Thursday, November 19, 2009

Back in the Saddle again


... bicycle saddle, that is.

Cycling has always been my favorite form of recreation, and places second only to riding the train as form of transportation of choice. I dearly missed cycling when my ankle was healing. Missed it all spring and summer and much of fall. Missed it when Mrs Elliott went for morning rides with her friend.

Last week I got on the bike for a tentative first ride, and learned three things: 1. My cardiovascular system is completely out of shape, 2. my ankle is still very tender so mounting and dismounting has to be done with great care, and 3. riding a bike is still just about the most civilized way to get around.

Earlier this year while I was recovering, I noted with interest the opening of a new business, Abbey Pub, less than a mile from our house, and from what I read, it sounded promising because they offer a selection of beer and ale on tap from breweries not necessarily located in Central Oregon. I'm not opposed to the local brews, I like the local brews, I drink the local brews. We are blessed with seven or so breweries busily making and selling fine product, but the Pacific Northwest is peppered with breweries and I've felt it was a pity that we didn't have a place here in Bend where we could sample from a broader selection.

So last night I had an evening free (Mrs Elliott was at a glass-slumping class at Glass Symphony), and I hopped* onto my bike and rode over to Abbey Pub to check the place out.

I'm glad I did. Though it's a family-friendly place which serves sandwiches, salads, and snacks, it's not a restaurant, it's a tap room. It has a nice-sized TV, and the remote is graciously placed on the bar so customers can watch news or a game, but it's not a sports bar. It's a tap room.

Proprietor Geoff Marlowe is a self-described beer geek: has made his own beer, belongs to the local homebrewer's club, and appreciates a good beer when he tastes one. He may change the list of beers he pours twice a day, and is always bringing in new ones to pour. His laptop is always within reach so he can research and field inquiries about beers from all over.

The Abbey Pub is located near the roundabout at the top of Newport Ave on the west side. Geoff doesn't yet have a web site, but is working on it, and plans to update it continually as new beers are put on tap. No nitro tap yet, but he's working on that, too.

It's tough starting a business. Most people have no idea. Geoff related a story to me about a local woman who said that she wanted to open a store, but didn't want it to take over her life. She figured that some little shop where she could work part-time would be fine, and she'd be happy if it threw off $100k per year profit.

WTF? Totally clueless about how much work it takes to operate a shop, and how skinny the profit margin is. It has to be something you believe in, and you have to be real careful about how you spend your money.

I personally think that the Abbey Pub makes a nice addition to Bend's pub scene. It's off the beaten path, but I encourage my reader to give it some patronage.

After sampling a couple excellent browns, a so-so lager, and a well-balanced IPA, I cycled home with two bottles of Belgian sours in my basket, thankful for the warm muffler that Mrs Elliott knitted for me last winter, and thankful that I can ride my bike again.

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* "Nice hopping." -- Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, Young Frankenstein, 1974.

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