Calling All Film and Beer Buffs

Monthly Movies on Tap events offer brews and classic films. And best of all, 99 percent of ticket sales go to a nonprofit.

Like brewing beer, some ideas take time to come together.

Early last year Ryan Kennedy of Premier Wine & Spirits approached Penn Cinema and Out & About Magazine about partnering on a new concept. It was a special 21-and-older event series that soon became known as “Movies on Tap.”

Kennedy’s idea was to bring together a local brewery, brewers and moviegoers for a night of fundraising fun. Since then, each MOT brewery has been tasked with picking a cult or classic film, such as Ghostbusters, The Princess Bride and Pulp Fiction. Before the film starts, guests get to sample many of the featured brewery’s beers and chat with the makers of the beer. Movie costumes, props and movie trivia games are also part of the evening, and an unlimited supply of popcorn is always on hand.

More than one year later, the monthly event is still going strong. And the best part is, 99 percent of the evening’s ticket sales go to a charity or nonprofit of the brewery’s choosing.

As of last month, MOT had raised an impressive $28,270 for more than a dozen charities while attracting more than 1,700 paid attendees. Each event averages about 160. At its current rate, when the 2017 season ends, MOT will have raised a total of almost $50,000.

“When the series started, attendance was low, and we used one of our 100-seat theaters,” says Tom Potter, General Manager at Penn Cinema. “Now we use one of our larger 300-seat theaters. I think people really like the idea of bringing back classic films and drinking beer for a good cause. Ryan and his team really know how to put on an event.”

Fundraising events such as MOT play a crucial role in sustaining the life of nonprofit organizations. One of the organizations that has benefited most from MOT is the Food Bank of Delaware (FBD). So far, three Delaware-based Breweries (Mispillion River, Blue Earl and Dew Point) have chosen to donate ticket sales to the FBD. Together, they have raised more than $4,000.

Says Food Bank’s Larry Hass: “Nonprofits are always in search of creative fundraising events to engage their supporters and attract new friends while having a great time. Movies on Tap represents a partnership between multiple businesses to bring together a diverse group of people to the Riverfront in support of critical nonprofits.”

Ryan Kennedy of Premier Wine & Sprits (far left) and John Hoffman, owner of Dew Point Brewing Company (far right), award a check for $3150 to Mack Wathen and Larry Haas of the Food Bank of Delaware (both center). (Photo Ryan Kennedy, Premier Wine & Spirits)
Ryan Kennedy of Premier Wine & Sprits (far left) and John Hoffman, owner of Dew
Point Brewing Company (far right), award a check for $3150 to Mack Wathen and Larry Haas of the Food Bank of Delaware (both center). (Photo Ryan Kennedy, Premier Wine & Spirits)

Big name breweries like Dogfish Head and Iron Hill have stepped up to show their support. Dogfish Head closed out the 2016 season in December with a premier of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The evening raised $6,300 for the Nature Society of Delaware.

In April, Iron Hill Brewery used its film of choice as a way to get people to ditch work or class and catch an afternoon showing of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Coupled with an evening showing, the event raised slightly less than $2,000 for Pink Boots Society—an organization that aims to educate and advance the careers of women in the beer industry.

“The best part of the campaign is following up with the charity, meeting them, and doing the check presentation, then telling that story to our attendees on a monthly basis,” says Kennedy. “The money raised goes to everything from hunger programs, education programs for inner-city youth, counseling, cancer research and beyond. It’s amazing what $20 can do for your community if everyone chips in. We are all in this together, so why not support the community we all live, work and play in —while having a little bit of fun?”

This month, Victory Brewing Company, one of the largest and most popular craft breweries in the area, will host the event on Thursday, July 20, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The featured film will be the ‘80s comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Ninety-nine percent of the evening’s ticket sales will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Delaware.

So the next time you’re thinking about heading to the theater to watch the Incredible Hulk smash through a wall, or cry while Ryan Gosling confesses his undying love, why not check out what film is up next for MOT? It may be an old favorite and the charity of the evening may be one that does a lot more for your community than any super hero or heartthrob ever could.

Tickets are just $20 for a flight of beer, unlimited popcorn and, of course, the movie. For more information, check out the events page at facebook.com/PremierWineSpirits.

