bad astronaut, good beer
New Houston brewery opens massive new space with easy-drinking beers and game-stocked taproom
One of Houston’s newest breweries is now open to the public. Bad Astronaut Brewing Company began a soft opening in December and has been open five days a week since mid-January.
Founded by Karbach veterans Chris Fall and Craig “Rocky” Keener, Bad Astronaut occupies a massive, 36,000-square-foot warehouse at 1519 Fulton St. in the Hardy Yards neighborhood north of downtown. All that space provides plenty plenty of room for brewing, along with a taproom that’s stocked with games such as pool, shuffleboard, foosball, and air hockey.
“I always wanted to do my own thing. It’s kind of every brewer’s dream,” Keener tells CultureMap. “It’s just nice to be able to bring your own creativity without any kind of guidelines from a company telling you what to do.”
For Keener, whose roles at Karbach included overseeing the brewery’s cellar program and leading the team that developed recipes for new beers, doing his own thing includes creating Bad Astronaut’s four core beers — Cloud Punch, a German pilsner; Phaser Fight, an IPA; Cruis’n Through, a helles lager; and Fake Landiing, a hazy IPA — that are available both at the brewery and are being distributed throughout the Houston area. Overall, Bad Astronaut wants its beers to be balanced and easy to drink.
“I’m not doing anything revolutionary,” Keener says. “I try to make beers people can drink six of.”
Taproom exclusives include Monster Beast Theater, a cookie ale that’s inspired by Girl Scout favorite Caramel deLites. As a brewpub, Bad Astronaut is also able to pour beers from other breweries such as Equal Parts, City Orchard, and Eureka Heights.
Whether visitors are indulging in six beers at a time or just one or two, Bad Astronaut offers a pleasant environment to spend time. In addition to the games, the brewery has enough TVs to follow along with the day’s sports. Its proximity to Minute Maid Park should make it an appealing pre or post-game destination for Astros fans.
So far, food has consisted of trucks or pizza pop-ups, but marketing director Zach Davis says they’re planning to focus more directly on pizza over the next few months.
The brewery has also been drawing crowds for events like a Hip Hop Vintage Flea Market, comedy shows, and art markets. On Sunday, February 19, it will host a punk rock garage sale from 1-5 pm.
“We’re meeting a lot of our target numbers. Everyone is having a great time,” Davis says. “We’re working out the kinks. It’s been rocking and rolling over here.”