Whispers this week brings you an update on Orthodox Farmhouse Brewery at 15660 Ball Road in Elkins (Washington County).
Owners Ashlyn Gagnon and her husband, Jesse, are in their “final push” to open the craft brewery by the end of this year, Ashlyn Gagnon said, “but we will see.” In a statement, the brewery describes itself as “a small, tap-room driven brewery” using a “farmhouse brewery model” that’s “designed to be an environment that is appropriate for all ages.”
Jesse Gagnon is an old hand in the brewery business, having got his start at Mother’s Brewing Co. in Springfield, Missouri, 10 years ago and serving as brewer at Ozark Beer Co. in Rogers and West Mountain Brewing Co. in Fayetteville.
“We’ve always known we wanted to do something on our own,” Ashlyn said, something that was “in alignment with our lives and our families.”
She described their farmhouse brewery model as drawing inspiration from Belgian farmhouse brewing traditions, which go back to farmers brewing their own beer for their own consumption. Ashlyn thinks that Orthodox Farmhouse Brewery may be the only farmhouse brewery in northwest Arkansas. She defines farmhouse breweries as those operating in a rural agricultural setting.
Orthodox, which sits on 5 acres, will be using a seven-barrel system, Gagnon said.
The couple have funded their investment with a private loan and a Small Business Administration loan. “We have bootstrapped it,” she said.
They started the company in 2019 but then, well, pandemic and inflation and supply shortages. “It’s been a long journey,” Ashlyn said. “We have done everything with our own hands. Jesse has a construction background. He’s put every nail in the walls himself. … We are hopefully in the home stretch.”
As for the name, “Orthodox,” it refers to the “value in looking at the traditions that have held for so long,” she said.
Orthodox Farmhouse Brewery “will celebrate the history, culture, and agrarian roots of this local region,” the brewery’s vision statement said.
“The Ozarks are a special place,” Ashlyn said.
A previous version of this story incorrectly described the brewery as the only one of its kind brewing "farmhouse-style beers" in northwest Arkansas.