Natalie DeChico, Philly Beer Geek 2011, Talks about Winning & Her Future Ambitions
Beer Fox Carolyn Smagalski, Co-founder of the Philly Beer Geek Competition, loves hearing how winners position themselves to win: what their goals are, how they expose themselves to opportunity, and how their ambitions lead to new adventure. She talks with Natalie De Chico, Phillly Beer Geek 2011, about what's on the horizon.
Carolyn Smagalski: Now that you've won Philly Beer Geek 2011, where do you go from here?
Natalie DeChico: The moon. Seriously, I’m not sure. I have a great job; I have made my hometown bar, my homebrew club and my parents proud. I want to continue to work on getting NJ to the beer drinking level that PA is already running at. I am living a dream job so I am quite happy continuing on this road for a while. It is wonderful to finally hold a steady job that I love and am successful at.
“I’m on the right track baby, I was born this way,” to steal a line from Lady Gaga. This is who I am. I am a beer geek. I am a nerd. I get more excited over a hop dress than a designer handbag. A trip to a brewery and meeting the brewer still gives me the giggles. Spending a night with friends includes sharing laughs over great beers at local craft bars. This is a great time to be a craft beer drinker.
C: Do you have other beer-related goals?
N: Takeover Weyerbacher and turn it into a beer bakery.
Eliminate the whole “women don’t drink beer” label, it is quite annoying.
I want to work on getting Weyerbacher the credit it deserves!
Cut the neighbor’s tree and some bamboo down so I can grow my hops.
I would love to brew a barley wine sometime soon.
C: Do you have any interest in presenting beer tastings in the city? What's your preference to do so: at festivals, museums or beer bars?
N: Yes, I love hosting tastings. I really enjoy talking to beer geeks and non-beer drinkers that I’m trying to convert. The more beer events, the better!
C: In what one place would you most like to present beer?
N: I would most like to present a beer to either A: a group of local beer geeks who enjoy learning and tasting about beer; or B: a group of newbies that know nothing of craft beer but are willing and wanting to learn more about it.
C: What was the most memorable beer festival you have ever attended?
N: The Winter Craft beer fest at the Philadelphia Naval Yard in 2009. That was the first time I got to pour for a brewery and it was such a great time. There was a group of us pouring for Philadelphia Brewing Company and it was a thrill to be on the other side of the line seeing hoards of people lining up to get a taste of the malty goodness we were pouring. My voice was hoarse at the end of the fest from “talking beer” all day.
C: Have you traveled for beer
N: I have been very lucky to have a travel agent for a mom, so I have been able to seek out beer in numerous states and countries.
C: Ever smuggled beer home in a suitcase?
N: I have brought home and carried so many bottles of beer in my suitcase over the past five years. Luckily, I have only had beer break once, a few brews from England. While in Boston last month, I brought home sixtels of Weyerbacher 13, 14, and 15 Anniversary in the back of my friend’s truck. Thanks Don, you and the Raptor rock.
C: You took home a pretty big cache of prizes. When you suddenly realized they were all yours, what were your thoughts?
N: After celebrating with everyone and things finally calmed down, you [Carolyn] asked me what I wanted to do with my prizes. I had honestly forgotten about all the beer and wonderful gift cards I had won! My first thought was, “What am I going to do with all this beer?” Though I guess I said it out-loud because all my friends started to suggest THEIR ideas for what I should do with my beer. I have given out about a third of my beer winnings so far. If you come to my house, you leave with beer. I am quite excited to find some free time to use all my gift cards thanks to all the bars and restaurants!
C: I've heard some say: the first Beer Geek was a Steve - the next, a Nate - the next, a Steve - and now, a "Nat." Was it Karma?
N: If so, The Hulmeville needs to find a Steve ASAP so we can start training him for next year. Coincidences are funny, aren’t they?
C: Any closing comments?
N: Thank you again to everyone who came out to support all the contestants for Philly Beer Geek! It was a very enjoyable evening; we all shared some laughs and beers.
Yes, The Hulmeville has a BIG EGO and we like it that way. Who wouldn’t have a big EGO after winning Best Bar in the ‘Burbs and Philly Beer Geek two years in a row? I am just so happy I get to be me. I am successful for being the geek that I am. Time for some beers on this 4th of July… homebrews from friends, perfect.
Photos are: Philly Beer Geek 2011 Natalie DeChico in her hand-crafted "hop dress"; Philly Beer Geek 2011 Prize Table with prizes worth over $2800, donated by the generous sponsors of the Philly Beer Geek Competition
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The Beer Lover's Gourmet Gift Box
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