I can’t rave about this place enough. The worst part is that I can’t even really proselytize it properly. The conversation typically goes like this.
Somebody: Where’s a good place to get beer around here?
Me: There’s this place by my house called Chuck’s. It’s kind of like a bottle shop, neighborhood bar, and convenience store all rolled into one. It’s the best place I’ve ever been to in my whole life. And I’ve been to Disneyworld.
Somebody: Did you say convenience store? That sounds interest—
Me: They have their own t-shirts. (shows t-shirt which I’m currently wearing)
Needless to say, it can be tricky to convince people unless they experience it for themselves. Chuck himself is a super-friendly Korean beer aficionado who seems genuinely excited to chat about beer whenever the opportunity arises. He knows more about beer distribution than anyone I’ve ever met.
The place itself is kind of industrial-looking. High ceilings with exposed pipes and duct work along with fluorescent lighting don’t exactly project “cozy”. But it doesn’t matter because there’s over a thousand bottles to choose from. That’s not a typo. I tried to capture the essence of Chuck’s inventory with my average intelligence phone.
Each one of those sleeves (as we call them in the convenience store biz) is a different beer. And you can crack open any one of those beers and drink it right there in the store. Granted, you have to pay an outrageous $2 “corking” fee for the privilege but it’s typically a non-issue because he’s also got 38 taps. Oh ,did I forget to mention the taps earlier? These are all hand-selected by Chuck himself. He focuses on local (Pacific NW) beers but has an insatiable craving for sour/wild ales that ensures there’s always a couple in rotation.
There’s a different food truck parked out in the parking lot every day if you get hungry. They also serve IPA brats (with a Field Roast option!), ice cream by the scoop, and a dish they call Crappy Chips and Salsa, which requires no further explanation. The kind of folks that tend to stick around for a few pints are mostly ultra locals within walking distance. Since the parking lot can only hold two or three cars, this makes sense. That said, beer geeks from far and wide come to visit Mecca and typically leave with a cardboard box or two filled with hard-to-find beers.
I could go on and on about the place so I will. Up by the “bar” (i.e., the back of the place) there is a tabletop video gaming device where you can play Pac-Man, Joust and about a dozen other games, emulator-style. At least I think you can play it. It’s turned on and appears operable, but I couldn’t get it to work last time. Occasionally Chuck will have some kind of theme to the tap list. DIPAs one month, pumpkin beers the next. I think imperial stouts are coming sometime soon. Even more rarely Chuck will have a private tasting of his own personal stock. These are typically pay-to-play affairs where Chuck will display his impressive array of some beer style and crack open a bunch of hard-to-find stuff for the attendees’ enjoyment.
Most recently (as in last week) Chuck’s is finally having a trivia night. It’s only once a month but the first-place team gets two growlers and gift certificates to fill them. Second place gets only one. We came in third and received nothing but the abject despair that can only come from failure. Vengeance will be mine.