Food & Brew Hits 14

The annual Newark festival has become a celebration of community

The Newark Food and Brew Festival (F&B) returns for its 14th year on Saturday, July 22, from noon to 7 p.m. in downtown Newark.

F&B began in 2003 as an event aimed at showcasing the craft beer scene and the many restaurants of downtown Newark. But it quickly became more than a compilation of food and beer, evolving into a representation of the community. F&B gives the citizens of Newark a chance to enjoy their town, listen to live music, eat delicious meals, and indulge in a diverse selection of beers without the usual crowds. It also allows local businesses to connect with the full-time residents of Newark.

“So much of our business comes from not only the college students, but the support staff for the university—professors, staff, and their families,” says Sasha Aber, owner of Home Grown Café and a veteran of F&B. “During the summer, those patrons go their own way, and the locals begin to emerge in droves. It’s great to see people running into old friends and making new acquaintances in the heart of our town.”

F&B was one of the first craft beer events in Delaware. Fourteen years later, it has grown into one of Newark’s most anticipated summer festivals. “Food and Brew highlights the best of downtown Newark,” says Megan McNerney, Community Affairs officer for the city.

This year, 18 establishments along Main Street will participate. Each will be paired with featured beers from a selected brewery. Some of the breweries include Lagunitas, Brooklyn Brewing Co., Victory, Dogfish Head and more. To make the most of the $1-$2 beer samples, available at each establishment, the first 2,000 visitors to this year’s F&B will receive a commemorative five-ounce tasting mug.

Participating restaurants will serve tapas styled bites to go with the brews. “The restaurants are pairing specialty plates with beers to give customers a unique experience,” says McNerney.
Old Favorites, such as Catherine Rooney’s, Home Grown Café and The Deer Park Tavern, will also offer tasty plates. Some establishments, such as Café Gelato, have full entrée deals and larger beer samples for the attendees.

F&B is a pay-as-you-go festival. Attendees can stop at as many of the participating establishments as they wish and get their fill, while enjoying the town and a night out in their community. The pay-as-you-go aspect allows them to participate without breaking the bank—or expanding the waistline.
For more information and the full list of participating restaurants and featured breweries, visit newarkfoodandbrewfest.com.

Kennett Creamery, Round 2

After a successful kickoff in 2016, the beer garden and community space is gearing up for an even better second season

It took more than a century, but a Kennett Square property that started as a dairy has finally found its calling—as a beer garden.

In 1902, Theodore Pennock founded the short-lived Eastern Condensed Milk Co. on a plot of land on Birch Street. By 1907, the company was no more, but the building and grounds of the creamery lived on through the next century. Throughout the years, it was bought and sold many times as a creamery and dairy plant before being purchased in 1960 and transformed into a cannery for mushrooms.

In 2011, the cannery was gone and the building and property left in a state of decay. Then, Mike and Dot Bontrager purchased the 30,000-square-foot property and its factory-sized buildings. They had no predetermined plans or visions for their purchase, but after five years—in June of 2016—they opened The Kennett Creamery.

But, belying its name, TKC is devoid of any milk condensing or pasteurization operations. Instead, it’s a thriving beer garden.

Open evenings on Thursday and Friday and afternoons into evenings on Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer, the property now acts as a massive community space for all to enjoy. Its inaugural season was a great success, offering guests a choice of 16 beers on draft or in cans as well as a list of wine and cocktails. A rotating selection of food trucks was on site every night with meal and snack options. Local art and live music were regular occurrences. Strings of lights provided ambiance after the sun had set as guests relaxed at the dozens of picnic tables and lounge chairs. Children played in sandboxes. More active guests played games like Jenga or bag toss.

Now, as it prepares to open for its sophomore season, TKC aims to make this summer even better. All the favorites from 2016 will return, joined by a few additions. On the previously unused west side of the property will be a Family Garden featuring kids’ games and the possibility of a water feature. A TKC-owned food truck will be nearby to make it easy for families to watch their kids while getting a meal.

There will also be new locally prepared food options along with the food trucks from last year.

Additionally, TKC is reaching out to the community to get involved—urging local musicians, artists and food vendors to participate.

