Pittsburgh has many outdoor spots for day drinking, but if you’re hightailing it out of the city for a little R&R, why not kick back in a place that serves great beer? We’ve let you know about Butler County suds-makers, but if you’re looking to go a little further north, here are four breweries within a two-hour drive of Pittsburgh that are well worth the gas money.
Enjoy drinking in the Great Outdoors? Big Rail, a reference to a railroad component, is nestled in a 12-acre wooded area dubbed The Property. Sip a pint at a picnic table surrounded by old-growth forest, campfires, food vendors and live music.
There are typically six to 10 draft beers available from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday and from 1 to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. If it rains, they still pour.
The brews — all produced in nearby Volant — include NEIPAs, witbiers, porters, blondes, reds, stouts and farmhouse ales. The owners plan on opening an enclosed facility in the near future, but for now, the taproom is more like a campsite for beer-lovers.
Not all who wander are lost. Most of them are just looking for beer. And this brewery in Shippenville (northeast of Clarion) — a 90-minute drive — has tasty offerings on tap, plus wine and craft cocktails.
There is plenty of outdoor space where you can unwind with a beverage. Find a picnic table or bring folding chairs, blankets and lawn games from home. If you don’t want to rough it, hang out in the taproom. Food trucks provide the grub, but you’re welcome to order in or pack a lunch. Be warned — after spending the day here, you might not want to return to “civilization.”
This family farm in Venango (north of Grove City) — also a 90-minute drive — just happens to produce great unfiltered, keg-conditioned beers made from barley and hops grown on-site.
Belly up to the bar, which is located inside an old dairy barn, or retreat to the beer garden overlooking French Creek.
The pandemic pummeled folks in the hospitality industry, including the Spragues. Their brew business is open limited hours — check online for updated details — but 2021 might be their final year in operation. Show them some love by drinking their grain-to-glass libations.
OK, so a former Pizza Hut parking lot isn’t exactly a natural wonder, but there’s plenty of beer on-site each weekend along with outdoor activities to discover throughout the area. Conneaut Lake Park, one of the oldest amusement parks in the country, is just a few miles from the sudsy shipping container. Grab a draft (we recommend the Good Vibes West Coast IPA) or a hard seltzer and a bite to eat — or buy some to-go cans or growlers. Note: Voodoo presents a guided Beer Education & Tasting every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5 p.m.