Flora Hall Brewery first opened its’ doors back in October, creating a comfortable gathering space filled with great beer, delicious food and friendly people, all right in the heart of Centretown. The history of 37 Flora St is amazing in itself. First built in 1927, this heritage building has seen several owners over the 91 years its’ existed, such as the Welch and Johnstone automotive firms and the Cycle Savage biker group.
In more recent years, the hall sat empty for a long period of time before founder and president of Flora Hall, Dave Longbottom, bought the space back in 2016. As an experienced business person and entrepreneur who had spent years travelling the world seeking out the most unique taverns and local watering holes, Dave saw the space as a complete blank canvas filled with possibilities.
Dave had a distinct vision for Flora Hall and knew that in order to achieve it, he could not do it alone. After a nationwide search for the perfect brewmaster, Dave found Rod Hughes, a trained chemist and water scientist from the West Coast. Upon meeting him and sampling his tasty beer, Dave knew he had to make Rod a member of his team. Rod packed his bags, brought his main brewing assistant with him, and became the talented Brewmaster and Manager of Brewing Operations at Flora Hall.
There is currently a roster of 5 distinctly, unique beers on tap, and the brewing is only getting started. As Flora Hall grows deeper into the community of Centretown, guests can expect several additions to their brew list, including collaborations with other local businesses throughout the Centretown community. As we enter March, Flora Hall will introduce their Mango Lassi IPA, a Northeast Style IPA that is brewed with mango puree, cardamom and rose water. This beer is full-bodied with an extremely smooth texture and a flavour profile inspired by the classic Indian yogurt drink.
Linette Edmonds, Chef and Manager of Kitchen Operations, envisioned a menu that included creative comfort foods, seasoned with unique spices from all over the world and served as dishes that are great for sharing. When Dave realized the talent, focus and creativity Linette had, he knew she had to become a part of the team at Flora Hall. Linette and her group of young, dynamic professionals now serve up delicious food that pairs perfectly with all of their beers.
Within months, the vision for the Hall had all come to fit together in the most perfect way. With a highly talented brewing and culinary family, Flora Hall had their back of house operations well underway. The focus was now on the front of house, and Dave began to seek a team that would create a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere for guests from the moment they entered the brewery. This is where Alli O’Callaghan and Peter Simpson come into the story of Flora Hall, who both play key roles in ensuring guest satisfaction at Flora Hall.
Flora Hall is a lively, community hub that is a notable spot for all food and beer lovers alike. Set around the concept of gathering, Dave and his impressive team work with one goal in mind: transparency. From watching the brewing happen directly in-house, to the communal seating made to encourage conversation between neighbours, to the absence of TV’s to inspire real conversation, Flora Hall is a cozy, casual spot the neighbourhood wouldn’t be the same without.
By Julia Solimine
Cover photo by Erik Stolpmann