After more than two years of planning, patience and persistence, a popular east-end brewery has finally popped the top on a long-awaited brew pub at their location on Innes Road.
Orleans Brewing Company opened in February but was waiting for better weather and to complete some finishing touches before this past Saturday’s grand opening, which came as a bit of a relief for husband and wife team Célia and Yann Lemieux, co-owners of the brewery.
“It took almost three years from the day we registered our name to the day that we opened,” Célia Lemieux said in a sit-down interview with OttawaMatters.com.
It had been Yann’s dream to own a brewery, buying his first home brew kit when he was 16, so with Celia’s marketing background, the serial entrepreneurs decided to make a go of it.
“Wherever we would go and travel, we would always look for the craft breweries and we were in Portugal one year and we did the whole country and found literally one microbrewery,” she said.
“We contemplated opening one there…and then we came back here and realized there was none in Orleans (at the time), so instead of uprooting the whole family, we decided to open one in our own backyard.”
Through zoning challenges and red tape involved with 11 months of construction, the pair persevered and hope to become a neighbourhood mainstay in Orleans for many years to come.
“We want to be a place where people can come and enjoy a few pints, but also stay longer,” Célia said, noting food options and other things added or on the docket, like a bean bag toss game or plans for a patio and further expansion.
With 14 different taps in total, which include one guest tap each for beer and cider from other Ontario breweries, OBC offers lots of variety for craft beer aficionados.
The three most popular have been the ‘Hazy IPA’, which is the most popular for both the brew pub and restaurants the brewery supplies in the area, along with their ‘Russian Imperial Stout’ and the ‘Lagerdale,’ which Célia called a nice “gateway beer” for those just getting in to craft beers.
Adam March serves as brewmaster at the pub, as the couple like to bring in other expertise outside of their own, allowing for a wide variety of ideas.
“Yann being a homebrewer is not the same thing as someone who has studied in the field,” Célia said, noting March has specialized in master brewing while studying at Niagara College.
“We treat Adam like a chef in a restaurant, so it’s his craft and every week he pushes out a cask and he can do whatever he wants,” she said.
“Sometimes he’ll use a base of a beer we’ve had and he will infuse with fruit peels or fruit puree or he’ll smoke some grains and throw it in there. And from there and from the reception from our guests, then we go on into our production.”
Some beers, like the ‘Kolsch Me Ousside’ lager are already available in 100 LCBO location across the province and the brewery hopes to expand further in the future, including a patio that will allow it to double its capacity.
While future growth is in the works, the plan is to maintain the brew pub but more space may be needed as production is increased.
From hosting events like team-building exercises for businesses or to bachelor and bachelorette parties, the plan is to be more than your traditional pub, according to Célia, while also maintaining its space for those who may “want to come read a book and have a pint.”
“We wanted to make it inclusive for everybody,” she said.
The brew pub is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.