Kristen Taylor joined us in August after time spent in London, Brooklyn, and Cape May.
“Kristen was one of my first hires as the General Manager here, and I could not be happier with her joining the team,” says Tasting Room Manager Chris Costello. “She comes with a love for craft beer and a love for Cape May. She has been a great help in the Tasting Room and the Brewtique and is always looking at how she can help us succeed on a daily basis.”
Originally from New Hope out in Bucks County, PA, Kristen graduated from New Hope-Solebury High School before attending the University of Delaware for her degree in International Relations and Journalism.
“It’s a small, small town,” she says, “but it’s adorable.”
If you’ve never had the chance to visit New Hope, make a point of it. It’s kind of Bucks County’s answer to Cape May — Victorian, tons of B&Bs, bunches of shops, and some killer bars. No CMBC on tap yet, though. For that, you’ll have to come to Cape May. But, head there and talk us up! We’re sure Erin would love it.
We digress. We just love New Hope.
Anyway, while she was in college, Kristen began dabbling in homebrewing a bit with her twin brother. He worked at Otto’s, a pub and brewery in State College, PA.
“We started homebrewing on breaks from college,” she tells us. “The first thing we ever made was a Belgian, and it was awful. It was really bad. A lot of off, bubble-gummy tastes. After that, we started getting a little better.”
They like brewing stouts, preferring coffee and chocolate stouts.
“The best thing we ever did was a coffee stout,” she says. “But it’s not better than Wakey Wakey. For a homebrew, it wasn’t bad, but I love Wakey Wakey. It’s always my shift beer.”
After UDel, Kristen did a two-month cross-country road trip with a friend.
“It was really nice,” she said. “We went down the Trans-Canada Highway to Victoria, hit Mile Zero. We spent some time in the Rockies. My friend was visiting family out in Vancouver, so I made the trip back by myself, which I didn’t really plan, but it was fun!”
The reality of driving cross-country by herself set in by California.
“I thought, ‘Oh, I have to drive 4,000 miles by myself,’” she says. “A lot of thinking. A lot of books on tape. It was harder than I expected.”
“It was amazing,” she says. “I had a really good time, working for a few networks out there — I got to work in documentaries. I really enjoyed it.”
As a student in Europe, Kristen had plenty of time to travel, going “everywhere.”
“Spain, Portugal, Germany, Albania, Greece, Italy, France,” she says. “I drank a lot of beer.”
Kristen’s not a big fan of the malty, British beers, but, thankfully, American beers weren’t difficult for her to find.
“I’m a big hop-head,” she tells us.
Unfortunately, her visa expired in February, and she moved back to the States. This time, to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, working freelance jobs and at a coffee shop.
“You know, the usual,” she jokes.
However, she’d reached the point where she was looking for something a little slower in life. The hustle and the bustle of city living for five years caught up with Kristen, and she wanted to move down to Cape May.
“That, and having no money,” she jokes. “So, I thought, ‘Why not come down here where I spent my summers?’ It’s a change of pace.”
Kristen spent her summers here throughout high school and college, working around town at places like the Ugly Mug and Coffee Time.
“My college roommate’s family had a house in Cape May, as well,” she says. “We worked together at the Mug for three summers.”
Kristen has always loved Cape May.
“I probably don’t have the local’s perspective of seeing it in the winter,” she says. “It’s always been a summertime thing for me. Kind of a getaway.”
When she’s not homebrewing or moving all around the world, Kristen is a big fan of live music.
“I go to a lot of gigs,” she says. “I’ve been to over 100 concerts. I think the band I’ve seen the most is a band called Lucius. They’re touring with Roger Waters right now. I’ve seen them a gross amount. Probably more than 20 times.”
We’d never heard of Lucius, but we had to check them out. They dress identically and sing mostly in unison, breaking into harmonies once in a while on a chorus.
“When you listen to them, you wouldn’t really know that there are two voices,” she says.
While we don’t typically play Lucius in the Tasting Room, Kristen is looking forward to her time here.
“I love the people,” she says. “Everyone behind the bar is great. Everybody here can talk to anybody.”
And she gets constant access to her new favorite core brand, Always Ready.
“It’s my go-to after a day barbacking,” she says. “It’s so drinkable.”
Be sure to say hello to Kristen the next time you see her in the Tasting Room! She tells us she’s there “every day,” so your chances are good!