Landers Brew Company – A convenient Joshua Tree craft beer detour
I can think of a few good reasons to head up Highway 62 and visit our high desert neighbors. There’s Joshua Tree, Pappy & Harriet’s, and plenty of cool little antique stores. And now we’ve just discovered a bar with a great selection of independent, craft beer on tap.
Landers Brew Company is something of a hidden gem. Other than a couple of handmade signs, or word of mouth, you wouldn’t know it was there. It’s only about a 15-minute detour from Yucca Valley. No great inconvenience if you happen to be in the area, and definitely worthwhile. Especially if you like craft beer. As we happened to be at Pappy & Harriet’s yesterday, we decided to take a long overdue look.
You exit the 62 and head north on the 247 for about 10 miles – the 247 will eventually take you behind Big Bear and up to Barstow. The last half a mile is an easy to handle dirt road. It brings you to an inconspicuous, old school saloon.
We got there early on Sunday, the first to arrive, although various tourists showed up in the hour or so we were there. It’s very homely inside with a variety of couches. We were even greeted by a couple of resident canines. The first thing you see when you walk in is a large chalkboard, listing all the beers on tap. Right of the entrance there’s pinball, a pool table, a juke box, a stage, then a door heading out to the patio and 3 large outdoor stages. To the left, there’s a long horseshoe bar, looking onto a wall of beer tap handles.
We nestled up to the bar and ordered a couple of Landers Brew beers. The beers are brewed for them by Hangar 24, and while I’m not usually a fan of contract brews, we knew we’d be getting good beers from this Redlands local. Indeed, the IPA, Double IPA, Chocolate Porter, and Blonde were all top notch.
There are 24 taps in all. All are independent, with the exception of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Over half the selection came from Coachella Valley Brewing, La Quinta Brewing, and Hangar 24 (including the Landers beers). Others included Chihuahua, Karl Strauss, and Coronado. All beers were priced between $6 and $8, with the PBR obviously filling a niche at $3. They had a few international brands priced cheaper in bottles, as well as a full bar and wine.
Their tap system is a cool set up, with a glass door leading into a walk-in cooler behind the tap handles. Very convenient. The bartender told us that while the bar had been there since 1948, it took on new ownership about 5 years ago. It was then that they installed the draft beer cooler and made the commitment to craft.
The afternoon was mellow, probably more so than usual given the previous night’s rain and mudded roads. They do get busy at night time, as they’re a popular live music venue.
All in all, I was really impressed with Landers Brew Co. It’s much more primitive than Pappy & Harriet’s or Joshua Tree Saloon, but it does have that cool, homely vibe. Their craft beer program is highly commendable, 23 out of 24 tap handles, and the majority being from the local area.
I would have liked to have seen a couple more breweries added for variety, especially given the availability around Redlands and Riverside, and I’d have probably tried to incorporate some more alternative styles into the mix. But otherwise there’s not much to complain about. My only complaint is that more prosperous locations in our lower Coachella Valley aren’t doing the same. Seriously. I could only name 2, possibly 3, bars in the Coachella Valley with as good a craft beer program, and none that feature as many beers from the Coachella Valley itself.
I’d definitely recommend giving Landers Brew Company a try. As mentioned, it’s very convenient if you’re up in Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, or 29 Palms. If you go, you should also check out Sam’s Market in Joshua Tree – another gem. It’s a regular liquor/convenience store, that just happens to have a walk in cooler packed with fantastic local craft beer.
Landers Brew Company
Check their Facebook page for hours
1388 Golden Slipper Ln, Landers, CA 92285