Food: () Despite a limited kitchen, GoodLife offers creative bites and sandwiches.

Service: () Friendly and efficient, delighted to discuss the menu and offer tastes.

Atmosphere: () Bright, spacious room seats about 60, half at common tables.

More Info

Location: 70 SW Century Drive (Century Center), Bend

Hours: Noon to 10 p.m. every day

Cuisine: American

Price range: $9.50 to $14.50

Credit cards: Mastercard, Visa

Kids’ menu: Five choices priced $5.50 to $7.50

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Selections include a hummus plate, a fall harvest salad and a Greek veggie wrap

Alcoholic beverages: Full bar

Outdoor seating: Biergarten lawn is open June through October

Reservations: No

Contact:, 541-728-0749

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When the GoodLife Brewing Company opened its doors in mid-2011 in the Century Center complex on Bend’s west side, it really wasn’t set up for restaurant service.

The beer was excellent. (It still is.) But without a deep fryer or a stove hood, the kitchen could not produce the sort of fare that quaffers come to expect at local brewpubs — hamburgers, for instance.

GoodLife adapted, and it did so with great success, roasting meats, blending soups, tossing salads, and building sandwiches on spent-grain beer bread. For a while, the pub also served Italian paninis and Cornish pasties. Those are not presently offered on its menu, which changes seasonally.

The food offerings today are better than ever, even without the fryer or hood. I suppose the brewery has decided that investment just isn’t necessary. Dishes like the Oregonzola wedge salad, the flank steak Philly, the bourbon-baked Brie and the garlic hummus plate are steady sellers.

GoodLife’s spacious Bierhall, directly connected through a single door to the spacious production facility, is a bright and high-ceilinged room that seats about 60 patrons. Half of them share three long common tables; the balance set at tall tables or at the bar. In addition to a pair of televisions, decor is provided by photographs, antique sports equipment and a display of medals won in beer competitions.

Service is friendly and efficient, both at the tables and at the bar. The servers who helped me on both of my recent visits were delighted to discuss the menu and to offer tastes of different beers when I had difficulty deciding between the Comatose Imperial IPA, for instance, or the Sippy Cup hazy pale ale. I learned that I can always rely on Sweet As, a two-time national award-winning Pacific ale.

Mmm, bacon

If there’s a signature dish at GoodLife, it’s “Bacon2,” pronounced “Bacon Squared” ($9.50). My only complaint with this appetizer was that there just weren’t enough in a serving. Three ripe jalapeño peppers were halved lengthwise, cored and stuffed with a filling of cream cheese and bacon. After roasting, they were topped with more diced bacon.

When I ordered this dish, I was impressed that my server had asked me how crispy I like my bacon. I was even more excited when, a few minutes later, the cook personally delivered them to my perch and asked: “Are these crispy enough?” Indeed, they were spicy and delicious. I would have liked more.

My favorite dish, however, was the Anchor Heart Farms meatballs ($14.50). Ground beef and pork, mixed with herbs and spices, were shaped into a hearty trio of multiple-bite rounds and served in the same cast iron in which they were baked — topped with melted Havarti cheese and tomato-rich marinara sauce. Sliced, spent-grain beer bread (from Annie’s Bakeshop in Bend) accompanied.

The Fall Harvest Salad ($12.50) was also excellent. Local greens were tossed with chopped, house-roasted butternut squash and red beets, then mixed with pickled red onions, dried cranberries, candied walnuts and herbed goat cheese. For an additional $2, my dining companion requested chicken to be added to the salad. She liked everything but the balsamic reduction drizzle that accompanied the salad. When she took it home and added her own blueberry-pomegranate dressing, she was delighted.

Sandwich choices

In all, the GoodLife menu currently features four salads, eight sandwiches and three wraps. I dropped in one day for a sandwich and came away feeling it was overpriced for what I got.

The Turkey Melt ($12.50) might have been a good choice. Thick strips of house-roasted turkey breast were rolled into lightly toasted, spent-grain bread in the style of a wrap, along with sauerkraut, melted Havarti cheese and Russian dressing.

Whereas the kraut and dressing would have been appropriate for a grilled pastrami Reuben, however, they didn’t quite work as part of a turkey wrap. I would look for something different on a future visit.

All GoodLife sandwiches and wraps come with a broad selection of accompaniments — chips and salsa, seasoned kettle chips, a pub salad or a cup of the soup of the day (which, on this visit, was beer-cheese soup). I opted for macaroni and cheese.

Like the turkey melt, this was nothing I’d go out of my way to order again. Elbow noodles with beer cheese and chopped spring onions were fine, but I’m sure any of the other selections might have been just as good.

— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached .