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Susan and Ted Axelrod

Susan and Ted are a writer and photographer team who met while working for a magazine — Susan reviewing restaurants and writing food features, Ted photographing them. When Ted left the magazine for a freelance career, they launched their blog, Spoon & Shutter in 2010 as a way to keep doing what they love, together. After many years in Northern New Jersey, they are thrilled to be living in Maine, where Ted's clients occasionally include restaurants and food businesses. When they're not working, cooking, rehabbing their old farmhouse or hanging out with their two cool dogs – Ella and Dixie – they're having a blast exploring this spectacular state. To reach Susan, email saxelrod [at] mainetoday.com or follow her on Twitter: @susansaxelrod To reach Ted, email ted [at] axelrodphotography.com or follow him on Twitter @TedAxelRodPhoto .

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Spoon & Shutter with Susan and Ted Axelrod
Posted: January 13, 2014

Growler Night at Funky Bow Brewery

We’ll get to Funky Bow in a minute, but since this is our inaugural post on MaineToday.com, a brief introduction … 

We’ve been blogging about food — cooking, dining out and food-centric travel — since 2010, when we started Spoon & Shutter at our former home in Northern New Jersey. We met in 2006, working for a magazine where I (Susan) was the food editor and Ted was the photo editor and lead photographer. We loved working on food, entertaining and travel stories together, so when Ted left the magazine to work freelance full-time, we launched the blog to keep the good times going. As new residents of Portland, Maine, we’re excited to bring Spoon & Shutter to MaineToday.com, where we’ll share recipes and cooking tips from our kitchen, as well as notable food and drink finds from around the state.

To reach us, drop me a line at saxelrod@mainetoday.com or Ted at ted@axelrodphotography.com. You can also follow us on Twitter: @susansaxelrod @axelrodphoto . Thanks for reading!


Alice, Paul and Abraham Lorrain at a recent Funky Bow Growler Night

All photos by Ted Axelrod

Every Friday night, Paul and Alice Lorrain throw a party, inviting any and all fans of Funky Bow beer to their farm and brewery in rural Lyman.

These Growler Nights were launched last spring to introduce Funky Bow’s first release, End of the Line Pale Ale, and bring people to the brewery, where they could purchase beer in jugs known in the beer world as growlers. Now that the brewery has doubled in size and brews a number of beers, the Growler Nights are a festive mash-up of happy hour and hoe-down, with Funky Bow on tap, a spread of pot luck dishes anchored by Alice’s hearty casseroles and once a month, live bluegrass  — in a heated hoop house Paul built last fall as the brewery’s “tasting room.”

Nothing like a cold beer around a bonfire.

The Seagrass bluegrass band.

When you pull into the packed dirt driveway for the Lorrain’s 20-acre farm, where Paul grows his Sunset Organics greens in hoop houses named for classical composers, you may well wonder what alternate universe you have stumbled into. Cars and trucks line the sides of the road; smiling people with cups of beer in their hands stand around a huge bonfire, several dogs — including Fuggles, named for a variety of hop — wander around and the long greenhouse tasting room, lit from inside with strings of white lights, glows against the otherwise dark landscape. This is the work-hard-play-harder world of Paul Lorrain: ebullient host; energetic entrepreneur, straight-talking Mainer and antithesis of the hipster brewer. Even if you show up at Growler Night knowing no one, you’ll leave with new friends, including the Lorrains.

Left: Mike Cantara, Donovan Lane, Abraham Lorrain; right: Abraham Lorrain, friends of Funky Bow, Paul Lorrain

Paul’s brewing partner is his son, Abraham, a former microbiologist. The two were estranged for seven years and finally reconnected over cold beers; a beer-making kit Paul subsequently gave Abraham for Christmas was the catalyst for Funky Bow, which will celebrate its first anniversary in March. The estrangement is now clearly relegated to the distant past. Father and son banter and laugh together constantly, sharing a wicked sense of humor that extends to the names of Funky Bow beers like So Folkin’ Hoppy, Panama Red and F-hole Autumn Rye (the f-hole is part of a fiddle).

Paul and Abraham Lorrain

Inside the Funky Bow brewery

The entrance to Sunset Organics farm and Funky Bow Brewery

The greens grown in Sunset Organics’ greenhouses are popular with chefs, including Sam Hayward of Fore Street in Portland.

I’ll leave the real beer reviewing to The Beer Babe (also now on MaineToday.com!), but every Funky Bow beer Ted and I have tasted has been delicious, including the latest, Five String Oatmeal Milk Stout. We can — and do — drink them  close by at Little Tap House, East Ender and wherever we find them in Portland, but our favorite place to enjoy Funky Bow is on a Friday night around a bonfire and listening to bluegrass — down on the farm in Lyman with Paul, Alice and Abraham.

IF YOU GO:

  • Funky Bow Growler Nights are on Fridays from 4-7 pm, 21 Ledgewood Lane, Lyman (Paul has recently put out a helpful sign reading “Beer Here” in red). Follow Funky Bow on Facebook for regular updates.
  • 2-ounce tastings are free; 9-ounce pours are $5.
  • Most of Funky Bow’s beers are at least 6-7 percent ABV. It’s not a bad idea to have a designated driver in tow.
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