Inner Groove Brewing in Verona promises suds and sounds
A new brewhouse in Verona promises to be the place for sounds and suds.
Inner Groove Brewing along East Railroad Avenue is expected to open at noon on June 15 with eight beers on tap.
It’s located in a former interior design shop near the borough building and owned by couples Kevin and Jen Walzer of Gibsonia and Tim and Kelly Melle of West Deer.
They picked the small town between Oakmont and Penn Hills after an extensive search.
“It was kind of an underserved community as far as brewing,” said Kevin Walzer, a 1990 Fox Chapel graduate. “We feel like we’ve hit a nice spot, just a great community. The people have been fantastic.”
He said parking, walkability and activity at surrounding businesses also set Verona apart from other municipalities.
The “inner groove” on vinyl records is where bands would have hidden tracks and messages.
Music is strong theme throughout the 4,000-square-foot shop, from glued cassette tape centerpieces with electric candles to vinyl records used as coasters.
The business logo looks like a hop spinning on a record with the company name in white boxes with black lettering.
“I think all of us have a passion for music,” said Tim Melle, a 1990 Deer Lakes grad who called the layout “cozy industrial.” “Our goal is to produce two things: great beer and a great environment.”
Most of the tables are repurposed cable spools. There are pews from a church in Apollo fitted with green crushed velvet. The L-shaped bar seats 15 and the current max capacity is 99.
The owners plan to open a back patio soon.
Walzer and Tim Melle have been brewing beers for years in their respective basements with recipes inspired by their travels throughout the country and overseas.
“We’ve found in the South they’re a little more boozier,” Kevin Walzer said. “In the Midwest, they like their grains, and beers are a little more balanced. In the Northeast, that’s the heartland of these ‘juicy’ beers.”
They experimented a lot with hops, grains and other ingredients to perfect concoctions to suit all tastes.
“I’ve been a craft beer guy since early 1990s,” Tim Melle said. “I was trying to capture some of the great beers that I was able to taste while traveling for work.
“The beer scene here in Pittsburgh over the last two to three years has gotten so much better. Our IPAs are probably our favorites, but we love sours and brown ales and stouts. We run the gamut of different styles of beers. One thing you’ll see here is a wide variety.”
They also went from about a 10-gallon system to more than 217 gallons.
“Imagine you’re great at making a dozen cupcakes, and you opened a bakery — and all of a sudden you have to make 500,” Kevin Walzer said. “The beers exceeded my expectations. There were challenges for sure.”
Drinks include Blurry Face (9.3% alcohol), a dark chocolate porter with a hint of coffee and molasses and a smooth finish; Let the Mango Through (5.2%), a mango and raspberry sour; Engines On (8.1%), a New England-style double IPA with citrus notes; and Million Sons (6.2%), an American pale ale.
The brewery also offers brown and golden ales and single IPAs.
Beers are served in 5-, 10- and 16-ounce glasses and cost between $3 to $8.
There is no kitchen, but snacks and prepared foods could be available. Food trucks are planned for weekends.
Karaoke, trivia and “bring your own vinyl” are among activity nights in the works.
There was a soft opening earlier this month with friends, family and borough officials.
Owners said they were able to address a few issues to make things better for customers, and overall things went well.
More information is available online at innergroovebrewing.com.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .