Josh Bernstein is a Brooklyn-based writer, specializing in all things beer-related, and the author of Brewed Awakening: Behind the Beers and Brewers Leading the World’s Craft Brewing Revolution. He also leads monthly homebrew tours around Brooklyn and Manhattan. I first heard about them through my friends Barb and Max, who have been on a couple tours through Williamsburg and Park Slope and raved about them. So last Saturday, quite the gorgeous spring day, we went on Josh’s latest tour, this one through Carroll Gardens and Prospect Heights.
Most of the beers we tried were on the lighter side, fitting for spring. I took a handful of photos, but mainly spent the day chatting with the other very friendly people on the tour, sampling the beer, and being bad about jotting down tasting notes of what we were drinking. Which I’m guessing is the point of the tour anyway, to just enjoy being on it.
Stop #1: The Carroll Gardens home of Jason Sahler, who writes about sustainable brewing on Sustainabrew. He bottles his beers the name Strongrope Brewery and plans to open his own brewpub in the future. Here he is on the right behind the bar, serving up a very good amber ale.
Stop #2: The Prospect Heights home of Keith McCallum. A surprising highlight was the kegerator in his living room. (Isn’t that the dream of so many home brewers? Side note: It took me 5 tries to teach my phone to not autocorrect “kegerator”.) The tap on the right had a nice refreshing Belgian “1.5″ Witte. The green tap on the left had a delicious nut brown ale we couldn’t get enough of.
Stop #3: Josh Bernstein’s home in Prospect Heights, where he hosted Bolero Snort Brewery from New Jersey. We alternated between an amber IPA and a black IPA, while chatting and browsing through Brewed Awakening. (The inside of the book cover has a nice “Beer Map” of favorite craft beers by style.) The crowd favorite here was the rich black IPA, which might be coming soon to a bar near you; they’re looking for a contract brewery and planning for wider distribution in the NY area.
Here is a gratuitous pic of Josh’s adorable rescue dog Sammy, a Corgi/Chihuahua mix. Ending the tour with a friendly dog who was great in a crowd of strangers and loved getting tummy rubs was the icing on the cake.
I’m definitely keeping posted on the upcoming monthly tours in different neighborhoods. Brooklyn still has surprisingly few established craft brewers, especially compared with smaller cities like Portland and Chicago. So if you’re into good beer, it’s definitely worthwhile to check out these local home brewers, see how they work in small spaces, and hear about their upcoming projects.
Josh Bernstein’s Homebrew Tours