Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cheered Me Right Up

I had an appointment yesterday afternoon to have a body fat analysis -- Jack has a few pounds to drop and has started to see a nutritionist.

To prepare for the test, I not only needed to fast for four hours and drink copious amounts of water, but to avoid all caffeine. I figured that since I was no longer drinking coffee, just yerba maté and tea, skipping caffeine for the day would be easy.

I figured wrong.

By the time I checked in to get the analysis, I was cranky and tired, cold and headachy.

At 4 o' clock, the testing was done and the numbers were encouraging: I have enough fat to keep a deep-fried butter on a stick booth at a Texas county fair in business for a week.

And we have a plan, which starts with two weeks of "sugar control": for two weeks I will cut all forms of sugar -- anything my liver processes into glycogen -- out of my diet.

This includes alcohol.

Starting Sunday, because I'm no fool: this weekend's events are social in nature (a charity event, Oktoberfest, and the Bend Roots Revival) and like many people, Jack needs a little lubrication to get into the swing of things.

And, according to my social calender, right after the nutritionist I was meeting some friends over at Boneyard Beer for tasters, to be followed by a farewell party at Cascade Lakes Brewing Company's lodge.

So after a fortifying shot of maté from Top Leaf Mate downtown, a bit of baguette from Lone Pine Coffee, and a bit of cheese I cadged from The Wine Shop and Tasting bar, I was considerably cheered up.

I rode my bicycle over to the brewery at 37 NW Lake Place, kinda near that little tacqueria on Hill Street.

Boneyard is a small outfit. I reckon they have less than 1,200 square feet of space, and 99% of the equipment is used, tinkered together from old bits and pieces from other breweries. The shop is clean, though -- as I was parking my bicycle I smelled the disinfectant they were using to clean the shop floor.

Tony Lawrence, Boneyard Beer's brewmaster explains something. Click on picture to see the full scene. 
A steady stream of customers filled the retail side of things, carrying empty growlers to be filled.

We were given generous 6 ounce tastes of their four ales, plus a "Dirty Girl": a blend of their cherry wheat "Girl Beer" and Black 13, their dark ale; and the nickel tour of the brewery.

I've previously had Boneyard's pale ale, Bona Fide, at Brother Jon's, and liked it. Yesterday's sample, though, wasn't as nice as I recalled. "This one is elusive," explained Tony Lawrence, Boneyard's brewmaster. "We switched suppliers for some of our ingredients and now . . . " he paused to take a sip from his tasting glass, ". . . something's not quite right. We're working on it."

The IPA was excellent. Complex, citrusy, with a long finish.

I asked about plans for canning. Canning is better than bottling for a few reasons: the beer is not exposed to light when in a can so it stays fresher; aluminum, as the number one recyclable material, is greener; and finally, cans are lighter, reducing shipping costs.

But canning equipment is expensive, so many small breweries hire mobile canning companies with the gear on a truck. Boneyard is not interested in that because "You don't know whether the guy is doing a good job or not."

So they are saving their pennies for a mini canning line, a bit of kit that costs about $25,000. "We don't use bank financing, so everything has to be paid for out of pocket."

That's the way to do it. Once you are beholden to the bank, you have to keep them happy. You can grow more quickly, but servicing a big loan makes risk-taking dangerous. And in any creative venture, taking risks is when the interesting stuff happens.

It was getting late and I had that other appointment on my social calender, so I had to go.

Mrs Elliott picked me up and we drove over to Cascade Lakes Brewing Company to say good-bye to a friend who is moving to Portland to go to school. As before, the lodge's décor and service underwhelmed me.

My thanks to the crew at Boneyard for taking time out of their production schedule to make us feel welcome. I owned a medium-sized manufacturing company for 20 years in a previous life, and I know how uninspiring it is to give Yet Another Dog And Pony Show to visitors, but Lawrence was gracious and kept it interesting.


  1. I, too ... have a need to dispose of a few pounds of body fat. I also have a few social engagements during the weekend involving sugar and alcohol. Grandson's 14th birthday starts everything off today! SO ... on Monday I pledge to join you in 'sugar control' for two weeks!!! This should be fun? Torture? Invigorating? Life altering? We'll see if I can manage it. I will never abandon caffeine! Does black coffee contain sugar? I hope not ...

  2. Helen, so we'll be doing this in tandem. I'm not planning to blog much about the process and my feelings and all that, so our endeavors will pretty much be separate. But I wish you the courage and fortitude to do what needs to be done. And black coffee has no sugars.

  3. So how did the fat analysis go? Were you graded Select, Choice or Prime?

  4. LOL. Like I said, I have "...enough fat to keep a deep-fried butter on a stick booth at a Texas county fair in business for a week."

  5. Well-marbled, eh? I'd call that "Prime."


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