Amanda (Tomaszczuk) Thompson is one of WISEACRE’s newest full time employees, although she’s not new to the WISEACRE scene at all. She is a Memphis native who grew up in East Memphis and went to White Station high just a few years behind WISEACRE co-founders Kellan and Davin. From there, she took the collegiate grand tour, hopping to and from three different schools before graduating from The University of Memphis with a Harry Potter-themed thesis, a Bachelor of Liberal Studies, and an amazing husband (Adam) who she picked up along the way. She then got her first real job working in banking right as the financial crisis of the late aughts was coming to fruition and managed to hang on in the banking world until she left work in 2011 to become a stay-at-home parent. During her time at home she delved deep into the world of attachment parenting and helped co-found the Memphis chapter of Babywearing International. Once her kids outgrew the constant carrying and started to develop a bit of independence, she was ready for a change. Her brother, Sam, who had been brewing at WISEACRE for over two years, had created a loyal cult out of his innocent family and soon encouraged Amanda to apply for a taproom position last spring. She started with WISEACRE as a part-time bartender and has since taken on a full time position as Events Manager and Administrative Associate. Amanda has the attitude of a butterfly and organization of a bee, and she has been an amazing addition to the taproom, administrative, and entire WISEACRE family. Check out our Q & A session with Amanda below!
How would you describe your position at WISEACRE?
Technically speaking, I have two positions as Events Manager and Administrative Associate. What that really translates to is a wonderful amalgamation of responsibilities that falls somewhere between cruise director and court reporter. My first true ambition in life was to be a film director and, while I couldn’t hack it in that industry, my current positions let me produce and direct all kinds of things in an industry that’s a heck of a lot more fun. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to a dream job.
What’s your favorite thing about beer and what is your all time favorite (style and/or specific brew)?
When I came onboard as a bartender at WISEACRE last spring, I was a relative newb in terms of my knowledge of beer. I still have a lot to learn, but one of the first things I picked up from our brewery tour is that beer is a drink with great historical value. Wine gets a lot of the glory, but beer has been around just as long and has played an equally valuable role in keeping people alive and happy. Beer culture (and tastes) may have changed significantly since the ancient days, but beer has always been a drink for the people and I love that it can still bring ’em together.
As far as personal favorites, Lord Skylark will always get my vote for favorite WISEACRE beer. My favorite beer on the outside is probably Union Craft Brewing’s Old Pro Gose. I had the pleasure of serving Old Pro at Taste the Rarity last year and I still dream of taking a trip up to Baltimore just to drink it again.
Tell us about your first experience with those golden bubblies (aka beer)!
It was stressful. I’m a pretty stringent rule follower by nature (in spite of a very freedom-filled upbringing) and the first time I remember drinking a beer was at a post high-school graduation party thrown by some kids who ranked way above me in the social pyramid. I only had a few sips before the guilt of underaged drinking overwhelmed me and I left. I didn’t regularly drink (or enjoy) beer until I met my beer-loving husband, Adam, and he began to school me on this glorious beverage in all it’s many forms.
Besides beer, and now that summer is upon us, what are you
I’m not much of a poolside person, but if I swim, I Tiny Bomb. And if I’m not Tiny Bombing, a Moscow Mule is my go-to drink. I had a fantastic one at Bari last weekend that had lemon and lavender in it and I’m eager to figure out how to recreate it in some form.
What sorts of obscure things are you into?
Hmm… Two years ago I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and understanding the philosophies outlined in the book has been a game changer in the way I live my life. I’ve been slowly working towards a life that “sparks joy.” This year in particular, Adam and I have been focused on trying to figure out how we can downsize our lives and become more conscientious consumers. I’m not sure you could really call Ms. Kondo’s message obscure anymore, but I’m definitely into it and the move towards less still feels somewhat out of sync with a lot of the imagery and advertising one experiences in modern society.
On a lighter note, I don’t play sports and I don’t really enjoy watching them being played, but for some reason I’m a huge sucker for sports documentaries and movies/shows. I could watch episodes of “30 for 30” all day and there will always be a special place in my heart for (the show) Friday Night Lights. Texas forever.
If you could have infinite knowledge about any one subject what subject would you choose and why?
Languages. All the languages. I’ve studies a few but have yet to become fluent in anything beyond English. The main reason I want to learn at least one other language is for travel, but I’d also love to read some of the great works of literature as originally written. I may be 90 before I can read Les Miserables in French or Don Quixote in Spanish, but I’ll get there. It’s never too late to learn, right?
If you were stranded inside a closed WISEACRE and could only have three things with you, what would they be?
One of those electrical hospital beds that can move up and down, a large buffet including (but not limited to) food from Panda Garden, Aldo’s Pizza, Central BBQ, Lucky Cat Ramen, and Gibson’s Donuts, and a Netflix or HBO Now subscription. I’d set up shop in front of the screen in the Taproom and eat and drink myself silly while binge watching all the things.
Word on the street is you’re married with two children. What’s your favorite thing about them?
My youngest, Katherine, is 3 and I love that she’s got an incredibly sunny personality, a can-do spirit, and impeccable comic timing. She can be a tiny terror too, but she’s so much fun. My oldest, Bridger, is 5 and I love that he and I share a deep love of grand magical stories. I’ve been reading the Harry Potter books to him since last August and we’re now halfway through book 5. I’ve told him I’ll take him to visit Harry Potter world when we finish the books and I’m not sure which of us is more excited by the prospect.
Together, I love them because of how much they love each other and because they’ve both tried to be supportive of me going back to work. I was a stay-at-home mom for over 4 years before I started at WISEACRE and I know the transition hasn’t been easy for them, but they’ve taken it all in stride and have become cheerleaders for WISEACRE even though they’re still a few years away from being able to enjoy our products.
The kiddos supporting their favorite local brewery and brew (Sam’s original recipe) Dunkel Puppy.
If your life turned into a movie, what character would you be?
My life doesn’t have enough drama to be a good movie, but a character I admire right now is Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones (yes, I realize it’s not a movie, but close enough). She’s intelligent, fierce, and unafraid to go after what she wants in a very male-dominated world. I also find her relatable because she’s a mother of dragons and I have to believe that parenting dragons is only slightly more challenging than being a mother of preschoolers.
What is your go-to karaoke song?
I haven’t sung karaoke since high school. If I did, though, my current jam would probably be “How Far I’ll Go” from the Disney movie Moana, partly because it’s a damn good song and partly because one of the unintended side effects of young parenthood is that you may forget to brush your teeth but you will eventually reach a state where you can recall the lyrics to every Disney musical and PBS theme song on demand. I sometimes fantasize about hosting a parents-only karaoke night where we over-consume and end up belting out all the saccharine songs that have become the background music to our lives. I think it would be hilarious and therapeutic.
Your brother Sam is WISEACRE’s AM brewer, what’s it like working with another Tomasczcuk in the building?
It’s the best. I get the pleasure of crushing him in the WISEACRE Fantasy Basketball league and we also get to develop special sibling-y traditions, like take time off on our birthdays. It’s also not the first time we’ve worked together; we both got our start in the working world as teenage employees at The Village Toymaker here in town.
Seriously, though? I wouldn’t be here today if Sam hadn’t pushed me to break out of my cozy stay-at-home parenthood shell and apply for a bartending job. In that moment he knew me better than I knew myself and for that I am forever grateful.
You have 30 seconds left to live, you can consume any food and drink. What food and drink would you choose?
My dad’s fried chicken and a real sugar Coke. In my day to day life I try to eat a lot of the green things, but if I’m going down anyway, gimme all the sugar and salt.