Flying Heart Brewing & Pub
At Flying Heart, top-notch craft beer is matched with a welcoming environment that keeps customers and employees alike full engaged and wrapped up in the fellowship of their community.
article by VANELIS RIVERA | photography by KELLY MOORE CLARK
When Parker Kane began working at Flying Heart Brewing & Pub in Bossier City, the last thing he was thinking about was climbing the ranks into a management position. But, the attentive and caring regard he received from the administration heightened his dedication to what would become an eventual career shift. “Management showed me that they cared about me. They noticed when I would, you know, put extra work in… that really stood out to me,” he recalls. So, when the Flying Heart team ventured into a new Northeast Louisiana location, Parker was a top contender for helping lead the crew. “I did not think that I would still be in the restaurant industry at this point. I would have been out of it about two years ago. But things have been going really well here and I’m very happy,” beams Parker. Clearly, Flying Heart’s reputation extends beyond their brews, savory bites, and trendy atmosphere. At this brewhouse, top-notch craft beer is matched with a welcoming environment that keeps customers and employees alike fully engaged and wrapped up in the fellowship of their community.
“It originally started in a basement” informs Parker. The basement was located in a dental lab owned and operated by Ben Hart where replacement teeth and bridges were made. When his wife Leah Hart was sent to Greenland by the airforce for a year, he needed something to occupy all his spare time, which is when he started micro-brewing in the basement. Ben and Elizabeth Pattillo joined the mix, turning the small-scale operation into a group activity. The hobby instantly became an obsession when they tried their first batch, which took four long weeks to brew. Flying Heart Brew Club was formed that same night; the moniker, a play on the last name Hart. Larger batches followed, particularly after the friends swiftly drank their initial inventory. Naturally, that gave way to experimentation and creating a variety of recipes that reflected their multifaceted flavor preferences.
On one of their many nights of beer tasting, Elizabeth, always eager and determined, posed a question that would shake up their lives: “How cool would it be if we did this for a living?” Curiosities were piqued and in August 2014, Flying Heart Brewing was officially founded. The first location purchased was historic Fire Station Number 6 on Barksdale Blvd. in Bossier City, ended up becoming the city’s first brewery. Doors officially opened in 2015, and they’ve welcomed beer lovers since with their line-up of seven satisfying styles as well as a variety of seasonal brews.
“The area around it kind of grew with us. And it’s kind of cool, we saw a downtown kind of trying to regrow,” says Parker. With a surge in demand, conversations were circling about how to make the business “bigger and better,” which for the team meant the addition of a food menu. Jeff Judge, also the owner of The Wooden Spoon, a bakery in Bossier City, exercised his culinary know-how helping shape a prominent section of the Flying Heart menu. “He’s the one who brought the pizza in,” says Parker, adding, “Things just kind of grew and grew and grew.”
That growth ended up taking the form of scouting for another location. It was an idea they were willing to grab hold of, but at that point, nothing was “set in stone;” that is, until a chance visit to West Monroe for the city’s lively Mardi Gras parade. In the midst of multicolored beads and intricately decorated floats, they met the Mayor of West Monroe Staci Albritton Mitchell. The group exchanged ideas about reviving downtown areas, in particular, that of Downtown West Monroe, which the Northwest Louisiana natives considered to be chock-full of potential for growth.
“So, we started with an empty lot,” informs Parker, who had a heavy hand helping construct the building from the ground up, laying bricks in the back patio along with other finishing touches. “One thing we really wanted to do is give it a rustic feel where it’s kind of just comfortable for anyone,” adds Parker. Interior accents pull this vision together skillfully. Multi-toned wood wainscotting line some of the walls and frame the concrete bar top: “Some of the walls are literally just pallets that we’ve pulled apart and nailed in the wall ourselves.” Exposed ceilings provide an industrial vibe, further enhanced by reused products for decor, such as their Rahr, Wyermann, and Malteurop woven fabric malt bags with apple-red and forest green labels. Both the interior beer hall and exterior bench seating are spacious. Each dark wood picnic table has the Flying Heart logo carved into an edge, a small detail that depicts pride and ownership of their product, particularly by way of its location. “We want to make sure this is a place that fits the crowd. You know, it’s not just our place,” emphasizes Parker, pointing to a full-sized canoe hanging upside down over the back entryway. The canoe was a donation from a fellow Antique Alley business owner. For the brewery, the gesture is one that serves their philosophy: “Letting the community and your patrons kind of shape the place.” Their layout is also specifically arranged with the community in mind. “The big thing is just making sure it’s something kind of comfortable for anyone,” says Parker, who stresses the importance of wanting to make sure nobody walking through their doors ever feels excluded or out of place.
