NWA beer updates : Core cans cocktails, Rendezvous Junction continues construction, and more

Spring is here, vaccines are near, and there is plenty of good beer to be enjoyed in Northwest Arkansas. Here are a few updates from across the local beer scene.

Core cans cocktails

Courtesy, Core

Springdale’s Core Brewing & Distilling Co. announced the release of a new line of ready-to-drink mixed beverages it’s calling “25th State Craft Cocktails.” Three of the spirit-based drinks will hit the market starting today — The Hotspur, a gin-based cocktail mixed with lavender, honeysuckle, and tonic water; The Johnson County, a peach tonic, chamomile, lemon, and vodka blend; and The Shipwreck, a rum-dominant concoction that features mango, key lime, coconut, and nutmeg.

Core’s canned cocktails come on the heels of the success of its hard seltzers. Founder Jesse Core said that Scarlet Letter now represents 75% of the brewery’s total production output.

Ozark announces release of BDCS 2021

Photo: Ozark Beer Co.

Ozark Beer Co. in Rogers is on the cusp of releasing its most sought-after beer. Bourbon Double Cream Stout is a 10% ABV milk stout aged in oak barrels for seven months. Preorders begin on May 10, with taproom pickup commencing on May 22 and continuing through June 12.

In years past, the release of BDCS was a festive event, with ticketed parties and lots of merrymaking taking place at the brewery. Last year was different, of course, with the global pandemic in full swing by the time BDCS 2020 was ready to go. Masked and sanitized pickup was the only option.

A party isn’t in the cards this year, but pints of BDCS will once again be poured for onsite consumption. According to Ozark’s website, the 2021 version will not be distributed and will only be available in the taproom.

West Mountain’s Jesse Gagnon has his own brewery-in-planning

Jesse Gagnon / Courtesy Ozark Beer Co.

The beer at the iconic West Mountain Brewing Co. on Fayetteville’s downtown square is tasting as good as it ever has, thanks to the brewing prowess of Jesse Gagnon. It’s for this reason the news of Gagnon’s brewery-in-planning is bittersweet for many local beer fans.

According to documents filed with the Washington County Planning Board, Jesse and Ashlyn Gagnon hope to open Orthodox Farmhouse Brewery on 4.5 acres the couple owns on Ball Road, near Goshen. The plan is for a small operation with most of the beer produced to be sold onsite.

Gagnon has been at the helm of West Mountain’s three-barrel brewhouse since late 2017. He previously worked at Mother’s Brewing Co. in Springfield, Missouri and Ozark Beer Co. in Rogers.

We touched base with Gagnon this week, but he was busy with the myriad of tasks associated with planning a new brewery. We hope to catch up with him soon to hear more about his vision for Orthodox Farmhouse Brewery, and to learn about who will replace him at West Mountain.

Rendezvous Junction construction keeps chugging along

Photo: Rendezvous Junction Brewing Co.

Rendezvous Junction Brewing Co. in Rogers has outgrown the five-barrel brewhouse it inherited from Foster’s Pint & Plate in 2017. The maker of Lollygagger Double IPA and Dillydally Pale Ale will soon be moving to new digs in the Bellview Urban Center project behind Pinnacle Hills Promenade Mall in Rogers.

According to co-owner Michael Peerson, the new facility contains more than 6,000-square feet of space and will feature a mezzanine with views onto the brewery floor. The brewing kit will be comprised of a new ten-barrel brewhouse from Craft Kettles, four ten-barrel fermenters, four five-barrel fermenters, and a one-barrel fermenter for good measure.

The assortment of beers will increase with the addition of new equipment. Twenty-four taps will be installed, with one tap reserved for water and the rest featuring beers made in-house. Peerson and son-in-law Levi Taylor are busy testing new recipes on a one-barrel pilot system that was recently acquired.

Peerson said the plan is to keep Rendezvous Junction’s existing location for sour beer production. Barring any unforeseen setbacks—which are common in brewery construction—the new location will be open for business by mid-summer. Videos of construction progress can be seen on the brewery’s Facebook page.

Recent beer releases of note

– Bike Rack Session Kveik
– Black Apple Imperial Blueberry Lemonade
– Boston Mountain Galena IPA
– Hawk Moth The Lime Light
– New Province Red Wine Barrel-Aged Veritas
– Ozark Southern Hemi Dry-Hopped New Zealand Lager