By Jess Winans | Uptown Brews
Local brew spot closes
North Park’s ChuckAlek Biergarten is closing its tab.
Grant Fraley and Marta Jankowska co-founded Ramona-based brewery ChuckAlek — in honor of their grandfathers Chuck and Alek — six years ago. In April 2016, they decided to expand and opened the Uptown biergarten, located on 3139 University Ave.
Before ChuckAlek, Fraley traveled Europe and fell in love with its brews. After returning home, he developed a passion for recreating the flavors he tasted abroad and began home brewing. The couple decided to turn Fraley’s passion into a business after realizing the demand for IPA and craft brew markets in San Diego.
Each beer has a historical significance specific to the couple. For example, the 1850 Runner was named after Fraley’s ancestor Stephan Fraley, who was ambushed and attacked by men during the Civil War. He escaped the men by running home and hiding under his wife’s large hoop dress.
“The very nature of brewing beer is a meditative labor that we thoroughly enjoy from the milling of malted grain, to the smell of the mash and the rolling boil, to drinking and sharing the final project post fermentation,” the couple shares on their website. “Our customers join our family each day as we share stories through and over our craft beer.”
The decision to close their Ramona brewery and North Park biergarten coincided with their decision to move out of state. While the Ramona brewery was officially closed with a goodbye hurrah on July 29, the biergarten remains open until Sept. 2 and is going out with quite the musical bang — hosting local groups like Coral Bells on Aug. 10 and Koda Sounds on Aug 17.
“Well gang, it’s been a roller coaster of emotions, but the ChuckAlek team has had to make the difficult decision to close down the brewery over the next two months,” Fraley, Jankowska, and Head of Operations Sam Olson wrote in an email newsletter. “We have loved being part of the San Diego craft beer community and will cherish the friends and memories we have made over the past 6 years.”
[Editor’s note: San Diego Uptown News reached out to ChuckAlek for comment prior to publication but did not receive a response by deadline.]
—Reach Jess Winans at email@example.com.