It’s been a little over a month since Insurrection AleWorks first opened their doors for business on Black Friday and they haven’t looked back. Like any brand new business, the inevitable hurdles and obstacles of going operational came out in full force, including an unforeseen happening that required a total construction revision to the entire layout of the new taproom that rests comfortably next to the 3.5-barrel brewhouse from which a series of IPAs, Porters, and sour beers first come to life.
But all those happenings are a thing of the past. Now, the crew at Insurrection is focused on the rigors of running a fully-functioning craft brewery and eatery…and all that comes with it.
Co-owners Matt Messer and Brad Primozic are no strangers to the rapidly-growing craft beer scene here in Pittsburgh. Matt is the owner of 3 Rivers 6 Pack in Delmont. Brad started working with Matt at the six pack shop and the lighthearted comments of “we should start a brewery” became harder to ignore as time went on. Before 2015 reached its conclusion, those passing conversations became reality.
Brad serves as the Brewmaster for Insurrection and has been honing his craft for years, preaching patience in the pursuit of delivering the highest-quality pint to the public. Some of the offerings pouring at the new Heidelberg brewpub have been available at 3 Rivers 6 Pack for almost a year, thus giving craft beer enthusiasts on the other side of town a sneak preview of what was to come and, hopefully, a reason to cross a bridge and venture through a tunnel.
The moniker ‘Insurrection’ was pulled from the history books and pays homage to PA’s Whiskey Rebellion in 1794 and sits on East Railroad Street, otherwise known as the main drag through Heidelberg. The taproom is welcoming and comfortable, and windows provide a glance into the fermentation room and barrel-aging room that contains a 1,000-liter oak fermenter through which many of the sour beers in Insurrection’s portfolio will slowly but surely reach perfection.
A unique feature of Insurrection’s taproom is the fact that the tabletops and bar were created from wood gained from a tree in the backyard of Matt’s parents. Throughout the entire facility, a theme defined by Brad as “simple and elegant” is incredibly prominent.
As I mentioned before, Brad brings several years of experience to the table and has gained influence from many Northeastern breweries, including renowned brewery The Alchemist. The delicate skill of barrel-aging beers to “bring out the funk” and let the wood fully add those important layers of complexity we all look for takes steady will and the uncanny ability to simply wait it out. Those wild yeasts are unpredictable, but when handled with care, the final product yields incredible beer, thus incredible reactions from beer drinkers.
Brad also believes in balance. If a beer leans too far in one direction, either too hoppy or too malty, the overall experience with that beer is subpar at best. Brad’s philosophy is the notes you discover in each beer should be just enough to identify themselves, but should never dominate the overall contents of the glass.
Pretty good philosophy.
That said, Brad isn’t afraid to turn up the dial on the hop meter. Not surprisingly, my favorite from the beers I sampled on my first visit last Saturday was Suppression #2, Insurrection’s Double IPA that is aggressively hopped to deliver IBUs breaking the 200 threshold! My hop jones were through the roof as Warrior, Chinook, Centennial, Galaxy, Mosaic, and Citra hops all worked together to create a brew that nails the bitter hoppiness IPA drinkers crave in a very drinkable beer. This is one I’ll come back to again and again.
Although I didn’t get a chance to partake (definitely another reason for a return visit), the food menu ultimately sticks to the simple and elegant theme. The offerings are presented on one page and undoubtedly contain something you’ll enjoy while sipping quality beer. They have appetizers, sandwiches, wings, and more, all brought to you in a lineup that will consistently rotate to keep things fresh. They also have an a la carte cheese and charcuterie menu that allows you to build your own cheese plate, thus creating the perfect complement for any beer you order next.
Insurrection AleWorks represents the newest addition to Pittsburgh’s craft beer family and their early stages show they have created yet another fantastic craft beer destination for enthusiasts to frequent. Like myself, these guys believe in more than just beer. It’s the overall experience that beer creates that truly defines the reasons we love this beverage so much. This belief, combined with a devotion to patience while executing their brewing practices, will set Insurrection up for successful gains as Pittsburgh’s beer scene continues to evolve.