than 2003, that’s for sure.
For people who are unfamiliar with you, how would you describe what you do?
Since 2001, I’ve been covering the bar, beer, spirits, restaurant and travel beat, focusing primarily on NYC. For years, I wrote columns on the city’s bars for Time Out New York, New York Press, New York mag and a number of other publications. Then in 2011 I released Brewed Awakening, my deeply reported take on the craft beer revolution. So, two of my specialties are bars and craft beer, and the intersection thereof.
What made you decide to start Craft Beer NY?
London’s Blue Crow Media partnered with me to create it. It’s a curated iPhone app—Android in a few months—featuring the city’s best bars, breweries and bottle shops dedicated to craft beer. The app is regularly updated with new spots, and there’s a news feed with the latest info about craft beer in the city. New York was not always known for craft beer. Now, the craft beer scene is evolving at a dizzying rate. The app aims to chronicle the rise of carbonated culture. The goal, in a nutshell: no matter where you’re standing, you’ll know exactly where to go to get craft beer.
Is this your dream job? Or do you wish you could be doing something else?
Writing about beer all day and drinking it all night sounds pretty ideal, right? Just kidding. In honesty, the app is one of a number of things I do revolving around beer and food. Whether it’s books, articles or the app, I love showing people the best places to get food and drink. There’s no sense in wasting a meal or a happy hour on terrible food and beer.
Which of your personal characteristics make you ideally suited to pull this off? (And which don’t?)
I am very goal-oriented. I can look at a larger project, break it into constituent parts and, one after another, cross items off a list. And I’m tenacious. Once I start a project, I often don’t stop until it’s done. And with this app, the job is never done. That’s part of the challenge and the fun.