Anisa Jimenez is one of our newest Tasting Room Associates! If you’ve been to the Tasting Room in the last few months, she’s probably greeted you when you walked in, or sold you merch in the Brewtique.
We lucked out that she wanted to give CMBC a try, too. This is her first position at an “inside” job! What does that mean? You’ll have to read more to find out!
"Anisa has been a great addition to our team; she is always ready and willing to step up to do whatever we need her to do,” says Retail Manager Brooke Carty. “She is great with customers and always has a smile on her face. She shows up to work with a positive attitude and passion towards what she is doing. Anisa is a great asset with our guests, works hard in every aspect of her job, and is always willing to help others. She cares about her job and the people around her, which makes her a really great asset to our team!"
Anisa is a local—she’s from Whitesboro.
“Every time I talk to someone and they ask me where I’m from, I either say Court House or Rio Grande, because Whitesboro is in the middle of those two,” Anisa says with a shrug and a grin. “Sometimes if I say Burleigh, they get it.”
[Ed. note: We nod, kind of getting it, but not really.]
Anisa went to Middle Township schools, and then attended Cape May Tech for high school.
“I did their Natural Sciences program. I love biology and want to become a vet,” she says. “Animals have my heart.”
Anisa got to experience so much through that program, from traveling and competing to boating and hunting licenses!
“I really loved the boating experience. I went in not knowing anything about boating or fishing. I had a very strong opinion about hunting, too, but as you learn the processes and things you have to go through, that really opened my eyes,” Anisa says.
“Ms. Toft, who’s still teaching at Tech, taught me a lot. When we went out on the boat, at first I was like, oh, no, this is not for me. I prefer to be on land. She was like, just take the boat for a spin,” Anisa blinks, smiling and shaking her head. “You don’t tell a high schooler that, right—just go take over the boat??”
“She guided me through everything and I really liked it. It wasn’t intimidating to me after that,” she says. “We all got certified in that class, and now I renew my license every year.”
“I still can’t fish to save my life, though,” Anisa says with a laugh. “I try. I’ll be there for moral support. I love being outside. This is actually my first real indoor job.”
[Ed. note: Yep, you heard that right folks. Although some of you may well know that feeling, those of us who have only ever had “inside jobs” find it hard to imagine!]
“I’m used to working at the barn, and I was a garden merchandiser at Home Depot before here,” she says.
“I came here and I’m like…there’s no muck boots. This is different; where’s the hay?” Anisa laughs.
Anisa worked at a boarding barn with horses.
“Working out in the barn was pretty brutal, especially in the summertime. You’re constantly working and bringing the horses water, and it’s five gallon buckets. Your work is never done,” she says. “I loved it. It’s pretty rewarding afterwards, because they’re happy, so you’re happy.”
At Cape May Tech, Anisa raised a wide variety of animals as well, from chickens and ducks to snakes, turkeys, and fish.
“As part of our program, we helped the zoo with their quail population,” she says. “They weren’t having any, so we were able to get the population back up.”
“My favorite was the ball python—his name was Squeezer and I was responsible for him,” she says. “If anyone came into the classroom, they’d see me with this big ball python on my neck just taking notes.”
The Natural Sciences program was very hands-on, and often involved a lot of physical aspects working out in nature.
“On the first day of school, I got stuck in the mud,” Anisa shares.
[Ed. note: What!?]
“You have to be careful when you’re in the marsh. I now know what to look for. I got stuck up to my hips. It was like quick sand. I was scared,” she says. “Our teacher was showing us the marsh and talking about what we do.”
“We were right there at the water. I took a step and my leg went down. I tried to get it out and the other slipped and went in,” she says.
“Ms. Toft said ‘don’t panic, because the more you panic the more you’ll get stuck’,” she says. “You have to learn how to not panic. Eventually I got out. I was sore, but I did it. That was one of the life lessons that I took from that class: panicking doesn’t help you.”
It’s a lesson that came in extremely handy for Anisa as well:
“Last year, my cousin was drowning and I had to save him. He was panicking and we were both tired. You kind of just have to reset yourself, and it’s hard. Using what Ms. Toft taught me, I was able to help my cousin realize that I was calm, that we were going to be ok. We made it and we were both fine,” she shares.
