Halie might seem unassuming when you first meet her, but she’s a powerhouse personality who shares her warmth and humor with coworkers and customers alike.
If you’ve visited our Brewtique on a Sunday, chances are you’ve met Halie already. She’s been working with us since last summer, and we sat down to chat with her in the Tasting Room this week to commemorate her time with us the past year.
Meet Brewtique Associate Halie Hennessey!
“Halie is fantastic with customers! She is honest, genuine and kind. She is always ready with a smile for all our guests that visit the brewtique,” says Brewtique Manager Kaitlyn Smith.
Halie grew up in Erma, right here in Cape May County. She went to LCMR, or Lower Cape May Regional High School.
Growing up, while many classes visit Morey’s Piers in Wildwood for a field trip, Halie’s class went to a lake, where they spent the day on the water, and she even got to try alligator for the first time.
Although we’ve never partaken ourselves, Halie assures us that it tastes just like chicken.
“I also fell asleep in a canoe and everyone was worried about me and looking for me. Apparently I just popped up like a daisy, like ‘what’s up?’” she says with a grin.
“It was a while ago,” she says, “but I think the canoe was beached, so they didn’t think to check it. I was the smallest kid in class, and this other kid did a cannonball right next to me that day and everyone thought I died. I didn’t, I was laughing too hard,” she says with a smile.
In high school, Halie stumbled across musical theater in a rather unusual way. One day while looking for her friends, she realized they were auditioning for the school musical. The teacher encouraged Halie to join, and each year she made a tradition of auditioning for and joining the school plays.
Senior year, in Antigone, Halie played the role of Eurydice. “I was a very realistic dead body. I was super happy with that role,” she says. One of her favorite musicals she performed in was Bye Bye Birdie.
“My favorite thing about high school was the room where you could buy balloons for people on their birthday. In my friend group, you bought people obnoxious amounts of balloons to mess with them. They delivered it to them in class with a little note, and I thought my friend was going to kill me one year when she got all of the balloons,” Halie says, laughing.
“Once, I wore a ‘Hug Me’ sign when that was a thing,” she says. “I didn’t get that many hugs, which is probably for the best anyway. It was the teenage guys who always got the most hugs. I was the artsy, musical kid.”
Halie took a number of art classes, and fell in love with making charcoal drawings. “For one of the drawings, I’d made the whole background black, so the rest of the day my fingertips were dark grey. I drew Lea Salonga, who was the singing voice for Mulan,” she says.
“I did a pointillism painting, too,” she says.
Now, Halie is trying her hand at calligraphy. “I got a beginner’s set for my birthday. I love to write words. I don’t always know what to draw, so words are much easier,” she says.
“I like to say that my eyes are more active than my hands,” she says with a laugh. “I always want to do more things than I actually do.”
As a junior, Halie also had the incredible opportunity to go to Denmark as an exchange student.
“There was an exchange student from Spain in our Spanish class, and she told me how she did it. I asked myself, ‘Am I going to do this to myself? Yes I am,’” she says.
Halie chose Spain as her first choice and Denmark as her second. “I couldn’t get into Spain, but it turns out Denmark was my perfect fit,” she says.
“It’s through the Rotary Club. I’m a rotary alumni,” she says. “If any students are interested in it, I highly suggest it, it’s amazing.”
Halie was in Denmark from July to November of her junior year.
“They start school in August. They don’t necessarily have classes from what I remember. They do activities so that you can get to know the people in your grade. Once you’re sixteen years old, you’re not required to go to school anymore, so everyone who’s left chose to continue on. They call it Gymnasium,” she says.
In Denmark, most of the population speaks English, and while she was there, many people preferred if she spoke English so that they could practice the language.
“Their summer high was in the 60s, maybe 70 degrees. I’m used to 90-degree temperatures here, so I brought shorts and I felt like they were completely useless,” she says. “It was still pretty chilly to me. Locals usually wore tights under their shorts in the winter, so I copied that style.”
“Public transportation and riding bikes is a big thing there, because the price of cars and gasoline at the time was so expensive,” she says.
There was one thing Halie missed about home during her time there, though.
“I couldn’t find white bread anywhere,” she laments. “I was in that phase where all I ate was white bread. They have this thick, grainy bread that was the bread of choice for sandwiches.”
“My first introduction to fruit in salads was in Denmark, and I don’t know why I found that so amazing,” she says with a grin. “The school I went to, they had tea time around 4pm, which was awesome. School didn’t last that long, but if you stayed to hang out, or were one of the kids who attended boarding school, then you could do that. Most of the kids commuted, though.”
Halie made a lasting friend, Mari, during her time there, who she still keeps in contact with. She last saw Mari in 2016, when she came to New York City. Halie took a day trip up to visit with her, despite only having one day off from her summertime shore job.
“Unfortunately, I wore sandals. Don’t ever wear sandals if you plan to walk around Central Park and the city for eight or nine hours,” Halie says, laughing. “I was all set to play Pokemon Go, too. I even had an extra phone battery in my purse and everything. I ended up having too much fun to play.”
The last major trip Halie took was in 2017 with her sister Gabby backpacking in Europe for two weeks, where they spent two or three days in a number of different cities.
“Gabby’s college, Arcadia University, always suggests doing a semester abroad, so she went to London. We visited London, Cork, Ireland, which is gorgeous, Paris, then Hamburg, Germany, and Amsterdam.”
“There’s an amazing zoo, actually, on Fota Island, right outside of Cork. It has an arboretum and I thought I upset off some fairies at one point,” Halie said. “I was going to pick some flowers, but I realized that would be a bad idea. Don’t do that.”
