Palm Springs Is Having a Brewery Renaissance

The desert valley is perhaps better known for musical festivals and pool-bedecked getaways, but don’t count out its burgeoning beer scene.

Photo courtesy Las Palmas

The Coachella Valley—also known as Greater Palm Springs—is recognized for its desert resort cities, mid-century modern architecture, golf courses, and one of the largest music festivals in the country. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

But amid the obvious reasons to visit this SoCal valley in the Colorado Desert, you’ll discover a reason that’s perhaps less obvious (but equally enticing): a burgeoning beer scene. The first brewery opened in 2002 and the region is now home to more than a half dozen brewing companies—each with their own unique flair.

Here’s where to find the best beer in the Coachella Valley.

Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse

Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse isn’t just known for its family recipes and St. Louis-style smoked ribs, the Rancho Mirage barbecue joint, which opened in 2002, is also the oldest brewery in the Coachella Valley.

“We have a long beer catalog to look back at for inspiration,” says brewer Juan Higuera. There are staples like a Vienna-style Mexican lager and a hazy IPA, as well as seasonal offerings. “We have a pumpkin beer in the works for fall as well as some stouts, but what we’re really excited about is the Golden Milk Stout my co-brewer Rydelle Hall is working on.”

While it can be fun to sip seasonal specials, those looking to taste a signature brew should opt for Babe’s Honey Blonde. The brewery’s best-seller has been around since Babe’s inception – a smooth, light-bodied beer that’s faintly sweetened with local orange blossom honey.

La Quinta Brewing Co.

In 2013, desert native Scott Stokes turned his homebrewing hobby into a business and opened La Quinta Brewing Co. The brewery is known for both its classic and easy-to-drink styles, and their beer appears in over 170 bars and restaurants across the Coachella Valley.

Head brewer Ryan Blondell has been brewing since 2006 and joined La Quinta Brewing Co. in 2017, when he started cleaning kegs and then eventually worked his way up to the brew deck.

“I would say that we stay true to classic styles and classic methods all while incorporating new innovations in yeast and trending styles,” says Blondell. “For instance, our Poolside Blonde and our Even Par IPA are very true-to-style and easy drinking—they’re made with Cal ale yeast and are very popular from the pool to the golf course.”

But La Quinta gets innovative in other ways, too. “On the other hand, we have our seltzer that is using a new strain of yeast specifically for seltzers and our lager yeast is a high-pressure yeast that allows us to finish the beer faster,” Blondell explains. “Long story short: I feel our uniqueness is our blend of old-school and new-school brewing practices.”

La Quinta Brewing Co.’s most popular beer is the Even Par 7.2 IPA, an India Pale Ale brewed with Simcoe, Citra and Mosaic hops, resulting in a super floral and fruity flavor.

“As for the fall and winter, we’ll be brewing some darker beer to pair well with those chilly desert nights,” says Blondell.

Photo courtesy Las Palmas

Las Palmas

This cozy brewery off Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs specializes in unfiltered IPAs, farmhouse ales, and traditional European-style lagers. Co-owner and brewer Sam Gill, who’s been brewing for a decade, says that the brewery’s beer is influenced by the wine they serve (Las Palmas is also known for their thoughtful selection of natural wines).

“Our beer is fermented at ambient temperatures, unfiltered, and served super fresh. It’s a bit more raw than the typical beer,” says Gill.

Beers rotate seasonally and the best-seller is Fifty Four, a fruity and tropical French Saison hopped with Wakatu.

Las Palmas celebrated their third anniversary in October. “Time flies,” says Gill. “I’m looking forward to some cooler weather and some unfiltered IPAs. It’s a bit of a challenge for us to churn out our IPAs in the summer, so I’m excited to give people what they want.”

And as cooler temperatures roll into the desert, so do the tourists.

“We’re stoked for the season to get rolling. It’s always awesome to see our little city and the whole Valley come to life. It’s pretty cool sharing our beer and space with people from all over the world.”

Desert Beer Co.

Desert Beer Co. owner Devon Sanchez started homebrewing in 2008 while attending college at the University of California, San Diego—his roommate worked for Ballast Point Home Brew Mart and taught Sanchez the basics of the craft. What started as a hobby snowballed into a full-blown obsession. He opened Desert Beer Co. in the summer of 2019.

On any given day, the cozy Palm Desert brewery is filled with regulars. They also host live music acts and pop-up food vendors from across the Coachella Valley. As for the beer, they keep that local, too.

“We focus on local style and flavor,” says Sanchez. “Southwest and Mexican influences are our main focus for many of our brews, especially for our seasonal and flagship beers.”

The brewery’s most popular beer is their Pepino Con Chile Cream Ale. “We make this beer with about 20% corn in the mash and finish it with fresh cucumber juice, along with three different peppers: anaheim, serrano, and habanero. It’s regularly on draft and very popular to have in our house-made Chavelas.”

Coachella Valley Brewing Co.

Coachella Valley Brewing Co., which debuted back in 2013, uses the surrounding desert landscape as the inspiration behind the beer they brew. The Thousand Palms brewery supports local farms by sourcing and incorporating local citrus, honey, herbs, and spices into their beers.

While they offer staples like the Coachella Blonde and Rage Coach (a light American lager), they’re not afraid to get innovative. Take the Cuddles, a maple barrel-aged Russian imperial stout with pecans, or the Marry & Bury, a bourbon barrel-aged Russian imperial stout with marionberries—both coming in at a whopping 14.1% ABV.

The beer alone makes this Thousand Palms brewery worth a visit, but Coachella Valley Brewing is also known for its taproom events. Weekly festivities include live music, comedy night, trivia, and special discounts for brewery members and those who work in hospitality industry. And those who’d rather imbibe at home can take their beer to go in 32-ounce and 64-ounce growlers, 16-ounce cans, or 22-ounce specialty bottles.

Honorable mentions

Taproom 29
Beer is front-and-center at this restaurant located inside Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella. Taproom 29, which opened in December 2020 boasts 29 taps dispensing house-made and guest brews.

Luchador Brewing
This Chino Hills brewery recently opened a location in Cathedral City and the response has been positive—during a recent visit, Luchador Brewing was busy. Head brewer Paul Marquez is behind the beers here.

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Catherine Downes is a writer, editor, and sandwich enthusiast. Her work has been published by Texas Monthly, Shondaland, Palm Springs Life, and more. She currently resides in Palm Springs, California with her two dogs.