Space City is getting an astronaut-themed brewery just north of Downtown this fall. Beer veterans Chris Fall and Craig “Rocky” Keener will launch Bad Astronaut Brewing Company in Hardy Yards neighborhood, transforming a 30,000-square-foot warehouse at 1519 Fulton Street into a tap room, an indoor beer garden, and a gaming area, with plenty of room for production.
The brewpub will focus on its four core beers, including its American IPA, a Hazy IPA, Munich Hells, and German Pilsner, which will also be available in a limited capacity throughout the Houston area. Wines, ciders, and additional styles of beers from other breweries will be available on its 30 taps, and games, including darts, pool, air hockey, shuffleboard, corn hole, and more will be free to the public, Keener says.
Keener says he and Fall came up with the concept for Bad Astronaut over beers, with hopes to have an astronaut or space theme. Their sarcasm about the concept of space travel and realization that expanding human life throughout the universe was a lot of work resulted in a fictional character that is now the face of their brand — a work-shy astronaut who loves the perks of their profession much more than the responsibilities of space travel.
“In reality, (they) just like to have fun,” Keener says of the brewery’s mascot. “(They’re) almost never in space,” and while avoiding work, the astronaut finds himself in many different scenarios.
In some ways, this bad astronaut is synonymous with brewing.
“Everyone enjoys the fun aspect of it,” Keener says. “Everybody wants to be a brewer until they realize it takes quite a bit of work.”
Keener says he and Fall began planning the brewery last year and signed a 10-year lease for a hardware production factory. Both had worked for Karbach Brewing Co. for several years, with Keener starting as a volunteer in 2011, before getting hired on in 2013.
Since then, he served in nearly every job in production, including brewing and selling — and most recently spent the last two-and-half years as Karbach’s innovation manager.
“I fell in love with the industry,” says Keener, and dreams of having his own brewery were born.
Houston is already a city brimming with breweries — with both Local Group Brewing and Saint Arnold Brewing Company, the oldest craft brewery in Texas, located within a mile of Bad Astronaut’s new home. But Keener considers the competition a great thing for the city.
“I embrace my brewing neighbors,” Keener says. “A good beer scene is important to the beer culture in the city, and I want more excellent beer. The more, the merrier.”