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These two creatives share videography as a common skill!

Meet Austin and John!

It’s with a bittersweet feeling that we present our final double feature crew blog this week. We’ve made it through our new summer Tasting Room crew, all of whom will unfortunately head out to either finish school or begin their other jobs in the fall. 

Our final two are both creative individuals in their own way, who, as it happens, both make videos! One was born from a necessity to teach during COVID, and the other in pursuit of entertainment.

First up, we have Dr. A, or Austin Anderson as the CMBC crew knows him!

The more you chat with Austin, the more of his personality shines through. He’s kind and attentive at first, but during the course of our conversation, more and more of his wit and humor emerged. Not to mention, his stories of learning to teach culinary arts for high school students remotely and during COVID were incredible. 

“Austin has been a great addition to our team this summer,” says Tasting Room General Manager Chris Costello. “Everyone who comes through our doors has great things to say about him. In his short time here, Austin has provided excellent feedback on how to improve processes!”

Meet Greeter Austin Anderson!

Austin grew up in northeast Philly, but currently lives in Marlton, New Jersey. 

“I’m familiar with the Cape May area because my grandparents lived in Wildwood Crest up until I was 15. I would come down all the time,” he shares.

“It’s only been in the last few years that I reside in the Crest myself during the summer and make frequent trips home to do my real job,” he says with a laugh. 

Before meeting up with us just before his afternoon Tasting Room shift, Austin was busy writing curriculum. As most teachers know, the work rarely stops in the summer, with those few precious months being pivotal times for prep.

“I teach Culinary Arts at Delran high school in Delran, NJ,” he says. “I joke and say that I give high school kids ten-inch knives to play with and hope that they don’t use them on me.”

Austin’s humor is the perfect mix of dry and nuanced, and he grins a bit as he says this. It’s clear that he has no qualms about equipping teens with knives, especially because the goal for his courses is to ultimately teach a critical life skill. 

“As a former student, you always try to think about what teachers had an impact on you and why. For me, it was always people who have been able to engage me with humor and music, so I try to do the same with my students,” he shares.

He does a very particular lesson at the beginning of the year. 

“There’s a story about cheese, and I talk about how cheese started, and I think the story is somewhat true. We’ll call it historical fiction. There’s an ingredient in cheese called rennet, which you can find naturally in the lining of a cow’s stomach. You have to have it because it helps coagulate the curds and whey. I tell them about this nomad. He had milk in his pouch that was made from a cow’s stomach lining. It was hot and he was thirsty. He’s been in the desert with a horse with no name. It felt good to be out of the rain. In the desert, you can remember your name,” Austin says. He pauses, looking at us.

“I’ll have one kid who goes, ‘Because there ain’t no one for to give you no name,’” he says with a slight grin. “So now I know, that’s the cool kid in class. Other kids are looking around, still confused.” 

“I had a couple kids who made a list of ‘Dr. A’s Sayings’, and they kept track of how many times I said it and gave me the list at the end of the year,” he says. “I said, ‘that’s going to be a t-shirt next year.’”

(Ed. note: We’re definitely going to have to see this shirt! Austin was gracious enough to share the hilarious list with us.)

“The running joke in my class is that I have six degrees of separation from almost everyone,” Austin says. “Sometimes it’s true, sometimes it’s a stretch, but it’s rare that I don’t have any. I’ll ask them to give me a topic, and there’s usually some kind of connection I have there.”

Teaching remotely was an entirely new challenge that Austin ultimately rose to meet.

From parent ratings (spoiler alert: they loved him), to trying to engage students through a screen to demoing dishes rather than having students prep meals, Austin had to reorient how he taught his class. 

There were some silver linings, though. He got to showcase dishes that normally wouldn’t make an appearance in class, like seafood and steak. 

“I have 122 kids. I can’t feed 122 kids steak,” Austin says with a shrug. “They got to see what a lobster looks like. Some students have never poached an egg in their life. They only know scrambled.” 

