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 the Hardy Yards neighborhood, transforming a 30,000 square foot warehouse at 1519 Fulton Street into a faucet room, indoor beer garden and a playground, with plenty of room for production.
The brewery 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 limited capacity throughout the Houston area. Wines, ciders and other styles of beer from other breweries will be available on its 30 taps, and games including darts, billiards, air hockey, shuffleboard, corn hole and more . will be free to the public, Keener said.
Keener says he and Fall came up with the concept of Bad Astronaut over beers, hoping to have an astronaut or space theme. Their sarcasm about the concept of space travel and the realization that expanding human life across the universe was a lot of work resulted in a fictional character who is now the face of their brand – a shy astronaut at work who enjoys the perks of their profession much more. than the responsibilities of space travel.
“Really (they) just like to have fun,” Keener says of the brewery’s mascot. “(They’re) hardly ever 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 loves the fun aspect of it,” Keener says. “Everyone wants to be a brewer until they realize it takes a lot of work.”
Keener says he and Fall began planning the brewery last year and signed a 10-year lease for a hardware production facility. Both had worked for Karbach Brewing Co. for several years, with Keener starting as a volunteer in 2011, before being hired in 2013.
Since then he has held almost every production position, including brewing and sales – and recently spent the last two and a half years as Head of Innovation at Karbach.
“I fell in love with the industry,” says Keener, and the dream of having his own brewery was born.
Houston is already a city teeming with breweries – with both Local Group Brewing and Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Texas’ oldest craft brewery, located less than a mile from Bad Astronaut’s new home. But Keener sees the competition as a good thing for the city.
“I hug my brewing neighbors,” says Keener. “A good beer scene is important to the beer culture in the city, and I want more great beer. The more the merrier.”