Creekside Beer recently had the privilege of meeting with our newest brewery partner, Trace Brewing, based in the Bloomfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh, and touring their just completed facility. Owner and founder Dave Kushner was an incredibly gracious host for this visit, providing us with extensive background on the brewery, the process, the staff, and their plans. Dave said he had relocated to Pittsburgh several years ago after a stint in the Boston area, where he learned all of the mechanics of brewery operation while working at John Harvard’s Brew House, Harpoon Brewing, and Lord Hobo Brewing, and then successfully launching Remnant Brewing in Boston, which is still in operation. The location that Dave found for Trace Brewing was a perfect venue for this venture, just a block from the Bloomfield bridge in the heart of the neighborhood, in a building that initially housed a brass and bronze foundry when it was built in 1910. After extensive design sessions with his architects, Dave said he kicked off the construction phase of the project in December of 2019, with plans to open the following spring. Then 2020 happened, throwing their plans to open their brewpub a real curveball. As a result, Trace is unique in that they began canning their products from the outset, rather than offering these in draft, in order to get their products in the hands of customers more immediately – and safely, during the pandemic.
The facility that Dave and team created is quite literally a stunning design, pulling together architectural points from the building’s history, repurposing and reclaiming components of the original structure, and making what was old new again, without losing any of the charm. We were extremely impressed with their eye for detail, and how they created a warm, inviting space out of a more than one hundred-year old metal factory, where patrons can watch Trace’s products being brewed firsthand. Some of the major renovations that Dave pointed out include where they:
restored the original wooden roof to provide a lofty cathedral ceiling in the brewpub;
sealed the exposed brick to maintain the original look and feel of the factory wall;
cleaned and polished the original glass block windows;
added new garage doors that open up to their outdoor beer garden;
removed the roof in what is now the beer garden to open up the space;
added pendant lights that hang from the cathedral ceiling, reminiscent of the molten metal that used to be poured inside the original factory; and
accented the lounge area with neon lights that shimmer through the glass block windows behind the bar.
And in repurposing more of the original building, the winch from the factory that was used to move metal onto the shop floor is still being used to load bags of malt into the new brewery.
When we visited, we saw the barrel wall on the side of the lounge being filled out with the wine and bourbon barrels that are used to age some of Trace’s products for anywhere from six months to several years or more.
Dave tells us that the inside of the brewpub can be curtained off to allow for separate events or to provide more privacy, or opened up to incorporate the beer garden.A fireplace inside the brewpub will provide some cozy ambiance, with multi-level seating in the beer garden providing even more flexibility for patrons and events.
The bar at Trace is outfitted with over a dozen taps, some of which are fed directly from Trace’s serving tanks, providing the freshest products possible.