Our home - Frederick, md
Matt Thrasher and Paul Tinney had both been home brewing in Frederick, Maryland, at The Flying Barrel, a store and workshop for home brewing, and both had their sights set on turning the hobby into business ventures in the beer industry.
Thrasher was exploring options for a hop farm before looking into opening a brewery and tasting room on the land he owned. Tinney, meanwhile, was interested in opening a brewery in Frederick.
After Thrasher learned the costs that would be associated with his vision, he approached Tinney with the idea of teaming up and putting their resources together to open a Frederick brewery.
And with that, plans were set in motion to transforming an old car service bay into Rockwell Brewery with the desire of serving high-quality beer in a welcoming atmosphere. And in March 2017, the plans came to fruition with the debut.
“We wanted to have high-quality beer, and we wanted a place where people would enjoy being to drink it. For us that’s part of the theme,” Tinney said. “Good beer, great music, friends, a place to hang out and have it be something you want to experience.”
Before setting plans for Rockwell, Tinney was working at an investment firm that was looking at restaurants and breweries. While there, there was a projection for a craft brewing wave set to hit Frederick.
The projection proved to be prophetic as Rockwell was one of eight breweries to open in the city’s growing presence in the craft beer industry.
“Frederick’s been a great home for craft beer. I think the growth is a tribute to the fact that there was a desire for this type of beer,” Tinney said. “There was a desire for local, artisan-style craft beer.”
With so many breweries producing quality beer around the city, it was important to create an atmosphere to attract customers to theirs. So Thrasher enlisted the help of his wife, who had interior design experience, to turn a limited budget into an aesthetic look inside former service bay.
The result was a modern-industrial feel inside the tasting room that incorporated elements of the structure’s roots, while adding lights and wood tables and stools. Since opening, they’ve also added a fenced-in outdoor area complete with an abundance of seating.
Customers are also treated to the opportunity to order food from neighboring Family Meal, owned by former Top Chef runner-up Bryan Voltaggio. The co-founders of Rockwell teamed up with Family Meal to coordinate a point of sales and delivery system.
The condensed menu from Family Meal includes a fried chicken entree that Thrasher and Tinney created a beer to match with. Other options include a monthly sandwich that Family Meal designs for the brewery.
Fostering a welcoming atmosphere didn’t stop there, though. Thrasher and Tinney set out to engage different groups in the community, and opened the doors to them. The co-founders listed different groups that congregate at their brewery including: bicyclists, a church group, comedy groups, a knitting group, musicians, pet owners and runners, among others.
“It’s like back to the old days where your breweries are like your corner pubs where they’re your community gathering places pretty much,” Thrasher said. “That’s what I feel we offer and what it’s become.”
To further the sense of community, Rockwell hosts a number of different events that appeal to a variety of interests. The brewery has hosted events that relate to pets, different music genres, sports and more.
Serving high-quality beer is the other side of the simplistic business plan. The staples at Rockwell reflect the co-founders styles. Thrasher has always gravitated toward hoppy IPAs, while Tinney enjoys the english and brown ales, so the wheelhouse for the brewery is in those areas.
But head brewer Scott McKernon has over 25 years worth of experience in the brewing industry and has the requisite knowledge to create a variety of both regional and international styles.
McKernon’s expertise has been an asset that’s allowed them to create an array of beers that they hope suits every customer’s tastes.
When a new beer appears on the chalk-board menu, its name alludes to an artist, lyric or song title as an ode to the musical theme that’s rooted in the Rockwell title that came from Tinney’s other business, a hand-crafted guitar shop called “Rockwell Guitars.”
“It’s named after the guitar company because I thought hand-crafted guitars and hand-crafted beer and the whole artisan theme was a nice fit,” Tinney said.