When Austin started traveling back to the classroom to teach remotely in January, he set up his cameras almost like a studio, complete with two laptops and a wall of plexiglass in case anyone came in while he was working. Because of the time crunch, he utilized both a real and a fake oven to showcase dishes, not unlike the magic that you might see on food TV shows where prepped ingredients magically become completed dishes.

“I would have a line of teachers come in. They knew when I had lunch, and I had all this food. When it was lobster day, my principal said, ‘Make sure I get some of that,’” he says with a smile.

“When students came back to class, everyone was wearing masks. You can’t read those cues. You can’t tell if they’re laughing at your jokes or if they’re smiling, or if they just broke up with their significant other,” he says.

“We only had 26 minute periods, and the kids couldn’t eat in class. If they wanted the food, they had to come back at the end of the school day. If you thought the teachers were bad coming for my food…” He smiles and raises his eyebrows.

“I had, on any given day, fifty to sixty kids lined up out the hallway to get food. I had kids outside my window—I’m on the first floor. I would have other teachers helping me. The cafeteria was serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, but they wanted my food,” he says.

“It was sad on one level, but on another, it was something that was almost back to normal,” he says. “They weren’t getting a full meal, but if I made something like lasagna, they would all be able to take a piece of it.” 

“They brought their friends, too. Kids that didn’t even have my class,” he says with a laugh.

“I had cameras on top of pots. I took pots and stacked them, because I needed the height,” Austin says. “During the demo, I’d move the camera over to show them a different angle. It was crazy. On some level, though, it was kind of cool.” 

“Sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks,” he says with a smile. “Because that’s basically what needed to happen.” 

“I got a lot of recipes from this past year from TikTok because I knew kids were watching it,” Austin shares. “One of the big things on TikTok this year was Flamin’ Cheetos Mac & Cheese.” 

“The process of boiling Cheetos doesn’t look good,” he says. “What you end up with when you add the cheese sauce is this pinkish hue, which doesn’t look like normal mac and cheese.” 

He had a bit of a circuitous path finding his way to teaching culinary arts, but now, he can’t imagine teaching anywhere else. 

“I went to culinary school, because I thought, everyone likes to eat. There’s not a lot of jobs where you get feedback every time, positive or negative. Many people who get into the field love that. Not many professions are like that,” he says. 

He then got a teaching degree from Johnson & Wales, and, despite being in Providence, Rhode Island at the time, he convinced them to let him student teach in Philadelphia. 

“I got to teach at one of the schools in my neighborhood, the vo-tech school,” he says. 

He went back and got his master’s after finishing, and taught business and psychology courses at a community college in Vermont.

“I worked for the state of Vermont in human services. After thirteen years, I reconnected with my girlfriend from high school. I told her, I’m moving to Philly. She asked, did you get a job? I said no,” he says with a wry grin. “So I thought, I better get a job. It took me three years to get one. I was commuting once a month down here.”

Despite his experience teaching, in order to teach culinary arts in New Jersey, Austin had to study sewing and child development, part of the certification requirements to receive a home economics teaching certificate. Delran had a Home Economics class that they had planned to phase out after his first few months filling in for an absence, but he convinced them that he could make the curriculum better. 

Students went from eating pancakes and muffins to a full Culinary Arts program with multiple levels and many students on the waiting list to take his classes. 

“Over the course of nine years here, I’ve taught about 1,000 kids culinary arts,” he shares. “A handful of them have gone on to culinary school as well.” 

However, Austin is quick to not encourage the path, as it’s a tough career field that can be isolating and grueling, especially for young people. He’s not out to discover the next Gordon Ramsey, but rather keep kids from eating ramen all four years of college. 

“I had one girl contact me a few years ago, and she said ‘I won the buffalo chicken dip contest at the Superbowl party at Virginia Tech using your recipe,’” he says with a smile. “Now there’s something to be proud of.” 

