Editor’s Note: Trace Brewing is now open for carryout beer in cans. They plan to add draft beer, a coffee bar, a beer garden and more in 2021.
After opening for carryout on Thursday, Dec 17, Pittsburgh’s expansive craft beer scene has welcomed Trace Brewing to the Bloomfield neighborhood. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the brewery is not open for on-site draft beer service or coffee. All sales are carryout only for the moment.
Located at 4312 Main St. – at the head of the Bloomfield Bridge and directly behind Liberty Beer – Trace occupies what was formerly The Shop, a local concert and event space.
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Brewery – Coffee Bar – Beer Garden
Although focused on beer, Trace Brewing will also include a full-service coffee and espresso bar along with an outdoor beer garden.
Beer enthusiasts will be excited to learn that Trace will also feature a koelschip brewing system for wild ales. Additionally, the brewery is launching a paid apprenticeship program to help underrepresented candidates gain access to jobs in the brewing industry.
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We talked to Dave Kushner, founder of Trace Brewing to find out more about his vision for the brewery. According to Kushner, the name Trace is inspired by the abstract passage of time.
“There are traces of things all around us and what makes us who we are. We like the name Trace and encourage our guests to interpret that however they like.”
Trace plans to offer a very wide variety of beer styles. “We’re building a community-centric taproom so our goal is when you get to Trace – whether you drink pilsners, juicy IPAs, barrel-aged beers, funky sour beers – there will be a beer for you.”
“All of our (beer) styles will rotate and reflect the seasons.”
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The Coffee: Redhawk Lands in Bloomfield
Trace will serve coffee and espresso sourced from Pittsburgh-based Redhawk Coffee.
“We love that Redhawk is opening a roaster near our friends at Dancing Gnome and we’re excited to lean into another (local) craft maker. We are treating our coffee program the same as our beer program – there are lots of similarities but we’re most excited that the coffee bar allows folks to use our space any time of day.”
(Check out our story on the upcoming Redhawk location in Sharpsburg.)
The Beer Garden
Designed as a programmable and flexible space, Trace aims to offer a robust event schedule once it is safe for people to gather.
“Expect everything from stand-up comedy to live music to showing a Steelers game. Our outside space works well for dogs, families and children. We want everyone to feel comfortable in the space. Just come, sit and join us for a coffee or a beer.”
The Apprenticeship Program
Trace is planning to offer a six-month, paid vocational brewing program.
“The apprenticeship is open to any candidate that wants to start a career in the brewing world,” Kushner explains. “We want to eliminate the obstacles to getting in the door – so it’s a paid program and it’s six months long, which is typically the amount of time you need to get another job in the brewing industry. We’re focused on finding applicants that are women, people of color and members of our LGBTQ+ community – groups who are underrepresented in the beer industry.”
An Experienced Pittsburgh Team at Trace Brewing
The personnel on Kushner’s core team at Trace bring a combined 25 years of experience across 15 breweries, as well as food & beverage and events experience.
What Trace is calling ‘Head of Funk’ for their wild ale program will be spearheaded by head brewer Zach Colton, who was most recently brewing at Strange Roots Experimental Ales – another local brewery that features a Belgian-style koelschip vessel. In addition to Strange Roots, Colton has also brewed at Trillium (Boston, MA), Dancing Gnome (Pittsburgh) and Four Points (Charleroi); additionally, Colton interned internationally at Mikkeller Baghaven (Copenhagen, Denmark) and Cantillon (Brussels, Belgium).
General Manager Katie Rado – formerly of Spirit Lodge in Lawrenceville – adds to the Trace portfolio with her expertise in the events and restaurant space. Rado and her husband were also behind the Butcher on Butler concept in Lawrenceville, which closed in 2016.
Founder Dave Kushner – who is based in Lawrenceville – also founded Remnant Brewing when he lived in Boston. He honed his brewing skills at John Harvard’s – which used to operate a location in Monroeville – and went on to brew at Harpoon Brewery (Boston, MA) and Lord Hobo Brewing Company (Woburn, MA).
The Koelschip Brewing System
In addition to conventionally brewed beer, Trace will also brew on a koelschip system. Koelschip refers to a Belgian brewing vessel used to brew and blend beers that are wild, sour and “funky.” The actual koelschip equipment will live in its own room, attached to the beer garden, where guests can have a peek at the unique brewing method.
Another example of a locally-owned brewery with a koelschip system is Strange Roots Experimental Ales, which operates locations in Gibsonia and Millvale.
“We’re excited to have one of the only public-facing koelschip experiences around. Folks visiting will get to watch what we’re calling the ‘timestamp of our beer’ and then drink it in six months – or two years – whenever it’s ready.”
What Else is Nearby?
Trace is located directly across the street from Cobra and directly behind beer distributor Liberty Beer. A couple of doors down from Trace is Twisters Ice Cream – a Bloomfield staple – as well as 4121 Main, Brillobox, Tina’s and Constellation Coffee.
Know Before You Go: Trace Brewing
Location: 4312 Main St. // Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Opening Date: Trace officially opened for carryout sales on Dec 17, 2020. Be on the lookout for grand opening specifics in 2021, including on-site hours of operation and any procedures related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Parking: Although Trace will not maintain a dedicated parking lot, street parking is available along Liberty Avenue and along Main Street, along with Howley Street and adjacent Bloomfield streets.
Public Transit: For folks riding the bus, several transit lines drop off within a short walk of Trace, including the 86, the 87, the 88, the 93 and the 54.
Follow Trace Brewing on Social Media
Facebook: Trace Brewing Facebook page
Instagram: Trace Brewing Instagram
Meet another business that calls Bloomfield home
Located a few blocks away from Trace Brewing is Sapling Press. Lisa Krowinski leads a team of professionals in the business of letterpress printing. Greeting cards from Sapling Press can be found in gift shops across the country. Learn more about the print shop here.
📸 Header Image: A fireplace inside the taproom at Trace Brewing. Photo by Julie Kahlbaugh.