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Small Town...Big Taste

Small Town...Big Taste

Craft Beer is made in small quantities

Small Town...Big Taste


If you live in Pahrump, or you’re just visiting, and happen to like beer, be sure to visit the small town of Tecopa, CA, only 38 miles away.

What’s so special about Tecopa?

This small town of about 150 people is the home to not just one, but two craft beer breweries. They’re only about a mile apart, and both offer excellent craft beer. Each has its own unique flavors, some of which are suggested by their patrons.

According to Jon Zellhoefer, owner of Death Valley Brewing (DVB for short), you can make beer out of just about anything, as long as your mixture contains the required 51% malted barley. For example, DVB has actually made date beer out of dates from nearby China Ranch Date Farm, also found in Tecopa.

Craft beer is made by the brewery owner/operator rather than a large corporation. It’s made in small batches at a time, and the breweries usually make two or three flavors at once. It is not pasteurized, nor is it filtered.

Both brewmasters enjoy experimenting with different flavors and test them on their customers to find the next favorite. Although they both offer craft beer, each brewery has its own style and amenities.

Death Valley Brewing

In 2014, DVB was the first Craft Beer Brewery to open in Tecopa. They are located at 102 Old Spanish Trail Highway which cuts through Tecopa. Jon and his wife Cheryl made use of the former Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad buildings to start their brewery. They initially set up shop in the T&T Railroad Tie House which is now the home to the Steaks and Beer House. When DVB outgrew the tie house, they moved to the original Snake Pit Station building which was also formerly owned by T&T Railroad Company.

The brewery and taproom are located in what used to be the general store of the old station house. They’ve recently opened up the original T&T Railroad bar now called Diamond Lil’s. Jon successfully acquired a hard liquor license and now serves cocktails in addition to the beer. This bar with its original furnishings is set up like a speakeasy. Local talent is allowed to perform in the stage area.

Soon, they plan to offer Donna Italia Pizza. In November 2018, Glee will be returning with her homemade tamales and salsa. Guests are also allowed to bring in food from the steakhouse next door.

Other amenities soon to be offered include the sale of bagged ice for the convenience of their customers and a disc golf course. Participants must bring their own discs to play the course which is laid out through the canyon. There is a $10 fee to play.

Growlers, which hold four glasses of beer, and the new mini growlers holding two glasses, are available for purchase as well. Newly designed glasses and Growlers celebrating their fifth season of business make great commemorative gifts for any beer lover. Growlers of beer are allowed on the disc golf course.

The most popular types of DVB craft beer which are usually on tap, are their IPA (India Pale Ale), Snakebite, and Celtic Kiss which is a coffee stout. They serve others on a rotating basis.

DVB is expanding their schedule this year and will now be open Wednesdays through Sundays. When you visit, be sure to ask them about their personal “Steer Steins” and the “Book of the Herd.”

Tecopa Brewing Company

When it opened in October 2017, Tecopa Brewing Company became the second craft beer brewery in town. Located in the Delights Hot Springs Resort at 368 Tecopa Hot Springs Road, this brewery is owned and operated by Westley and Courtney McNeal and their young daughter Mikayla...affectionately known as “Brew Baby.”

Also found at the resort is a restaurant, highly rated hot springs, a motel, trailer suites, refurbished cottages, and an RV park with both 30- and 50-amp power for those hot summer days.

If you’re a history buff, you’ll appreciate the office and main building of the resort which is the original 1800s schoolhouse moved from Death Valley to Tecopa when they built the individual cottages.

The hot springs at the resort are rated in the top three in the world for their mineral content and has the highest rating in the USA. Therefore, many people from around the world seek out these hot springs for their healing powers.

There are four hot springs bath houses with private showers and mineral pools. Guests staying at the resort have access to the bath houses. If you’re not staying at the resort, you may purchase day passes for use of the mineral pools.

You can also view the night sky from the stargazing patio. One of the hot springs bath houses has an open roof, allowing for gazing at the heavens. Tecopa is an astronomer’s paradise.

The food in the restaurant is all homemade, and they make their own sauces and rubs. While you’re there, try some of their world-famous Candied Bacon and Brisket. You’ll be glad you did.

Growlers are also available for $10. DVB and Tecopa Brewing Company honor each other’s growlers for refills. The top beers at Tecopa Brewery, according to their customer requests, are their IPA and the Stout which are always available. They also rotate other flavors requested by their customers. In addition to expanding their brewery hours to Thursdays through Mondays, Westley and Courtney have plans to expand their production. They have some space to grow where they are but will eventually need to build a new facility.

Competition is a good thing

Tecopa Brewery’s beers are more traditional in flavor while the DVB’s are fruitier. You can walk between the two breweries and make up your own mind which style you prefer. With entertainment and games at one and lodging and healing hot springs at the other, you can have a fun-filled weekend and not have to worry about driving home. 


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