“Those are scary situations, because I’m a short person! Little people problems are real out there,” Anisa says with a laugh.
Of the many things Anisa learned through her program at Tech, other skills included land judging, or being able to test and evaluate different levels of soil, and game processing.
“Land judging is basically looking at the soil and seeing if you can grow stuff there, or build on it, depending on what kind of dirt it is,” she says. “There’s a test called a ribbon test, where you can take the dirt and wet it a little bit then roll it with your fingers. If it’s still together and you still see the markings of your fingers, you created a good ribbon, so it’s healthy.”
“I also learned how to make a European mount, which is just a skull,” she explains. “Gutting a fresh deer smells awful. I love it, but it’s gross. We learned how to boil it and skim the fat. Depending on how it was killed, you can use the brain, which has tannin in it for the hide.”
“You’re supposed to use a certain tool for that, but Ms. Toft didn’t have it, so I had to scramble the brain with a pencil,” she says. “You learn to use whatever is available to you.”
[Ed. note: Yes, we were horrified when she told us this, too, but it gets better…]
“I used a vegetable cutter once to skin a hide,” she says with a laugh. “I know how to do a lot of things with a ton of regular, household items.”
Anisa and her fellow classmates were also tasked with taking care of a fish tank, and making sure the pH levels were balanced for the creatures inside, where they cared for tilapia and other fish.
“Depending on the fish tank, we had different food to work with. We would have fresh shrimp in the summer, and in the winter we switched to squid,” she says.
“We all learned how to make calamari. We had a competition for our midterm, and had chefs from different Cape May restaurants come in. We had to cook in front of them, which is nerve-wracking,” she says.
“I won first place during our first round. The second round I won second, and then the third round we all just ate the different dishes,” she says. “It’s really hard, but I pride myself on how well I did with that.”
[Ed. note: We’d say so! After all, there’s not very many people who can literally raise, kill, and cook their own food!]
“I wasn’t one to just get out there and do things, and now I am because of Ms. Toft,” she says.
Ultimately, Anisa is excited to craft a career working with animals. She’s currently going to school to become a vet tech.
“Animals are my passion. I’ve always had them growing up, so it’s just natural for me,” she says.
She even has two pups at home: JJ, a boxer, and a pomsky named Bubba.
“My uncle is a forest ranger in Puerto Rico, so he deals with emus, snakes, bears, and monkeys. He has everything,” she says.
“He has caimans, hedgehogs, and at one point he had a bear named Yogi,” she says. “He had a toucan too, and there was a parrot that liked to rat people out in the office.”
As she works towards her veterinarian license, she’s looking to get into the exotics side, and also study dietary in order to properly care for them.
“When it comes to exotics, if they don’t have the right diet, you can kill them. Their stomachs are so sensitive,” Anisa explains.
[Ed. note: So…Joe Exotic definitely should not have been feeding those tigers some of that questionable meat…]
“You can’t give quails avocados, for example,” she says. “It kills them. We learned that the hard way.”
[Ed. note: RIP, quails. They’ll never know the magic of guacamole.]
“From there, fingers crossed, I will hopefully do an internship with my vet, Parkway,” she shares. “Dr. Hirsch has been our family vet for years.”
“I helped him with my pom, Simba. He had this heart condition. We were bouncing off of each other, asking what we thought it might be, and to see each other’s notes. It just happened really fast,” she says. “It was spring break my junior year, and I was there practically every day.”
“He helped me out, because he knew it was what I wanted to do. Even though it was a sucky situation, I learned a lot from it,” she says. “We both came to the conclusion of what he had. It was more than just heart failure, but it was mainly due to heart failure.”
“I’m very hands-on with that,” she says. “I had to do case studies for my pre-vet class at Tech. A lot of medical issues like to build on top of each other.”
“Fingers crossed, I’ll be applying to Cornell for vet school, and then Penn Vet,” Anisa says.
For now, though, Anisa is excited to be trying something new working at the brewery while she’s taking college classes, and we’re thrilled to have her!
“This is something different,” she says. “It’s always good to be well-rounded. I went out of my comfort zone and tried something new.”