The Bontragers have been gratified with the response from their first season and are looking forward to this year’s opening on Friday, May 26. “Whether it’s families or groups of friends playing games together or people bringing their dogs to relax with a brew and listen to live music, we sought to create a community atmosphere that felt like a backyard BBQ where everyone was welcome,” says Mike Bontrager.

TKC is located at 401 Birch St., Kennett Square. More information can be found at kennettcreamery.com.

Record Store Day in Newark

For its second annual year, Home Grown Café in Newark is taking part in national Record Store Day on Saturday, April 22. The celebration will last from open until close and will include music from local DJs, giveaways from Dog Fish Head Craft Brewery and Rainbow Records, and of course, famously delicious meal options from Home Grown’s menu.

If you’re in the market for a new record, stop by Rainbow Records and browse the shop’s selection. Then, take your receipt to Home Grown to trade it in for two raffle tickets and be entered into a drawing for the Crosley and Dogfish Head themed record player and an assortment of other prizes. For any Dogfish Head beer purchase, guests will receive one raffle ticket, and for any purchase of the new Dogfish Head Beer to Drink Music To ’17 guests will receive two additional raffle tickets. Raffles will take place every hour on the hour.

Home Grown’s Second Annual Record Store Day Celebration is lining up to be a day of fun for all. More information can be found at facebook.com/homegrowncafe.

Go for a Ride

Young and prolific Pat Kane is a growing presence on the local scene. His most recent EP, What If The Stars Are Satellites, was released in January.

Every second Wednesday of the month around 9 p.m., Pat Kane, guitar in hand, walks into Wilmington’s Nomad Bar, takes up a position in the corner of the room, and begins playing his music. Regulars at The Nomad know Kane and his work, but so does almost everyone in the Wilmington music scene.

At the tender age of 26, he has more than 50 songs and nine EPs to his credit, and having just wrapped up his second year in a row playing the Shine A Light On The Queen concert, his fame is sure to grow. But ask him what he thinks about playing music, and the first thing he will tell you is, “It should never be about getting famous.”

As a teen growing up in Wilmington, Kane was inspired to pick up a guitar by a friend who had just started playing. At the time, Kane liked heavy metal music, and the image associated with that genre. Metallica was his favorite band; he liked how aggressive they were. For him, they personified rock and roll.

Then Eric Clapton changed his life.

“I can remember going to a Clapton concert for the first time and just saying, ‘holy shit, this guy gets it!’ Clapton kind of got me to find more music, music with a soul,” says Kane, “I began to dive deep into blues and music associated with blues.”

Since then, he has worked toward finding that sound and transforming it into his own. He started playing as much as possible and learning everything he could. He recalls being a freshman at Brandywine High School and playing gigs five nights a week.

“My music was young back then; I was young,” he says. “It’s changed a lot since I first started playing, since I released my first EP, and so have I.”

As he grew older Kane traveled—as far as San Francisco and even Thailand—and played live gigs. As he did, his music evolved.

He’s a musician who lives in the present through his music. “It reflects whatever I’m dealing with at the time that I write and record,” he says. “I draw from what I know and feel.” He describes his music as “psych, blues, and then folk, always in that order. That’s the kind of music that I love to make.”

Since Kane is a solo act—most of the time—so he has complete control over the music he loves to make.
But that also means when he’s recording he has to play all the instruments and record them separately for each song.

He’s not shy about explaining why he doesn’t have a band behind him: “I love playing with other musicians, but I also love having creative control over my music and the more musicians you add the harder it is to keep that same style.”

Kane has an unconventional way of marketing his work. He releases all his songs online via Bandcamp and has yet to ask for money for them. “I just want people to listen to my music,” he says, adding, “if they want to make a donation that’s cool, but just listening to my songs is enough.”

His most recent EP, What If The Stars Are Satellites, was released online in January and beautifully complements his singing, song writing, and guitar playing abilities. The first track, “Be Here Now,” is insanely psychedelic and feels as if Kane is guiding you down the rabbit hole while The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane dance beside you.

His albums are an experience, and Kane suggest a way to get the most out of that experience: “Put some headphones on, smoke some weed and relax,” he smiles. “Listen front to back. Go for a ride.”

Pat Kane plays at The Nomad Bar, 905 N. Orange St. in Wilmington, every second Wednesday of the month. His music can be found at patkane.bandcamp.com.

