Two guys that always think outside the box, The Next Pint recently sat down with one of the Co-Founders of Rhombus Guys Brewing Company, Matt Winjum. The other Co-Founder, Arron Hendricks, is a long time friend of Matt’s dating back to high school. Together they have built an award winning brewery located in the historic Metropolitan Opera House in downtown Grand Forks, ND.
To say these guys are entrepreneurs is an understatement. What started as a traveling mobile smoothie stand after graduating high school, to multiple pizza locations, and now a well known brewery, Matt and Arron strive on pleasing their customers with quality products. Rhombus Guys Pizza has won numerous awards and the brewery accolades are quickly piling up since opening in the Fall of 2015.
We had the chance to chat about the origins of Rhombus Guys Brewing Company, the hiring of their new Head Brewer, new beers in the works and what the future holds. Sit back and meet the guys of Rhombus Guys Brewing Company.
From a mobile smoothie stand, to multiple pizza locations, and now Owner of a renowned brewery located in Grand Forks, ND, what made you decide to open your own brewery?
As many people know, Arron and I have been in the pizza business for a long time. But before that, we went to high school together. We took a few marketing classes together, and we were interested/dreaming of opening up a brewery all the way back then. We started dabbling in some home brewing and got interested in craft beers. When we got the pizza places going, we like to think we were some of the early adapters that brought craft beer to our region. We focused on our draft lines and searched out stuff that wasn’t readily available. Beer continued to be a passion of ours and as we saw the boom in brewery openings, we started thinking more seriously about opening our own. We eventually took the leap and opened up in the fall of 2015.
How did the name Rhombus Guys Brewing Company come about?
The first business that Arron and I created was a mobile smoothie stand. We were 18 years old and didn’t have much construction experience. We set about to build a 8’X8’X8’ cube on an old snowmobile trailer. After we framed it up we stepped back to take a look at it. It wasn’t square at all; it was slanted like a Rhombus. Boom, the name was born. We called it Smoothie Rhombus, and people started calling us the Rhombus Guys. The name has stuck.
Located in the historic Metropolitan Opera House in downtown Grand Forks, what made you decide on this location to start a brewery?
The Opera House is a beautiful location on the National Register for Historical buildings. It also just so happens to be around the corner from our pizza place in downtown Grand Forks. We have passed this building for 10 years as it has sat vacant since the flood of 1997. We always loved the space and felt it a shame that nothing occupied it. With its’ tall ceilings and exposed brick, the space naturally felt like a brewery. The remodel was a massive undertaking, and we have since earned an award from the Historical Society for the work we put into reviving this beauty. We love inviting people to come check it out on a tour; it is definitely worth the trip.
You recently hired a new Head Brewer, Jacob Hamilton. What is his background and how has the transition been?
Jacob came to RGBC from Mankato Brewing. He had been the head brewer there for the previous two years and had worked there for 5 years. He is extremely talented, technical, and detail oriented. The transition has been unbelievably smooth. I guess we got really lucky. Jacob has been able to take our brewery to another level. It has been fun to watch him continue on with some of our core brands and to develop new exciting ones as well.
Two new beers are starting to enter the Twin Cities market, Greenway Double IPA and Genevieve Belgian-Style Farmhouse Ale. How would you describe the two new offerings and the story behind each beer?
Greenway DIPA is a big, juicy East Coast style beer. Citra and Mosaic hops team up to produce a tropical, citrus flavor. It comes in at 7.6% ABV, so be careful. Our brewery is located right across the street from the Red River. After the flood of 1997, a large dike was constructed. The land between the dike and the river is called the Greenway; it is a 20+ mile long park. It is a symbol of growth, development, and progress. Our Greenway DIPA is the first beer that new head brewery Jacob developed for RGBC and is also a symbol of growth and development.
Genevieve Belgian-Style Farmhouse Ale is tart and crisp with an earthy, smooth mouthfeel. It is very easy drinking even at 6.7% ABV. Genevieve is also the name of my newly adopted baby girl. When I returned to the brewery, the brewers asked me about naming this beer after her and donating a portion of the proceeds to support adoption. After some consideration, we decided to do it. It has been a big hit in the taproom and around the area.
What is one thing many people don’t know about Rhombus Guys Brewing Company?
That we exist, just kidding. Many times when people first see the name the ask if we are the same guys that make the pizza. In our short time in business, we have won multiple awards including three beer and bacon festivals and one Beer Dabbler. We currently can two styles of our beer that can be found all around the metro as well as our draft offerings. So please, ask for us when you are buying beer.
What does the future hold for Rhombus Guys Brewing Company?
We hope to continue to make a name for ourselves in the industry and be sought ought by people who know great beer. We want to make the brewery itself a destination for people to visit. We will always continue to improve to bring people the beer they deserve. We will add some more offerings in cans shortly and consistently develop new beers. Most importantly, we will always stand behind our beers and take care of our supporters.
Learn more about Rhombus Guys Brewing Company HERE.