USA, TX: Bad Astronaut Brewing to open in Houston in mid-December
The latest brewery to open in Houston amid a flurry of activity is weeks away from welcoming beer lovers through its doors. Bad Astronaut Brewing will open in mid-December in Near Northside, the Chron reported on November 28.
Co-founders Chris Fall and Rocky Keener were both some of the earliest employees at Karbach Brewing, a pioneering brewery in Houston that sold to beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2016. After 11 and 9 years at the company, respectively, they are pursuing a longtime dream of theirs to open their own brewery, with partner Josh Teekell.
Bad Astronaut has been in the works for about two years, and the team began construction this past July. It's located in a massive 36,000-square-foot warehouse originally built in 1932. From the 1970s until the mid-2000s, it was home to the Texas Screw Factory, manufacturing screws for oil wells and other such hardware. The company moved and used the space for storage until Bad Astronaut signed a 10-year lease in 2022.
Fall says he and Keener learned a lot about consistency and quality control at Karbach. They aim to instill this at Bad Astronaut, as well as bring creativity to the table by putting experimental brews on tap and seeing how customers react before producing a full batch.
Led by Keener, who is the brewmaster, Bad Astronaut is launching with four core beers: Cruis'n Through German Helles, Cloud Punch German Pilsner, Phaser Fight IPA and Fake Landing Hazy IPA. The brewery is also making seasonals such as the Schwifty Session Ale with peach and apricot; the Monster Beast Theater, a cookie ale modeled after the Caramel deLite Girl Scout cookie; and the Parade Crasher Fest Bier, their version of an Oktoberfest. The brewery will have 30 taps total, including guest taps with other breweries' beers, beer cocktails, and wine.
As for the name Bad Astronaut, the backstory involves beer, of course. "Rocky and I were drinking one night, and started talking about what Houston loves the most," Fall said, citing the Astros and astronauts. After an undisclosed number of beers, they came up with an "anti-hero astronaut" character, who went through all the training but, when it was time to go to space, decided he didn't really feel like going after all. "We're not trying to be too serious here," Fall added as a way of explanation.
All of the cans' labels depict this bad astronaut doing high jinks, such as him being chased on a volcano by someone in a DeLorean, or him escaping NASA training to try to go to space before he's supposed to. The cans, as well as the large wall wrap inside the taproom, were designed by the Stout Collective agency out of Chicago. Local artist Nicky Davis painted a mural in another corner, and is hosting a mural festival on Dec. 3 called Spray City Walls, where other artists will join in decorating the brewery.
The cavernous taproom has tables and high-tops peppered across the space, as well as free-play games like cornhole, foosball and pool. Behind the wrapped wall is an equally giant event space where a 1954 Spartan Royal Mansion RV is currently sitting, ready to be renovated into a bar for private occasions.
Bad Astronaut is waiting on final permits to fully open its doors, but the brewery has been distributing since September. You can find them at dozens of H-E-Bs, Krogers and bars around Houston, such as Flying Saucer, Hughie's and Star Sailor.
This area of Houston has become more of a destination for breweries recently. For a while, it was just Saint Arnold, who moved its facility here in 2009, but in the last three years, four new breweries have opened. First there was Local Group in February 2020, which is now under new ownership and called Gristworkz. Frost Town opened in north downtown, on the other side of I-10, in June 2022, followed by Black Page near White Oak Music Hall in September, and now Bad Astronaut, any day now.
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