Austin’s also a big music guy, and puts a band together of teachers and students every year for an outside event around Memorial Day.  

Because of, well, *gestures around*, they made a teachers-only video last year. 

“It made it to Action News,” he says. “We changed the words to the song ‘What I Like About You,’ and rewrote it as ‘What I Miss About School,’” he says.

(Ed. note: You know you have to see this. Here’s the link!)

His first day at Cape May Brewing Company, he’s masked up with a hat on, and two of his former students and graduates showed up. 

(Ed. note: It’s a crazy small world.)

Austin has lived in a lot of places, and he uses his knowledge to try to connect with visitors in any way that he can. 

He changed up the Chili’s birthday song to sing the Cape May birthday song as well. 

“Someone asked me what it was like working here, and I said it’s like Disney without the rides,” he says with a smile. “Everyone who works there is happy. And you wonder, are they always this happy or is it just an act? We don’t have rides, but we have something that you enjoy, and the people who work here really do enjoy it.”

The first Cape May beer that had a big impact on him was Corrosion. “In the spring, I was at Wegmans in Mt. Laurel, and I saw it in cans. It was like Christmas,” he says. 

“I couldn’t wait to try the Cape May Salts, too. I tried it with a chocolate cake as well,” he says. “From a culinary standpoint, salt and sugar together are contrasting flavors. It’s why we like Reese’s peanut butter cups,” he says.

As for current favorites, he’s had a special relationship this summer with Tan Limes.

“One customer said, you know what I love about Tan Limes? It’s what Corona wishes it was,” he says. “That’s the best line ever.” 

“Last night, I made chicken fajitas. I marinated chicken in The Grove with poultry seasoning,” he says. “I thought about Tan Limes, but I didn’t want to use my Tan Limes. I had some extra Grove, and my significant other is drinking The Grove right now, so I thought, I’ll use hers.” Austin smiles conspiratorially. 

We don’t know about you, but we just might have to pick up some six-packs to try this ourselves!

Austin will be with us until the end of August, and you can bet that he has some more interesting beer and food pairings up his sleeve! Make sure to stop in and see him at the greeter stand before he goes back to making awesome food and teaching kids how to cook.

Our next crew member is barback John Tyrrell!

“John came in ready to work this summer,” says Tasting Room General Manager Chris Costello. “He got his start with a slew of projects setting up the Brewtanical Garden, and John has been great in helping wherever a hand is needed, especially when it comes to our Big Chill Cooler!”

John has a great sense of calmness about him, and he’s easy to talk with. He’s had an interesting background leading up to joining us here in Cape May, and dropped a pretty cool revelation on us that others might not realize. 

“Originally I’m from Ambler, PA, outside of Philly,” John says.

He attended an all-boys school, La Salle College High School.

Fellow Brew Crew member Julie actually went to a rival all-girls school that John knows!

“You’re more relaxed, because you’re not competing with anyone. They’re no girls in the class. I know the girls say too that they don’t have to worry as much about what they look like,” he says. “Everyone’s more themselves because they don’t have to put on a mask for anyone else.” 

“I loved it. All of my best friends are from there,” he says. “I still keep in contact with them all the time.”

John was part of the rowing crew. “Along the river in Philly they have Boathouse Row, so a lot of the Philly schools have teams. You’re rowing and competing in an eight-man boat. Everything’s measured in meters, so we usually do 1,500 meter races.”

A typical good time for this distance would be under five minutes. “You wouldn’t expect it, but your legs are also pushing the boat as you’re rowing and you have to stay in unison with your team,” he says. “If you get your oar stuck in the water, it could derail the whole boat.”

John mentioned that the training for the sport was pretty brutal, with massive practice requirements despite only being able to race a handful of times during the season.

“I played water polo, too. I’ve always swam, but the swim team is pretty strenuous and takes up a lot of your time, so I thought water polo would be fun,” he says.

