Also available in Monday Magazine, originally posted on August 27th, 2020.
Remember September? Kids in school, holidays winding up, and everyone back to work. Well, not in 2020. People have been sticking around the region and enjoying their backyard, so why should it stop in September?
Just a short drive away while still staying in the CRD, Sooke has become a hub for excellent, award-winning craft beer. Home to three breweries (one for about every 4500 people), each with unique styles and atmosphere, a day trip out there is an easy way to experience what Sooke has to offer.
Set right in the heart of town with the hard to miss tree trunk on the corner, Sooke Brewing Company has mainly focussed on their taproom offerings, with the occasional packaged release, so if you want to try their beers, you have to go to the source. Since winning Rookie of the Year at the 2018 BC Beer Awards alongside four additional awards, they’ve also put together a great way to try their new beers with their Saw Club.
Taking place at least once a month on a Tuesday, trying their Saw Club releases allow you to register and get your card stamped. After ten stamps, your name gets put up on the wall on a shiny saw blade plaque, with additional bonuses as you reach higher levels. September’s release is their Simcoe Brut IPA, but you’ll have to check in to their social media to find out the release date, so keep an eye out for that.
Bad Dog Brewing, the smallest and most recent addition to the Sooke beer scene, is located a bit further west on Tugwell Rd. This small-batch producer has a quiet picnic area set up to enjoy their beers, and have one of their more unique beers lined up for release this month. Their Octodog Apocalypse Squid Ink Stout pours jet black and has a touch of salt that plays so well with the rich, roasted notes. Later this year, expect their yet to be announced 3rd anniversary release, along with some added capacity to offer more of their tasty options.
Last but not least, the first brewery of the three to open, Sooke Oceanside Brewery, is also the one that has grown the most from its humble beginnings. While they still have their tasting room alongside the Shell station coming into town, they now have a shiny new production facility that opened a few months ago, allowing you to enjoy much more of their award-winning beers. With recent limited releases like their Patio Lanterns Apricot Ale, Whiffin Weizen, and SaltWest Lemon Gose, it seems they’re making great use of the new space to put out some tasty new beers.
So make a day trip of it and enjoy what Sooke’s brewing scene has to offer, all while staying relatively close to home.