Get to know Danielle Brasch!
This week, we decided to check in with one of the mainstays in the Tasting Room, four-and-a-half-year beertender and Tasting Room Supervisor, Danielle Brasch.
“Danielle is a great asset to the Tasting Room,” says Tasting Room General Manager Chris Costello. “She has been a consistent staple on Sundays throughout the years and has a great following of regulars. As the leader for our Social Committee, she is a big cheerleader, not only for the team here in the Tasting Room but across the company. Cape May Brewing Company would not be the place it is without Danielle Brasch.”
Get to know Danielle!
We caught up with Danielle this week over Zoom, us snuggled in our offices in the snowy, wooded glens of Buena Vista Township and Danielle in her empty sixth grade classroom at Sandman Consolidated School in the Lower Township School District, where she’s been teaching since 2013.
Originally from Broomall, PA, Danielle attended Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, PA, where she played field hockey and was a cheerleader.
“I started coaching my freshman year in high school,” she explains, “and I cheered on an all-star team. They asked me to coach one of the younger teams for them, and I think that’s where I figured out that I liked teaching.”
After high school, Danielle attended Temple University, graduating with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Sociology. She was lucky enough to continue cheering at Temple for the basketball team, for the football team, and for competitions.
“It was during the Dunphy years,” she says, as we ask about the recent passing of Temple basketball coaching legend, John Chaney. “And our football coach changed every year because that program stinks.”
Defending her comment, Danielle recalls that the football team had only won one game her freshman year, the homecoming game, but by her senior year, she was able to travel with them to go to a Bowl game. Regardless, Danielle truly enjoyed cheering for Temple’s Division 1 teams.
“It was awesome,” she says. “We got to travel with the teams. I cheered at a few women’s NCAA tournaments, and, my senior year, I got to cheer at the men’s NCAA tournament in Tucson, Arizona.”
During that tournament, the Owls beat Penn State in the first round, going on to play San Diego State in the next round, eventually losing in triple overtime.
“It was right at St. Patrick’s Day,” she says. “It was great. They paid us fifty bucks a day, and we had to cheer a few games, but we had it a lot better than the basketball team who had to practice nonstop. We got to lounge by the pool all day.”
Growing up, Danielle spent her summers with her grandparents in North Wildwood, where they’d retired.
“Since I was in, like, seventh grade, my grandparents would have me and some of my other cousins live with them all summer,” she says. “I worked at Axelsson’s Blue Claw. I loved summer. I figured that if I were a teacher I could have off in the summer. Yeah, but not really. Doesn’t work that way.”
After a short and misguided four months as a glorified babysitter at a Montessori school in Ardmore, PA, Danielle moved to the area and took the job at Sandman. She loves teaching, particularly math, a subject that she struggled with when she was in elementary school.
“My mother made me go tutoring one summer with a seventh-grade math teacher,” she recalls, “and somehow, he just made it click for me, so I started loving it. So, I like to help kids see what they can love about school. Especially in math: there are a lot of different tips and tricks you can use to figure it out, and I love sharing them with my kids.”
Danielle teaches all of the subjects to her sixth graders — math, writing, science, social studies, etc.
“This year, we teach Social and Emotional Learning, and I really like that,” she says. “It’s learning how to understand your emotions and how to deal with them. I had a sociology minor, so that kinda fits in. Emotions are a big part of your day, every day, even as adults. It’s up to you to either learn how to handle them and move on or let them take over your day.”
Obviously, the pandemic has affected both of Danielle’s jobs pretty significantly, but, as a teacher, she basically had to re-learn how to do her entire job in just a few days.
“You figure it out,” she says. “Just learning the different platforms online and all of the different technology pieces has been amazing — and, thank God for technology because teaching can be done over the computer, you just need the right resources and support.”
But, like a lot of our teachers right now, she just really misses the one-on-one interaction with her kids.
“It’s rough,” she says. “And I wish people would see that it’s not the teachers’ decisions about how things are going in any of these districts. We’re not making the final decisions, and we do want normalcy. But, like in many fields — every field –, nothing’s normal right now.”
When she’s not working either of her two jobs, she loves traveling with boyfriend Mike Buckley, one of our beloved Coasties. A few years ago, they spent ten very hot July days in Italy, visiting Venice, Florence, Rome, Capri, and Sorrento.
“Florence was my favorite,” she says. “It was laid back, we stayed in the city — I just love the architecture. Then we went on a wine tour of San Geminiano. The winery was amazing — we had wine paired with five different courses. It was out-of-this-world. I sent home so much wine and olive oil. Their truffle oil? Ohmigod. Out-of-this-world.”
Danielle is a big fan of live music, with her tastes ranging a great deal.
“I was supposed to see Roger Waters this past summer,” she says. “That would have been my fourth time seeing him. So, it ranges from him to, like, the Wutang Clan. I just do not like country music.”
Much like this writer, Danielle is seriously missing live music these days. Her last live show was Modest Mouse and the Black Keys — tickets she won in the steinholding contest during 2019’s Pick of the Batch.
“That was a good show,” she laughs. “I didn’t even know I was going to win concert tickets, but I could not let Andrew Casey win. That was the big plus.”
When it comes to sports, Danielle loves hockey — “Go Flyers!” –, but she really loves college basketball and football a little more than the pros.
“This year’s just weird with sports, though,” she says. “I miss hockey the most. Fun fact: in college, I was in an intramural, co-ed hockey league. I would leave cheer practice and go play floor hockey. It was fun.”
These days, Danielle loves taking her cute poochie, Olive, to the dog park and likes to keep in shape by doing CrossFit.
“It’s kind of replaced cheering,” she says, “because it actually does use a lot of the same gymnastic skills. I have to do it for my mental sanity. And for fun.”
Danielle also enjoys golfing, having picked it up when she began dating Mike. Her grandparents were also big golfers — her grandfather worked at Cape May National –, and Danielle’s grandmother gifted her with her old set of clubs for her birthday a few years ago.
After leaving the Blue Claw in 2014, Danielle wanted to find a second job that she’d enjoy. Since she and Mike were already regulars in the Tasting Room, she decided to apply here.
“The Tasting Room Manager at the time didn’t know my last name,” she recalls, “so when I showed up for the interview, he was like, ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were applying?’ And, now, it’ll be five years in June, so I guess I like it.”
And she does like it. She loves that the Tasting Room team — and the company as a whole — is like a big family.
“I love our coworkers,” she says. “Especially because I’m not from here, it’s created a family for me. And, of course, we get some great customers. I love meeting all of the different types of people who come to visit throughout the year.”
“I love how creative everyone’s getting, especially with our current state, it’s hard to run events,” she says. “But everyone’s creativity and positive attitude and support have really helped.”
We have a Virtual Name That Tune coming up in the next few weeks, hosted by one of CMBC’s mainstays, DJ Denny Oh, and we recently did a virtual CMBC trivia night.
“The trivia was a great success,” she says. “And we always have a great time at our company party each winter — not this winter, obviously. And bowling was a lot of fun. And the Phillies trip was a blast. Hopefully, one day, we can go back.”
And, while she points to Crushin’ It as her favorite Cape May brew, she admits that she’s had to make a change for the winter months.
“Right now, I’ve been drinking Snag & Drop like it’s going out of style. This year, especially, I don’t know, but it seems really juicy. I don’t know what it is this year. They’re crushable… and they shouldn’t be because it’s 10%. And before that, I was drinking Double Crushed like it was 5%. These beers need to go away!” she laughs. “Even the Golden Mule; that’s really good, too.”
Be sure to say hello to Danielle the next time you see her in the Tasting Room!