In Lyman, Maine, nanobrewing is a family affair. Father and son brewing duo Paul and Abraham Lorrain of Funky Bow Brewing Company spent last Sunday afternoon brewing their first legal batch of beer as one of Maine’s newest licensed nanobreweries.
Paul cracked open a bottle of limited edition Allagash beer while his son and brewing apprentice, Donovan Lane, tended to the tanks. Dixie cups of beer were passed among friends in the storage garage-turned-brewery who gathered to celebrate Funky Bow’s big day.
But for Paul, the celebration extended beyond christening the brewery. For him, the inauguration of the brewery meant something more personal. Starting the business with his son was the catalyst for mending a disjointed relationship, which developed after his separation from Abraham’s mother.
“I’ve seen the most of my son in the last few years since doing the brewery than I ever have before,” said Paul.
The name of the brewery was ultimately coined by Paul’s daughter, Murphy. It comes from Funky Bow Lane, which is the name of the driveway and road that runs through the family’s farm where the brewery is located; and that name comes from techniques Paul learned in violin class.
The instrument motif continues throughout the brewery – from a violin hanging on the wall, to the label designs, and the names of the beers themselves, such as “Five String Oatmeal Stout” and “So Folkin’ Hoppy”. Melissa Lyford, a cellist in the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, designed the brewery’s labels.
The idea for Funky Bow Brewing Company began about one and a half years ago after Paul bought a home-brewing kit for Abraham as a Christmas present.
“It became quite obvious in the beginning that he was serious about it when he was throwing out the liquid malt, and said that he had to go get milled malts,” said Paul.
“It became an addiction,” explained Abraham, a human biology major and biochemistry minor from the University of Southern Maine. “It became like a science to me. I just started marking everything down and brewing all the time.”
“My girlfriend was saying that I was crazy…the amount of time that I spent brewing,” he added. “But she certainly didn’t complain about all the beer in the house.”
By May, Abraham expects to be brewing full-time at Funky Bow.
The Lorrain family farm is historically known for supplying high-end restaurants in Portland with mesclun. With business partnerships already in place, restaurants like Flatbread Pizza have already expressed interest in carrying Funky Bow’s beer.
After just being licensed in January, the 3-barrel brewery already has plans for possible expansion, based on the expected number of restaurant accounts alone. Construction of a tasting room is already underway.
The A-frame attic space above the brewery will become the tasting room – complete with a dartboard, bar, and a unique cut out feature in the floor that will allow beer tasters upstairs to look down on the brewing operation downstairs. The brewery’s grand opening is targeted for June.