“I came in not knowing anything; I didn’t even know that the brewery was here,” she says with a laugh.
“Before I knew anything, beer all tasted the same to me. Now, I know what to look for and what not to look for,” she says. “I didn’t know that you could do a lot with beer.”
Of course, we asked her if she has any favorites so far.
“Pilsners are my favorite,” she shares. “I’m coming to terms with sours. I think my first was the Blueberry Cobbler. I like Peach Ring Sour and Key Lime Corrosion.”
As for our flagships, Anisa likes Coastal Evacuation as well.
“The Coquito beer we make is the first time I’ve seen the drink represented somewhere,” she says.
“I think that’s what really made me feel welcome here,” she shares. “As a Puerto Rican woman, I don’t get represented a lot, and it’s overlooked. It kind of made me feel at home.”
Anisa’s family is largely from Puerto Rico as well.
“My dad moved when he was younger and never got the chance to go back until we went and visited again when I was seven or eight,” she says. “My grandfather created a recipe for the coquito we make, and he was really excited to share it. We worked on it throughout the years. Now, I help them make it; it’s a lot of work.”
“It’s rewarding to me to see people drink something that I make that’s a part of my culture,” she says.
Anisa offered up orders to our Brew Crew shortly after joining us last year, and we all got to try it out. Needless to say, we can’t wait for the chance to have more!
When she’s not studying or working, Anisa keeps herself busy, and definitely embodies our core value of having fun.
“I’m always busy,” she says. “I love reading. I always loved reading as a kid. Doesn’t matter what I’m reading. If I’m not busy and I’m not dancing, helping the family cook, you’ll see me with a book in my hand.”
“We have a lot of barbecues in the summer. Sometimes we don’t plan it, we just have my aunts and uncles and cousins over when the weather is nice,” she says. “Music, dancing, drinking, a lot of eating. Lots of card games.”
“When it’s planned, we start cooking early in the morning. We have this big silver pot we use; it’s been passed down for a long time. We’re early birds, we get up at 5:30am or 6am. We start cooking around 7am or 8am for the rice. Rice and gondules, we’ll do pernil, which is pork shoulder. That has to be cooked early, because it cooks for hours,” she says.
“The night before, we prepare it, and make sure we have our sauce on the top; it’s my dad’s recipe,” she says. “And I’m learning how to make it. With my family, we don’t measure anything, so it’s hard figuring out how much to add.”
“You won’t touch that until 10pm, but the whole house will be filled with that smell, so you know what day it is,” she says. “We’ll also have ribs. My grandfather can cook up some ribs, let me tell you.”
“The meat is so juicy and tender; it just falls off the bone,” she says.
“My grandmother is in charge of mac and cheese, cabbage,” she says. “We’ll do hot dogs and burgers, too. We’ll have chips and dip and the alcohol. I’m usually the bartender. Everyone brings something.”
“The parties will last hours. I think the longest one we had, we were sending everyone home, because it was already 3 or 4 in the morning,” she says. “It’s such a good time, and you’re relaxed. Usually when we have them, it becomes a block party.”
[Ed. note: Now THAT sounds like a party!]
“If we’re not doing that, I do like to workout,” she says. “I played volleyball and soccer in high school.”
Anisa also loves spending time with her pups, either playing or going through a training routine with them!
“They’re my babies; they’re my heart,” she says with a smile.
“When I was younger, my great-grandmother and I would make jewelry. We’d make earrings, necklaces, during Christmas time we would sell them,” she says.
“I think I’m a boring person because I’m always busy,” she says with a laugh.
[Ed. note: Um, we have an entire blog that suggests otherwise here...]
“I plan on traveling when I have time, and go on a cruise or visit Mexico,” she says. “I love Puerto Rico, though. It’s so small but there’s so much to it. The rainforest itself is just ginormous. We went and we didn’t even explore a quarter of it.”
“It’s beautiful; I love it. I love the culture—I’m proud to be Puerto Rican,” she says. “We’re a rowdy, chaotic, crazy bunch, but you gotta love it.”
We hope you enjoyed the chance to get to know Anisa as much as we did—the next time you see Anisa in the Tasting Room, or around Court House or Cape May, make sure to say hi!