One-hundred twenty-five beers at an abbey? Without context, that tidbit sounds strange, especially when you picture Maria VonTrapp cracking open a cold one after a hard day governessing. With context, the prospect sounds better – the beers are served at a restaurant and paired with mouth-watering burgers. This year, the Admiral Street comfort food bastion The Abbey underwent a menu and dining room makeover. Now, the LaSalle and PC-goer favorite is back with a facelift and a bigger, hyper-local selection of brews.
Husband-and-wife duo Jay and Michelle Hoff have owned The Abbey for 20 years. According to general manager Katie Hawksley, who handles day-to-day operations, the renovation of the restaurant was inspired by their most devoted patrons. “[The renovation is] our way of welcoming our neighborhood into their home away from home. A way for us to thank them for all their support over the years and to let them know we appreciate their business,” she says. Katie also notes that the menu hasn’t been totally overhauled. You’ll still be able to get your Abbey favorites like the Giant Pretzel, Baconaki, and homemade potato chips with housemade gorgonzola cheese sauce. The eatery will also have its signature burgers on the menu, but the difference, really, is the beer.
The Abbey offers a craft beer selection that covers a large swath of geography, from California to Europe. More importantly however, the business owner has paired up with Rhode Island breweries to offer beers they can only get here. “We have brought in local crafts from Beer On Earth, Proclamation Ale, Newport Craft, Greysail, Smug, Skyroc (brewed in MA) and more.” Katie, Michelle, and staff have also done research to find local beers from Belgium. You can find products from companies like Chimay, Gulden Draak, and Duvel, an esoteric variety that you most likely won’t find at any other place in the state.
Katie says that she and the staff are very knowledgeable about drinks and which foods best pair with a particular brew. When customers come in, they take the time to walk you through the flavor profiles. This is all part of the elevated experience that The Abbey hopes to give its customers.