It’s been nearly two years since a new brewery has opened in Southern Nevada, but that is about to change. The retro-sci-fi-themed Astronomy Aleworks has just received its brewing equipment and began construction February 12, with its opening slated for late March to early April. It will be equipped with a 10-barrel Premier Stainless Steel brewing system. Its location at 7350 Eastgate Road in Henderson’s Booze District will add more credence to the unofficial name of the industrial center, as it will bring the total of breweries to three, joining CraftHaus and Bad Beat, and the Las Vegas Distillery and Grape Expectations winery/wine school.
The project has been in the works for more than two years. The first location looked at by owners Raymond and Matthew Brady was near Sahara Avenue and Valley View Road, but as the brewery licensing requirements for unincorporated Clark County are more stringent and costly, the father and son opted to head to Henderson, where the brewery licensing is much more business-friendly. That is thanks in large part to Dave and Wyndee Forrest, owners of the neighboring CraftHaus Brewery, who successfully lobbied to get licensing laws changed before opening their own brewery a few doors down in 2014.
Matthew asserts that the local brewpubs are not competing with each other, but rather with mega beer companies such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. “Any craft brewery puts more asses in the seats for other craft breweries,” he says, adding that brewers from other local breweries, including nearby Lovelady Brewing, have been very helpful and, in fact, CraftHaus, which has the same Premier brewing apparatus, has offered to help show them the ropes of operating it once it’s installed and operational.
Matthew Brady and Allan Harrison will team up to create the brews. Both have extensive home-brewing experience and Matthew says one of the reasons he hired Harrison was for his eclectic and creative repertoire. Harrison has a slew of awards under his belt, with 32 home-brewing competition awards, including first place in a competition sponsored by Banger Brewing for his Milk Chocolate Baltic Porter, which he hopes to re-create at Astronomy Aleworks. The duo plan to brew a gruit (an ancient beer containing herbs and spices for bittering rather than hops), which they claim will be the first to be brewed in Southern Nevada, and which will contain honey, chamomile, lemongrass, coriander and jasmine flowers. Also in the works is an 11 percent ABV Belgian-style quadrupel with figs, raisins, blackberries, blood orange, ginger, currants and spices. While there will be several seasonal releases pouring from the taproom’s 15 taps, its five core beers will be a blonde ale, an American hefeweizen, a red ale, an IPA and a stout.
As for the celestial theme, Matthew emphasizes that he has been interested in science fiction, astronomy and astrophysics since his elementary school days, and he leans more toward plausible science fiction (more Star Trek than Star Wars). The new brewery will be dedicated to beer science, and the tasting room will be bedecked with a bright red bar, blue tables and a silver wall to suggest the image of a spacecraft and a retro 1960s feel. We can also expect all of the beer names to be astronomy-related, named for stellar objects such as constellations, planets, comets and satellites.