Out of their flagship labels, their very first brew is the Black Heart Ale. “It smells great when you brew it,” says Parker, mentioning its compelling black cherry finish. As far as their more popular beers, their Firehouse Blonde takes the sash. “It’s great for hot weather,” says Parker, describing the pale brew as being light with a crisp finish. Their Day Wrecker is a Pilsner that Parker considers “easy-drinking,” as it has a light mouthfeel. But don’t drink this one for lunch, because true to its name, this 10% ABV brew is not for lightweights. Not a beer fan? That won’t be a problem in this brewhouse. Most customers gravitate toward their Strawberry Shandy, a fruity and refreshing option, so good that a lot of customers mix it with their favorite beer. Parker recommends mixing one of their sours like the Kettle Sour Amber with a splash of the shandy. More adventurous drinkers may want to try a Black and Tan, which is half of their Black Heart and Firehouse Blonde. Initially, Parker was hesitant at combining brews, but after tasting a few of the complex flavors that result from the odd coupling of roasty and sweet, to crisp, floral, and light-bodied, he doesn’t mind condoning a little mixology.
he Flying Heart team pride themselves in brewing each craft beer with a purpose and passion. They have beers that pair nicely with burgers, barbecue, salads, and chicken, which is why their food menu gives customers a little bit of our dine-out favorites. Their New York-style pizzas take up the majority of the menu. To begin, their dough is vegan friendly, made with a New York City water profile, proofed for three days, and hand-tossed the old-fashioned way before making its way into their ovens to become one of their sixteen options. Flying Heart favorites are marked by their logo, such as the “Carnitas” by Jared: salsa verde, ranch, mozzarella, pork carnitas, white onions, cilantro, and chipotle cheddar. The Bre-Pow is another one for pork lovers with tomato sauce, mozzarella, slow-braised marinated pork, pineapple, red onions, and cilantro. Other alluring combos can be found in the Day Wrecker, which features beer cheese, and the Cajun which highlights crawfish rub and gris-gris sauce. Customers have also been raving about the oven-roasted, all-natural jumbo wings, served with ranch or blue cheese and your choice of sauce (chipotle cheddar, hot buffalo, garlic parmesan, Korean BBQ, candied bacon, and sweet Asian) or dry rub (crawfish and curry-flavored).
In spite of how enticing their brews and savory bites can be, Flying Heart isn’t limiting itself to just the service industry. “Being a craft brewery, you kind of expect to be a pillar of the community… you are focused on raising money and helping causes and we’ve been able to do a lot of that here,” exclaims Parker. Recently, their Brew & Zoo event helped raise funds for the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo educational department. Zoo guests included an alpaca, hawk, parrot, python, and baby gator.
Undoubtedly family-friendly, Flying Heart wants Northeast Louisiana to know they are both a brewery and a restaurant. They eagerly welcome the community to partake in making West Monroe a “better place,” as well as growing the downtown area. One drive down Commerce Street reveals packed parking and revitalization of the area, sufficient evidence to support that their service-based endeavors, much like their Strawberry Shandy, are fruitful.
Flying Heart Brewing and Pub is located on 204 Commerce St West Monroe, LA 71291 and is open Monday through Wednesday between 11 AM to 9 PM, Thursday between 11 AM to 10 PM, Friday through Saturday between 11 AM to 11 PM, and Sunday between 10:30 AM to 9 PM. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about their seasonal brews and upcoming events.