Popular Bucksport Brewhouse To Close For Good Following Death Of Friar
For nearly 20 years, The Friars Brewhouse was a staple of Downtown Bangor. That's where I first encountered Brother Donald Paul. My family would visit the little storefront on Central Street for one of the best grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup meals around, and to see if they had any of their Whoopie Pie Porter in stock (which would usually sell out the minute he brewed a batch.
I loved that when you went in, they made you put your phone away and actually talk to one another. In a time when folks have their faces glued to their phones, it was refreshing to see such encouragement of face-to-face interaction. Brother Paul was always cheerful and knowledgeable about the beer he loved to brew, among other things.
I was sad to see them make the move to Bucksport, but happy for that community, because they really were a special group of guys who really knew how to brew beer and bake!
Bucksport welcomed them with open arms, and they soon became a staple there, along Main St.
Just this past summer, the publication Wineenthusiast.com did an entire write-up on the place, and the Brothers who ran it.
"Brother Paul runs the brewhouse with help from two other friars: Brother Kenneth Leo, who keeps the books, and Brother Stephen Leen, who bakes the pastries and daily bread. All live in the monastery down the road. Though he originally learned to brew beer as a hobby, the interest snowballed—so much that he decided to get a brewery license and open a taproom. "
They acclimated brilliantly into the Bucksport community and really made themselves at home there.
That is why the news that they'd be closing permanently, following the very unexpected death of Brother Don, has hit the town, and fans of the Friars, particularly hard this week.
According to the Friars' Brewhouse Taproom Facebook Page, the Bucksport police found Brother Don deceased in his vehicle by Jacob Buck Pond Boat Launch.
The other Friars say they will not be able to carry on the business without him.
"We thank all of our patrons and friends who have supported our endeavors over the years.
The stark reality is that...now that the taproom is closed our income has ended with it. We really could use your assistance. If anyone could commit to making a monthly contribution in any amount to help support Brother Kenneth and Brother Stephen it would be greatly appreciated."
Tributes and condolences have been pouring into the page from all over.
One man wrote "Rarely in my life have I experienced Gods love. Of those few occasions, a number have been through Brother Donald and his compassion, kindness and his love through direct action. His ministry and testament of his faith was through feeding you, and showing that if you live a life with love, even without words you can touch and share your peace and faith with another."
Another wrote "I am so very, very saddened by this news. We loved him and visiting the brew house. Brother Don's stories and toasts will live in my memory with much fondness and gratitude for the rest is my days. He will be missed! My condolences to the crew, Brothers, and family."
Certainly, both Brother Don and the business will be missed by both Bangor and Bucksport. We send our deepest condolences to all.
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Gallery Credit: Angela Underwood