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Updated: Sep 30, 2022

Kern River Brewing Co Kernville California Lunch Before Camping With Friends In Sequoia National Forest With In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog Thirsty Thursdays

Kern River Brewing Co.

A not-so-small brewery is hiding in the small mountain town of Kernville, CA, stationed alongside the beautiful Kern River with views of the mountains, fresh air, great food, and some delicious beers.


Where is it?

Kern River Brewing Company is located at 13415 Sierra Way in the small town of Kernville, California, which is actually inside the Sequoia National Forest. The Kern River runs straight through the middle of town and although you can’t see it from the brewery despite its close proximity, there are still some great mountain views!

There are actually two locations side-by-side: the Original Pub (which we visited) and the Backyard Pub (which we haven’t been to yet). As their website says: “Two locations, one parking lot.” The two locations even have different menus!

How to Get There

Road trip! There is no public transportation that will take you to Kernville, so you’ll need to drive. As we don’t own a vehicle, we always rent from Turo for our weekend getaways.

Kernville is about 3 hours north of Los Angeles. Once you pass through Bakersfield, there’s a two-lane winding road that cuts through Kern Canyon that is one of the most breathtaking (and taking-of-breath) drives in California. It’s a 12-mile stretch that is the single greatest highlight of heading to Kernville from Los Angeles. Make sure to take it slow, if not for safety, then for the scenery!

Once you get into Kernville, the brewery is off of the main road cutting through town. There’s a big, metal vat in the front and a huge wooden sign across the front of the building, so it will be tough to miss.

IPA And Fruit Sour Beers At Kern River Brewing Company In Sequoia National Forest In Kernville California Review By In The Great Wide Los Angeles Travel Lifestyle Blog Thirsty Thursdays

Beer and Food Menu at Kern River Brewing Co.

All of the beers served here are made here. They have a tendency to go heaviest with their IPA selection, as the West Coast IPA craze is still going strong even outside of Los Angeles and San Diego. The Chuuurch! IPA was not crazy hoppy and went down rather smoothly. The Isabella Blonde (named after the local Lake Isabella) was extremely crisp and quite refreshing on the hot summer day that it was. The “Lovely” Raspberry Kettle Sour was fruity (but not sweet) and a beautiful color. They also make reds, porters, stouts, and lagers, with 17 beers on tap (as of this writing). You can find their current beer selection on their website before you go, because it changes frequently. And for those who prefer wine, they have a few basic options as well, just not made by them.

And this isn’t just a brewery; it’s also a restaurant, and we were surprised by how large the menu is for a small-town brewery. You’re not just going to get a pretzel and a burger here, although I had to try the burger, being a good Midwestern meat and potatoes man. But even so, they had 6 different burger options on the menu!

We would have come just for the kick-off camping beer before going to set up camp, but the food was incredibly delicious as well. We started with the Fried Pickles, which weren’t too oily and were quite tasty. We even had a friend with us who claimed he didn’t like fried pickles but kept going back for more! My burger was cooked to absolute perfection and came with incredibly crispy waffle fries. Phoebe had the fish tacos: cod battered in a beer-batter made with their own beer, which were succulent and juicy and also served with a side of waffle fries.

Keep in mind that the Original Pub and Backyard Pub actually have different menus, but you can view both on their website so you can pick which spot you want based on the selections. The Backyard Pub’s menu is more along the lines of a gastropub, with varieties of mac ‘n’ cheese, chili, and sandwiches to choose from. The Original Pub carries a wider variety menu with appetizers like cheese curds, spinach artichoke dip, and fried calamari, and entrees including sandwiches, tacos, burgers, wraps, fish and chips, and even daily specials Monday - Friday.

Another thing we love about Kern River Brewing Company is that they sell their beers in cans in some of the local Kernville markets, or you can buy growlers directly from the brewery to take with you camping. When you’re heading home and realize you forgot to grab a 4-pack of their Lhazy River hazy IPA, do not fret! They will ship cases of beer to you for a fee if you live in California.

As far as prices go, the staple beers such as the Isabella Blonde and the Lovely Fruited Kettle Sour range from $6.50-$8 for a pint, and some of the seasonal beers may go a bit higher, but not usually. You can expect to pay around $15 for an entree. They also offer beer flights, which Phoebe really wishes we would have known before we ordered our beers, but it wasn’t listed as an option on the beer menu, only the main food menu. If you want to try a variety of their beers (because, let’s face it, this spot is pretty out of the way for most of us), go for a beer flight!

Natural Wood Bar At Kern River Brewery In Kernville California Sequoia National Forest Review By In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog Thirsty Thursdays

Our Experience

We had driven by the Kern River Brewing Company a few times on our previous camping trips up to the Kern River, but on our most recent trip, we decided the brewery would be a great place to meet up for lunch with our friends that were joining us for camping just up the road at Camp Three Campground.

The Original Pub portion of the brewery is mainly indoor seating with a bar and several tables. It also has a wonderful covered patio deck on the side of the building that can fit 6 or so small parties with excellent views of the surrounding mountains. And since this is technically inside the Sequoia National Forest, the decor fittingly features natural wood everywhere. Everything is very rustic and feels like it was put together to appeal to the local tradesman, as opposed to attracting tourists, and it does seem to be a popular spot for the locals! It feels like a large cabin in the woods and even though I’m pretty sure we were the only people there from out-of-town, we felt very welcomed.

The staff was very kind and on top of things, despite the fact that nearly every table on the patio unexpectedly sat down at the same time for lunch on a Monday (including us). Our server handled particular requests quite well and didn’t get flustered with the sudden influx of guests or make us feel rushed. However, the chefs were changing a few ingredients on several menu items due to shipment issues, so that got a little confusing, even for our server. The only real issue came towards the end of our meal, when Phoebe wanted another beer but our server didn’t come back by for her to order one. That wasn’t too upsetting though, since we were on our way to set up camp up the road with a cooler full of beer.

Burger And Waffle Fries At Kern River Brewing Company Food In Kernville California Sequoia National Forest Brewery By In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog Thirsty Thursdays

Reservations at Kern River Brewery

Kern River Brewing Co. doesn’t take reservations, so feel free to stop by anytime for a full meal or just for a beer. They’re open 7 days a week!

Our Verdict

We love hitting up the local breweries wherever we go, and this is an excellent one, especially considering that it’s in a town of less than 1,000 people. Having lunch here will become a new tradition every time we’re passing through on our way to one of our favorite campgrounds in California that’s just 10 minutes up the road.

Mountain Views From Kern River Brewery In Kernville California Sequoia National Forest By In The Great Wide Los Angeles Travel Lifestyle Blog

Quick Reference Guide



How to Get There

A car is the only way to get to Kernville, but the scenic drive is SOOO worth it.

Time Commitment

You can be in and out in an hour, with the speed of service we received, but you’ll want to stay longer to gaze at the beautiful mountains and sample different beers. Make a leisurely meal out of this spot!

Menu Highlights

Isabella Blonde, Lovely Fruited Kettle Sour, plus a large IPA selection Try the fried pickles!


Beers are $6.50-$8 for a pint Entrees are mostly around $15

Reservation Info

They don’t take reservations. We went on a Monday for lunch and they were busy, but we got right in. We wouldn’t be surprised if the dinner times and weekends are packed. Our VerdictGreat beer, good food, and a fantastic mountain view! It’s now a mandatory stop when camping at the nearby Kern River.

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Adam Neubauer Travel Lifestyle and Food Blogger From Los Angeles for In The Great Wide


In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog Phoebe and Adam at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh, Scotland

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