Photo courtesy of Recon Brewing

The leaves are changing; it’s the perfect time to take a road trip up I-79 North. Soak up the autumnal splendor and some tasty beverages along the way. Butler County is home to 11 breweries where you can grab a bite and raise a pint to Mother Nature. Document your hoppy journey by picking up a Butler County Beer Circuit Passport. Get a stamp at each spot and, once the card is filled, take it to the Tourism Bureau for a specialty mug and other goodies, which you can lovingly bestow on your designated driver.

Butler Brew Works, 101 S. Main Street, Butler

Kick off your journey by imbibing “adventurous ales” from Butler Brew Works. From farmhouse saisons and session IPAs to milk stouts and Irish reds, there’s a liquid on tap that will suit your palate. If you like what you taste, you’ll be happy to know Head Brewer Travis Tuttle is co-owner of Bonafide Beer Co., a brewery opening soon in the Strip District.

Photo courtesy of Recon Brewing.

Recon Brewing, 1747 North Main Street, Butler

Butler is the birthplace of the Bantam Reconnaissance Car, the first Jeep prototype. Recon celebrates this automotive wonder with beers that’ll rev your engine. There are nine brews on tap, including the flagship BRC, a crushable IPA. Want to give back while you fill up? Get a pour from the Karma Tap, a beverage benefiting a different local charity each quarter. By the end of the year, the business will open a second location in Cranberry Township. Recon at Meeder, situated in a new Charter Homes community, will be a 3,000-square-foot restaurant and taproom overlooking a three-acre green space.

Reclamation Brewing Company, 221 S. Main Street, Butler

The folks behind Reclamation Brewing Company don’t care for the term beer snob, but they’re happy to make brews that appeal to that demographic. Jump on the Bandwagon Blonde with coffee beans and cacao nibs or opt for the Everyman’s Red Ale and take some Instagram-worthy photos before you sip.

North Country Brewing Co., 141 S. Main Street, Slippery Rock

North Country beers come with a shot of history. The Main Street building was erected in 1805 as an inn, tavern, cabinet shop, coffin factory and mortuary. The brewery, which opened in the renovated space in 2005, still holds the quirky charm of its bygone days, including the original door to the morgue. Order a Late Night Pumpkin Ale if you want to get extra spooky.

Cellar Works Brewing, 110 South Pike Rd., Sarver

This small brewery produces big, flavorful beers made with locally sourced ingredients. The fruit whip series — Cherry Pie, Tropicale Fruit and Dark Berry — will please fans of smoothie-style sours. Like a more traditional pour? Fill your glass with Pub Ale, an easy-drinking session beer that’s low on hops and high on malty goodness.

Missing Links Brewery, 891 Evans City Rd., Renfrew

The guys at Missing Links are more refined than the brewery’s name would lead you to believe. They’re whipping up diverse beverages, including ciders, extra-strong bitters, nitro coffee stouts, IPAs and hefeweizens. And you don’t have to be a Neanderthal to enjoy the Caveman Porter.

Burgh’ers Brewing, 215 W. New Castle Street, Zelienople

Burgh’ers specializes in burgers, of course, but their beer draws carnivores and veg-heads alike. The company, which also has a location on Butler Street in Lawrenceville, just started canning their suds and will soon open a 10,000-square-foot restaurant and brewery.

ShuBrew, 210 S. Main Street, Zelienople

ShuBrew’s production facility in Harmony is temporarily closed to the public, but you can visit its newly rebranded sister restaurant General Shu’s for Chinese food and beer. The business is known for its quirky cans and to-die-for stouts such as the Shunami Peanut Butter Cup, a dessert in a glass.

Photo courtesy of Union Brothers Brewing.

Union Brothers Brewing Harmony, 365 Mercer Rd., Harmony

Founded by a union electrician and a union boilermaker, this brewery officially opened its doors during the pandemic and the bros never looked back. They’re busy making well-balanced lagers and ales and more experimental styles, including the Sauced Raspberry Cheesecake fruited sour.

On The Point Brewing, 1328 Mars-Evans City Road, Evans City

Have a doggone good time (and a good beer) at On The Point Brewing. The pup-friendly establishment has an array of beverages that’ll be your new best friend, including Bloodhound Pale Ale, Irish Setter Red and Pointer Porter. Even non-beer drinkers will sit and stay for a Dog Paw hard seltzer. There are plenty of local restaurants nearby that’ll fetch you some grub to go with your drinks.

Dented Keg Brewing Company, 700 Adams Shoppes, Mars

Beer drinkers have definitely drained a lot of kegs since this brewery opened its doors in 2019, but Dented Keg caters to all imbibers. In addition to beer, the company serves house ciders and craft cocktails, as well as an array of locally produced wines.

Photo courtesy of Stick City Brewing Company.

Stick City Brewing Company, 109 Irvine Street, Mars

The people who own Stick City Brewing love the great outdoors. When they’re not brewing beer, you’ll find them volunteering at area parks. Their passion for nature is evident in the taproom décor (think upscale log cabin), label designs (lots of trees) and commitment to giving 1 percent of gross sales directly to environmental nonprofits. A rotating lineup of food trucks take turns on-site during operating hours to help you “stick” to Covid guidelines while visiting.

Kristy Locklin

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.