Now, basketball is his favorite sport to watch and play. His favorite team is the 76ers, and he’s a big Philly fan. 

“We got season tickets, and we went to game seven where we lost to the Hawks, so that was really bad, but it’s still fun to be able to go to that, it was a good experience,” he says.

“Watching a basketball loss is different, because you could lose the lead in the last five minutes at the end of the game, whereas in other games like football, you have some breathing room to wrap your head around losing. It can be pretty jarring,” he shares.

“I follow sports pretty regularly though,” he says. 

He used to run a basketball account with news updates and pictures, and he’s considering possibly incorporating sports and entertainment in the future as well. 

Of course, for football, you already know the team John follows: the Eagles.

After high school, John went to Ole Miss for about a year and a half. 

(Ed. note: That’s the University of Mississippi, aka the college Eli Manning and Michael Oher attended.) 

If you’re thinking that’s an unusual choice for a guy who grew up outside of Philly, you’re not alone!

There were only two other people who also went to Ole Miss from John’s class, an anomaly, as the last person from the school to attend was John’s uncle.

“I didn’t love the south, so I transferred to Temple. I was commuting, then got a place with a Russian kid who’s one of the greatest guitar players I’ve ever heard,” he says.

“Then COVID hit, so I went home, went back to Temple, and then classes were online. I went to Penn State and did Temple online while living with my friends,” he says.

He’s still a bit in limbo when he goes back for classes this fall, though.

“Since I transferred, all my friends at Temple are already living together and don’t have any room for me,” he shares. “So I’m trying to find a place for my last year.” 

“During the college process, I didn’t really know where I wanted to go at all. I got into Ole Miss, and my mom, my uncle, my grandparents, and my great-grandparents went there,” he says. “I’m the fourth generation.”

(Ed. note: Now that’s some legacy!)

“They have decent football and basketball programs,” he shares. “I’d heard it was fun down south.” 

In the end, though, he ultimately didn’t feel like he fit in. A lot of the local students seemed to write him off based on the fact that he was from up north, and the existing cliques made it hard to connect with others. 

“There is a distinction between the north and the south when you’re down there, and I didn’t even think about it that way when I was up here,” he says.

“I randomly met friends while I was there, and the one person I gravitated towards, my best friend, was from New Jersey,” he says with a laugh.

“It was good, though. It taught me that if you’re unhappy, you can change and get out of the place you’re in,” he says.

“At first I thought I didn’t like college, and that maybe I wasn’t a college guy. Then I went to Temple and I feel like I’d want to stay there longer than four years,” he says. 

“Looking back on it, it was great, I loved it, it just wasn’t for me,” he says. 

Initially, John’s degree was in Marketing, but he switched to Media Studies Production when he transferred to Temple. 

He’s interested in storytelling and entertaining. “I have thought about maybe doing stand up,” he shares. “I think, going into the future, the industry is going to explode, and we’ll need more and more entertainers.” 

“A lot of jobs can go obsolete in the future, but you can’t do that with entertainment,” he says.

“In one of my classes, we did a game show and a late night talk show. It’s crazy to have the lights on, and you need to say your lines because everyone’s waiting on you so we can wrap up,” he says. “It’s fun, but there’s a lot of work that goes into it.” 

Right now, John has done his own skits and sketch comedy. He posts them on Instagram and TikTok, but is ultimately looking forward to having more time to explore producing a show on YouTube. 

(Ed. note: You can check him out on Instagram @tyrrell_tv.) 

“We did a horror movie trailer, and that genre is hard to get right,” he says. “I don’t really watch horror, but that’s always been a weird thing I’ve thought about doing. My main focus, though, is comedy and telling a good story—something that keeps people entertained.” 

He did a Restaurant Week theme on his account, and did a week full of posts about restaurant comedy.

“That was really fun because I had to follow a schedule,” he says. “It was cool because people were anticipating posts.” 

