After four years of selling its handcrafted, small batch beer at just a handful of locations in eastern Maine, Friar’s Brewhouse — the “nanobrewery” owned and operated by Brother Donald and Brother Kenneth of Friar’s Bakehouse in downtown Bangor — is finally opening its own location.
Friar’s Brewhouse will later this year open a tap room in downtown Bucksport, located at 84 Main St., on the river side of Main Street, in the former location of a tanning salon. An exact opening date and operating hours have not yet been named, but beer lovers can expect to see the doors open sometime in late November or early December. The Friar’s Brewhouse Tap Room will be Bucksport’s first tap room.
“It’s something we’ve had in the back of our minds for a long time,” said Brother Donald. “Kegging our beer and selling it direct to the customer is really the economically viable option for us, and Bucksport is just a great place to be. We actually had a really hard time finding an available storefront. The town is really moving forward… plus, we live in Bucksport, so I won’t miss the February commute. We think God has put us in the right place.”
Though the friars are best known for their bread, baked goods and daily lunch specials at their downtown Bangor eatery, since 2013 the brothers have also brewed beer, out of their brewery at their friary in rural Bucksport. Regular varieties available in bottles include the St. Francis Brown Ale, the Traditional Monastery Ale, and the popular Whoopie Pie Porter. Seasonal offerings appear in the winter and spring as well, like St. Nicholas Ale, a spiced beer that arrives in time for the holidays. Bottles of Friar’s beer are currently available at Bangor Wine & Cheese Company, Tiller & Rye in Brewer, Global Beverage Warehouse in Ellsworth and at a number of restaurants and bars statewide.
Though the brothers have no immediate plans to change anything about the Bakehouse in Bangor, Brother Donald said that when their new Bucksport business opens it may necessitate a few changes in terms of operating hours in Bangor.
“The renovation of the Bucksport space is going to take several months, and then we’re into the winter season, and January is typically our slowest month at the Bakehouse, so that puts us in a good position to see how we’re going to move forward,” he said. “Don’t worry, though. Nothing is changing right away. We’re open to anything.”
One thing folks can expect at the tap room, however, is a selection of Friar’s baked goods and house-made bar snacks.
“Oh, we’re not going to stop making baked goods. We’ll have treats at the tap room,” said Brother Don. “It’s all going to be an interesting transition for us.”