After six years of contract brewing across New England, Backlash Beer Co. has a permanent home in Roxbury, a short distance from Dorchester Brewing Company and Bully Boy Distillers. Co-founders Helder Pimentel and Maggie Foley toured the 19th-century former piano factory twice before deciding that the location was a fit for Backlash’s brewery and taproom, which opened its doors this month. “I think our vibe is pretty unique,” Pimentel says. “We’re rough around the edges but dress up nice.”
With capacity for 120 people, the taproom is divided between two levels. The upper mezzanine serves as the main gathering space, filled with communal tables and benches crafted from the pallets that the spot’s brewing equipment were delivered on. Pimentel and his father built the 35-foot bar, which is faced with original wood from the building. White-painted bricks and geometric pendant lighting play into the space’s rustic-industrial feel, while openings in one wall give imbibers a peek at the brewery in action. The lower level—nicknamed the “play pit”—houses cornhole, shuffleboard and a plethora of arcade games.
Backlash’s opening list includes old favorites such as the inaugural Groundswell, a Belgian pale ale, along with newcomers like the Easy Killer pilsner, Grit pale ale and the 152, a New England-style IPA. In addition to offering bar snacks, there are plans to host on-site food trucks during larger events.
Even as their presence becomes more established, Backlash’s owners say they won’t stray far from their rebellious roots. “The name [was chosen] to sort of give a face to the craft beer revolution—the backlash against mass-produced beer—and trying to take back American beer from the big guys.” We’ll drink to that.