Fairies play a major role in Irish folklore and culture. They’re also known as the ‘Little People’ and stories about fairies were used to explain natural phenomena. Belief and respect for these entities is still prevalent throughout the country, so it’s likely a good call that Halie was thinking ahead of time not to disrupt any fairy habitats!
“We did kiss the Blarney Stone, too, and I nearly fell off,” she said with a laugh.
In Germany, although neither she nor Gabby speak German, Halie found a museum they could check out without having to worry about the language barrier.
“I was looking up things to do in Hamburg, and I came across this train museum. It’s literally miniature trains for three floors. It’s an entire world, and it’s so cool. If you look closely, you can see funny little things happening in the sets.”
“Amsterdam is gorgeous. It looks like those panoramas, or the inside of a snowglobe. I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “We saw van Gogh’s paintings while we were there, too.”
She also checked off a major bucket list item: the Anne Frank House. “It’s so sobering,” she says. “It was completely worth the line and the cold, dampness of Amsterdam.”
“My favorite part about London was the Tower of London, because I love corvidae, like crows and ravens.The ravens love to mess with people, though. They’re highly socialized,” she says.
“Gabby wants to go to Italy next. We have a lot of Italian ancestry, and it’s a beautiful place to visit,” she says.
She’s gone on a couple of vacations with her family since then, including a trip to Florida before the pandemic.
“We went to Disney and Universal. I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd, and I was really excited. We checked out everything and bought wands. I have Luna’s wand because she’s my favorite character,” she says.
Although Halie hasn’t taken any recent trips to other parts of the world, she’s met quite a few people from different countries right here in Cape May.
If you’ve visited Cape May, you’ll likely meet people from other countries who come to the area for work, particularly in the food service industry. “Some people are seasonal, and others work year round,” Halie says.
It’s a unique experience for those who grow up in Cape May or who are local to the area to meet people from all over the world.
“I worked with this one guy who was from Egypt, and I asked him to teach me a couple of words in Arabic. Every time I came into my shift, he said sabah habibi, like good morning, darling, or some equivalent to that,” she says.
“I know some Romanian words from my friend Lili, too. She’s from Moldova, but since many people don’t know where that is, she just tells people she’s from Romania,” she says. “We’ve been friends for five or six years, ever since my first job at Avalon Coffee.”
After graduating high school, Halie continued working and started attending Atlantic Cape Community College, where she got her associate’s degree in general studies.
She’s worked at Avalon Coffee, Cape Harbor Marine Service, Cold Spring Village, Congress Hall, and AAA before joining the Cape May County Library team early last year.
“The library got this new book, it’s on sea shanties. My coworker was like, what’s with the interest in sea shanties?” Halie says. “I told her, uh, TikTok, duh,” Halie says with a laugh.
She was recently promoted from a seasonal library assistant to a permanent, part-time position. Last summer, she attended our job fair and started working with us and helping out in the Brewtique on weekends.
Halie plans to pursue a liberal arts degree and Master’s in Library Science in the future.
“For now, I’m a circulation assistant,” she says. “I originally wanted to work in museums as a curator, so I considered getting a degree in anthropology. But it’s a very slim job market.”
“It’s good as a hobby, though. I love learning about different cultures and languages,” she says. “I’ve always been curious about how other people lived.”
Halie is looking forward to seeing what a busy summer looks like in the Sea Isle Library, where she works most of the week, and what a more traditional summer looks like for Cape May Brewery.
“I learned things from all of my jobs, but they’ve always been helping people, essentially,” she says.
Halie enjoys books, anime, video games, and learning anything she can get her hands on.
“I enjoy learning about history, too,” she says. “If I don’t know it, and you mention something, I look it up a day later.”
“I know a lot about random things, like the WWII Women’s Corps, or code names for old secret service stuff,” she says. “I like learning about different languages, too. Chinese curses are the best.”
“Historical fiction is such a fun genre. It’s the reason why I know a lot about the War of the Roses,” she says. Particularly, the series by Anne Easter Smith.
She has a soft spot for fantasy as well.
“My first love is Harry Potter, of course,” she says. “There’s this one series, too, called Wicked Lovely, about the fey in the modern world. It has the enthusiasm of youth and the maturity of adulthood,” she says.
Halie is looking forward to reading The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang.
Halie enjoys a variety of music, including Japanese rock band Uverworld. “They’re very popular. Do I understand what they’re saying? No, but the beats are great,” she says with a laugh. “I’m such a nerd.”
One Piece is her favorite anime, and she also enjoys Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, D.Gray-man, and Gintama.
“Dubs are ok, but I like the sound of the original Japanese, so I watch most of mine in subtitles,” she says.
“I would love to travel to see different museums,” she says. “Or go see Machu Picchu. Europe is cool, but so is the rest of the world, you know?”
“It’s just the little details that are keeping me from traveling right now,” she says. “Like money, or only really knowing English.”
(Ed. note: for many, money is hardly a little detail, but Halie shrugs off its importance).
“Money is a way to get to happiness,” she says. “In a way, money is happiness, because it allows you to take care of yourself. I took a philosophy class in college and it was so cool. You come out of it with more questions than answers, but that’s all right. It was with Professor Neil Brandt. He’s a six foot tall Jewish guy with a yarmulke, and wore sweater vests. He was snarky and so cool,” she says.
The first Cape May beer she ever tried was Cape May White.
“If I had to choose a favorite flagship, it would be Cape May White,” she says. “I always want some orange slices afterward.”
You can usually find Halie in the Brewtique on Sundays, with an occasional extra day or two during the week if she’s off from the library. The next time you stop by, make sure to say hi, or get reacquainted with her!