After an inspiring trip throughout Europe, Grant Fraley started homebrewing to recreate his favorite flavors from abroad. He was amazed at how easy it was for him to create high quality beers and realized there was a market opportunity in West Coast IPA-heavy San Diego for the unique old-world styles that he and his business partner, Marta Jankowska, favored.
They named the brewery after their grandfathers, Chuck and Alek who bring to mind a sense of nostalgia, family, and community. During its first six months in business, ChuckAlek sold its brews solely from its own tasting rooms, but when Grant and Marta decided they were ready to expand, it was challenging to find a bank that would support them in growing their small business.
They used that first loan to purchase a couple of dozen kegs and hire a part-time sales representative to go out and land initial accounts. Several years later, the pair took on a second loan to build out a tasting room. Today they have a second location with a Biergarten where they serve German-style Lagers, original-era Porters and Stouts, and funky Sours, offering old beer brewed in new ways.
Chuck Alek participated in our Brewing and Business Experienceship Program, during which we brewed Time Hop Porter, a unique porter brewed with a blend of malts to create a roasted flavor that is complemented by the citrus notes and pine character of the hops blend, and a delicate bitter finish.