Get Out of Your Seats

Wilmington’s Gozer released its second EP in February

Standing on the small stage of Home Grown Café in Newark in a tie-dyed t-shirt and strumming an unplugged bass guitar is Brian Bruce, known to most people as Octie, for some unexplained reason. He gives a thumbs up to a group of people standing around the bar, and three of them join him onstage.

To Bruce’s right is Erin Silva, to his left Kyle Stawicki, both on guitar. Behind him is Jillian Willis on drums. They all adjust their equipment, give a few sound checks, look around at the people in the restaurant, many of whom are friends, and smile. Together they form the Wilmington band Gozer.

“Hi, we’re Gozer and we’re sorry to anyone about to eat dinner because this is not going to be an enjoyable experience,” laughs Bruce to the crowd, adding, “also, we’re really not a band that enjoys playing to people that are sitting down, so if you could all come up here and fill in this area in front of us that’d be great.”

Heeding the warning, a few diners rise from their seats and walk out the door. Other guests comply with Bruce’s request, moving to the area in front of the stage as sharp chords from Silva and Stawicki blast through the amps, and the aggressive percussion work of Willis vibrates through the bar. Then Bruce’s deep, raspy voice roars through the microphone and the abrasive sound of the band becomes clear. You wouldn’t want to take your grandmother to dinner where Gozer is playing.

That was on Feb. 4, but the band started long before that. Gozer first took form in 2013 at a house show in Wilmington as part of the combined efforts of Willis and Bruce. It wasn’t until last year that Silva and Stawicki joined and helped form Gozer into the four-piece made-at-home machine it is today.

The band still enjoys playing house and garage shows, but not exclusively. Each member is quick to tell you that he or she likes to play bars if the vibe of the place meshes with their style of music. Their tunes are in-your-face, and it’s unlikely they’ll be asked to play on the dance-club-like stages of Deer Park or The Chesapeake Inn any time soon. Your best bet to catch a show would be to check in on their favorite venues, like Home Grown Café, 1984, or Oddity Bar in Wilmington.

“Home Grown is great because we know Joanna (James-Parks, bartender at Home Grown) and she hooks it up with the booking there and I work at Oddity so it’s easy for me to set up shows there,” says Bruce. “We like playing at places that we’ve formed friendships with; we’re loud and sweaty and most people who’re into that stuff really enjoy it.”

Gozer is a loud band, and each show is like being punched in the face and falling in love at the same time. Their sound is the bi-product of a group whose members play in multiple bands, including local groups Fiancé and Tracey Chapstick. Each member brings something different to the table, which helps to form a sound that Bruce describes as “garage or alternative rock,” and Willis jokingly calls “dream rock.”

With members that spend so much time with other bands, one would think the overlapping of sounds and ideas would be a problem, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

“I feel like I write guitar parts for this band to mold to the songs that he (Bruce) writes,” says Stawicki. “He writes in certain keys and certain styles of progressions that I couldn’t do with my other projects.”
Says Bruce: “I play drums in all of my other bands. So, this is kind of like my song-writing project. It’s not much like anything else that I do.”

Gozer’s uniqueness seems to be paying off. In 2016 they released their first EP, Gozer, and just a year later they’re excited to release their second, Sick Of Waking Up, on an unconventional format—cassette tape.

“Yeah we’re releasing it on tape under our buddy Rick’s (Martel) label, Euth Group,” says Stawicki. “I feel like tape is more of a possession and it doesn’t come with the overhead of putting out a vinyl. It’s a bit cheaper and it’s something you can hold and have.”

It’s also on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify, ITunes, and Pandora for those who want to show support but don’t own a cassette player.

Sick Of Waking Up has been a family project for the band. Each member put in his or her fair share of the work and they all have a huge amount of love for the five songs.

“I think they’re all good,” laughs Bruce.

“Yeah, they all have their own little special bit to me, ya’ know?” says Stawicki with a modest smirk.
Aside from their songs, unique sound and loud, sweaty shows, what is most enjoyable about the band is that the members simply love being Gozer. The good time they have on stage is contagious, and as Willis puts it, “I think we have a lot of fun when we play, and people like that.”

The new EP Sick Of Waking Up is available now. Check out the Gozer Facebook page to give it a listen and for the dates and times of upcoming shows.