AUSTIN (KXAN) — Starbase Brewing in southeast Austin has a unique goal: be the first brewery on Mars. Owner Nate Argroves opened the brewery in May. “I’ve always been a big space fan, and a big beer fan. That’s kind of like my, my two big hobbies,” Argroves said.

Two men stand in a brewery. Beer and space paraphernalia
Nate Argroves and David Manley run Starbase Brewing in Austin. They want to open the first brewery on Mars. (Courtesy: Eric Henrikson/KXAN News)

Argroves has three goals for the brewery:

  • Be the first on mars
  • Raise awareness for space exploration
  • Create a gathering spot for space nerds

Why brew beer on Mars? Entertainment, of course. “We need things that will occupy our time when we’re on Mars,” Argroves said. “I think beer is a pretty obvious thing that people will want to drink there, and we’ll need to make it there.”

Everything in the brewery is space themed. The beers are named after various aspects of space travel: Star Hopped, Moonbase Alpha, Dust Devil, Blue Planet. Head Brewer David Manley even wears a “space suit” while brewing the beer.

The swag is adorned with their logo. A 3D printer in the back of the brewery makes toy rockets around the clock. Posters promoting space tourism adorn the walls, with destinations like Jupiter, Venus and of course Mars.

Brewing beer on Mars

Argroves said there are a few challenges they’ll face if they somehow get to be the first brewery on Mars. Most of the issues surround growing hops and other plants. Argroves said that Martian soil and water are not suitable for farming, so humans will have to turn to different technology.

A toy rocket and beer sit on a counter
The beer and swag are space themed at Starbase Brewery (Courtesy: Eric Henrikson/KXAN)

Starbase Brewing is testing out one of the technologies themselves: hydroponics. “We’re growing some peppers that we’re going to throw in a spicy beer,” Argroves said as we looked on a hydroponics garden tucked away in the back of the brewery.

Outside of the farming, Argroves said that brewing is essentially the same. “You just need big steel tanks, and you need yeast.” Mars’ atmosphere won’t likely influence the beer, because the tanks have to be airtight. “As long as humans can live in it, we can brew beer in it.”

Brewing beer in space is challenging because the bubbles in carbonated drinks aren’t buoyant in a weightless environment, turning the beverage into a foamy mess.

Why should we care about beer on Mars

Argroves admits that being the first brewery on Mars is a bit of a marketing gimmick, but it is also his passion. “We’re really excited about the future of the space industry in Texas. And we want to celebrate that and be a place where people can come and learn about space.”

NASA plans to colonize Mars starting in the 2030’s. They’re launching the first of several missions to the Moon later this decade that will serve as a launching off point for our journey to the red planet. NASA has not yet announced a head brewer for the trip.