The name Inner Groove Brewing has nothing to do with beer. The Verona brewery was founded by two couples — Kelly and Tim Melle, and Kevin and Jennifer Walzer — who have a deep appreciation for old vinyl records and relied on them to soundtrack their meetings as they built the company. The four were inspired by the concept of "inner groove" tracks, secret songs imprinted close to the center of vinyl records. (The Beatles famously hid a recording on the inner groove of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.) They decided to "re-create this idea into a brewery concept to provide an experience of hidden talents, tastes, and turntable tunes."
With Tim and Kevin handling the brewing and Kelly and Jennifer organizing the business side, the brewery opened officially in June of 2019. Each beer is named after a song— the flagship golden ale, My Verona, is a play on “My Sharona” by The Knack. Their logo sports a vinyl record, the brewery has its own record player and vinyl collection, and on Thursday nights, the brewery hosts bring your own vinyl night.
Besides the music themes and wordplay, Inner Groove is in many ways a typical brewery. The space — a former home furnishing store — has been stripped to its bones, leaving a cool, industrial feel. Their brewing system is designed like an open kitchen; a half-wall separates brewers and drinkers.
The move to brewing full-time wasn’t that big of a leap for Tim and Kevin, who were already experienced home brewers and kept many recipes from their home brewing days. There was a slight learning curve as they adjusted to a seven-barrel system, but based on their recent output, the duo has clearly settled in. They’re trying to keep a range of brews on tap at all times. Walk in to Inner Groove today, and you’ll find everything from hazy IPAs to brown ales to kettle sours.
This was an intention the Inner Groove team had from the beginning. As Verona’s first brewery, they wanted to make sure anyone could walk in, feel comfortable, and find something to drink. The two couples have fallen for the small, up-and-coming, walkable town, which they fondly call a “hidden gem.” As Pittsburgh area-natives, the four are excited to play a part in the revitalization of a river town.
Currently, Inner Groove is making beer once a week, though Jennifer says that soon, brewing will become more frequent to keep up with demand. Inner Groove flies through kegs in two to three days, depending on the beer. In March, they plan to start canning.