“At this point, I start hearing things from people that I haven’t heard from in years. They’ll tell me, ‘Oh my god, I saw that sketch, it’s my favorite, I was laughing so hard,’” he says. “It will be a sketch that I thought no one would like and that I was going to delete.”

Of course, he still gets comments from haters and people who say that a skit isn’t funny.

“It’s not going to necessarily resonate with everyone. Not everyone is going to think everything’s funny,” he shares. 

“You have to kind of be in the flow,” he says. “Sometimes your days are too busy, and there’s not that space to think of something funny. It’s all things I’m trying to figure out as I go along.” 

“One of the first skits I did was me sitting down and looking at a pair of glasses and doing a crossword puzzle, so I made this dad sketch about a dad doing a crossword puzzle, and people really liked that one,” he says.

“That one took thirty seconds,” he says. “But there are some of them, like for Restaurant Week, where I edited them on my computer and added music, so they were more extensive.” 

“I think the hardest thing is understanding how to achieve that process because it has to come to you. You have to figure out how to get in that mindset,” he shares.

Before he joined us in the Tasting Room, John barbacked at Jasper’s Backyard in Conshohocken.

“They served a lot of IPAs, and they had the Cape May IPA on the menu,” he says.

“Before that, I did roofing for several years,” he shares.

Despite getting paid well, and being able to work with two of his friends, he wasn’t a fan of that experience.

(Ed. note: Being up on a roof at 5AM and working into the blazing sun seems like it would be a far cry from working at the brewery!) 

He mostly worked commercial roofing, including schools, (even Temple!), and hospitals. 

“When we didn’t have a job at a particular time, we worked in the warehouse and would mix buckets of expired roofing adhesive with gravel so that you could throw it away properly,” he says. 

“I have some good memories, but I definitely prefer working here,” he says with a laugh. 

“I started liking Cape May beers the day I applied. I went in and got a drink, which was pretty good, so I thought, maybe I should work here,” he says.

One of the first he tried was Crushin’ It. “I like Orange Crush, so I tried that one,” he says. “I wasn’t normally an IPA person, but that was really good.” 

“Now, I’m into the hoppier, hazy stuff,” he shares. 

Some of his current favorites are Crusty Barnacle and Follow the Gull, as well as the Cape May IPA and Boat Ramp Champ.

“My dad’s side of the family share a house in the Grassy Sound, which is between Wildwood and Stone Harbor by the Lazy Bass. It’s part of a strip of houses on the water,” he says. 

“It’s very small. It’s probably two of these rooms,” he says, gesturing around the small conference room we’re chatting in.

“My family just bought the house next door, and we’ve been redoing it all summer, so we’re living in and out of both right now. In the new house, we just have air mattresses in it at the moment. We don’t have an oven or shower yet,” he says. 

“I found out that Abby lives on the other side of the grassy sounds. I went over there when we first found out. It was super eye-opening because I’d been wondering what was over there,” he says.

Despite his busy schedule working with us during the week and on weekends, John has found time to check out some local shore spots. 

“I’ve been going to the beach and hanging out with my friends this summer, but it’s hard to do other things because there’s nothing at my house to do,” he says with a laugh. “I’m always trying to get out and do stuff.”

For places on the shore to check out, John recommends Shenanigan’s in Sea Isle, Princeton in Avalon, and The Whitebrier.

Our very own Jon Edwards even took John on a tour of Wildwood.

When he has some extra time, John likes watching movies and TV shows as well. Some of his favorite movies are The Departed and Whiplash.

“Miles Teller is a big Phillies fan, which is a plus,” John says. 

Breaking Bad is his all-time favorite show, and he’s watching Community right now as well. “My friend has been telling me to watch it for years,” he says. 

John will also be with us until the end of August. Make sure you say hi to him when you spot him in the Tasting Room, and ask him how the home renovations are going!