Down in Columbia’s blossoming Arts District, something truly special is brewing. Zac and Kassi Fox, along with partners Karen and Todd Rode are serving up unique, handcrafted beer offerings at their Bad Idea Brewing Company located in the Columbia Arts Building. While the location has been operating since last September, Zac Fox was in the beer making business long before that.
“I started the same way many brewers did- with a little home kit” said Fox. “I fell in love with Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch 13 years ago and have been hooked since. I developed a passion for making cool and unique flavor combos and seeing what pairs with what. Before long, I was going to learn as much as I could about the craft.”
So Fox did his homework. He went to breweries and asked questions, learned as much as he could and honed his craft. The next few years would see Fox become a member of the Master Brewer Association of America and also win the 2016 Tennessee Home Brew Exhibition People’s Choice Award. But still, Bad Idea was looking for its home.
“I stepped into the Arts Building just looking to buy some donuts” said Fox. “I ended up discussing my passion to make beer with the building owner and we went to work designing a space.”
After initial gatherings with the local community, Fox knew that the space they had chosen was not going to work.
“Our plan had us looking for a space to hold about 20 bar guests at a time” Fox said. “That first turnout was closer to 75 and we knew then we would need something larger. Lucky for us, the same donut shop that had lured me in to start was moving to a new location and we wound up with the perfect spot.”
With the larger space, Bad Idea was able to house larger equipment including four large fermentation tanks. The equipment meant that the brewery could produce more product and of more variety than previously thought, which for Fox meant more flavors to experiment with.
“Beer is an art” said Fox. “Much like in cooking, we can combine flavors that pair together for a new experience. We can play on the seasons- on what feels right for the time of year. That’s what being crafted in Columbia means. From grain to glass, we get to make a product that speaks to people.”
While Fox may be willing to bend the rules when it comes to flavor combinations, his standards for their products are firm.
“If we aren’t satisfied with the final product, we aren’t putting it on tap” said Fox. “I don’t care if we have been working a batch for six months. If the end result doesn’t measure up, we will start over.”
This high standard has yielded some impressive results. The products they put out have great depth and offer unique flavors not found in the cliche watering holes. But, the brewery’s tap wall consists of only eight pours. This means that even popular brews will eventually be phased out to make way for new recipes. Which in itself is a reason to keep coming back. You never know what’s next and you never know how long it will last.
“That’s the beauty of it” said Fox. “The tap wall is constantly changing. To create someones new favorite beer, to come up with new, interesting flavors… well that is the whole idea of Bad Idea.”
To keep up with Bad Idea Brewery Company and stay on top of what brews they currently have, click here.
Bad Idea also partners with local food trucks every Friday and Saturday. Check out their food venders list here.