Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Brewing & Business Experienceship: A Q&A with ChuckAlek Independent Brewers

As part of the Brewing the American Dream program, craft brewers nationwide have the opportunity to apply for the Samuel Adams Brewing & Business Experienceship. Through the Experienceship, each year one craft brewer is selected and provided the opportunity to experience extended coaching and mentoring from the Samuel Adams team, access to beer industry events, and the opportunity to brew a collaboration beer with us at the Boston Brewery.

2014 Samuel Adams Longshot American Home Brew Contest

This year’s Experienceship winner is founder and head brewer Grant Fraley and co-founder and CEO Marta Jankowska of ChuckAlek Independent Brewers. ChuckAlek Independent Brewers opened its doors in January of 2013 in Ramona, CA. Named after their grandfathers, Chuck and Alek, the brewery pulls some of the past into the present by creating “Old School Beers for New School Palates,” with a particular focus on porters and stouts. We had a chance to chat with them about how they got into the craft beer industry, what they’re currently brewing, and how Brewing the American Dream has had an impact on their brewery.

Q: How did you get into brewing?

A (Grant): I got started brewing at home several years ago when I first moved to San Diego.  I got interested in doing more European and classic styles while pursuing my master’s degree in Geographic Information Science over in Germany and Austria.

Q: When did you make the jump into starting your own brewery?

A (Grant):  Marta and I were really interested in exploring different styles of beer that weren’t readily available in San Diego. You can get triple IPAs, double IPAs, black IPAs – they’re all so prevalent. We were brewing a lot of British and German styles at home and we were like hey – this isn’t really being done, so there was a good opportunity to bring underrepresented styles to San Diego craft beer drinkers. We opened ChuckAlek Independent Brewers with help from friends and family, but most of it we built out on our own, including the brew house.

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