Assuming all goes well with the final inspections, Paul Tinney expects to be pouring his hand-crafted brews by the end of February.
No small feat given that RockWell Brewery marks the accomplished financier’s first shot at personally launching a hospitality venture.
At Wellrock Capital Partners, which he created with investment partner Dennis Hoffman, Tinney bankrolled a who’s who of D.C.’s hottest restaurateurs — a roster that includes Bryan Voltaggio, Mike Isabella and Erik-Bruner Yang — via a niche “food fund” designed to stoke novel dining projects.
After years of helping make others’ dreams come true, Tinney’s priorities shifted. He traveled to Quebec to study the art of guitar making. And he began dabbling in homebrewing at The Flying Barrel in Frederick, Md.
Over time, his budding passions became intertwined. “I saw a close relationship between hand-crafting guitars and craft beers,” he shared.
Becoming friendly with fellow homebrewer Matt Thrasher — a local whose family just so happened to have a working farm — sealed the deal on Tinney’s plans for the future.
RockWell Brewery, which continues to take shape at 880 N. East St., Suite 201 in Frederick, is a collaborative effort inspired by the Austin music scene, Frederick’s booming brewing community and a shared desire to keep things local.
“We have no aspiration to be a 12,000-gallon brewery with distribution and a national footprint,” Tinney said of the intentionally modest operation he envisions. He added that producing 300 barrels within the first year would qualify as “wildly successful” in his opinion.
Refurbishing the space has been a labor of love.
“It’s a former Nissan dealership,” Tinney said of the locale. As part of the renovation, Tinney said his team exposed the original floor of the former service bay, built a custom bar and carved out a performance space for visiting musical acts.
“I don’t think there’s a place like it in Frederick,” he said.
That exclusivity extends to what’s expected to flow from the taps.
Opening Beer Menu
- Barrel-aged imperial brown
- Extra Special Bitter
- American-style IPA
- Double IPA
Tinney said he’s long been a fan of English and Irish ales; he’s also experimented with stouts and porters. Per Tinney, Thrasher is keen on American-style IPAs.
Rather than cast a wide net, Tinney said he intends to reel in fans one visitor at a time. Because the only place folks will be able to taste the featured beers will be “out of the taps at RockWell Brewery,” he quipped.
Should hunger strike, guests are invited to indulge in buckets of Voltaggio’s fried chicken — delivered straight from the source. “We can walk food right out the back of Family Meal,” Tinney said of a deal he’s cut with the adjoining restaurant to cater to brewery patrons.
Per Tinney, RockWell is already working on creating an IPA featuring biscuit malt to complement the co-opted bird.
RockWell Brewery is projected to operate nightly Thursday through Sunday to start.