Recent findings by scientists push the origins of beer back 13,000 years, with archeologists discovering an ancient brewery in a prehistoric cave near Haifa while combing through a burial site for semi-nomadic hunter and gatherers.
In more recent times, a Lincoln City couple has whetted beer aficionados’ appetites for the modern version of the brew at the Black Squid Beer House.
Sara and Andy Hill are the proprietors of this welcoming tap room, set up with dart boards, a slew of board games, trivia nights, live music and an outdoor patio that is an oasis of green and light.
This beer house is serious: They have 17 rotating taps, hundreds of bottled beers, wine, cider, a mead selection at 13, ports, and D-Doggs outside cooking up frankfurters for the libations Black Squid sells.
Two years open for business is a big deal for Lincoln City entrepreneurs. Black Squid celebrates that anniversary from Thursday, July 25, through Saturday, July 27 with plenty of specials.
This includes Trivia Night with a Black Squid Theme on Thursday — the Squid’s standing trivia night. On Friday, Astoria beer maker Buoy Beer Company will be headlining the tap take-over, with its brews on offer from six taps.
Among those beers will be the Black Squid IPA, a small-batch brew in the “piney style” that Andy and Sara created with Buoy brewers at the beginning of June. Word is that this India Pale Ale will sell out fast.
Then, wrapping up the festivities live music will waft through the large tap house with Lincoln City’s own Retroactive Gamma Rays zapping their 1960s and ’80s California surf and punk sounds to the Squid crowd.
A little bit of history — Sara and Andy met in Corvallis in 2005 when they both had second jobs at Papa Johns. From there, Sara ended up at OHSU working as an admin assistant in the research division and Andy — with his OSU business degree — took on the task of operating the family flower shop in Beaverton.
After a few years in the flower business, the couple sold their house in Raleigh Hills area and decided that the old Oregon Surf Shop building would be perfect for their beer house, starting the process to build it out in May 2017. They lived in a borrowed motorhome for six months while working day and night to create Black Squid Beer House, including designing the cool logo and remodeling the building.
I posed questions to the couple to see what makes them tick:
What’s your favorite beer name?
Sara: “Brown Chicken Brown Cow from Everybody’s Brewing.”
Andy: “Stranger in the Alps from Matchless Brewing”
How to make a go of a tap house Lincoln City?
“For any business to make it, there needs to be friendly customer service, attention to detail, and love for the locals and involvement in the community.”
What inspires you to go work every day?
“Coming up with new events, researching new beers, and redesigning the décor at the Squid help keep me motivated and allow me to have fun outside of the daily duties of running the business.”
Define “good customer service.”
“Good customer service stems from putting yourself in the customer’s shoes, being friendly and welcoming, and caring about every aspect of their experience.”
If not owning the Squid, what would you be doing?
If we weren’t running Black Squid, we would be working for the man every night and day.
The Black Squid doesn’t prepare food, but encourages customers to order meals from local eateries, or bring in their own snacks. For the two of them, their own favorite local eateries include Side Door Café and La Roca.
D-Doggs, owned by Danny Ahumada, regularly cooks up tortas, taco and hotdogs for Black Squid drinkers. Sara says they are planning more beer and wine tasting events that include small bites. The couple’s commitment to reducing waste includes not having plastic straws and single-use containers.
Recently, Eugene-based Ninkasi Brewing Company set up at the Squid giving away swag and selling beer, hats and dog leashes as part of a benefit for the animal shelter.
“For every pint we sold, Black Squid donated a dollar to the cause,” Sara said. “We raised $600 from that event.”
I ask Andy what the strongest libation Black Squid serves. He pops open Viking Blood, a Nordic honey wine with hibiscus and hops added, based on a recipe from 1700. “This is it . . . 19 percent ABV [alcohol by volume].”
The sun is pushing amber tones onto the wood floor as light dazzles and reflects onto the brick walls from bottles of wine. Sara and Andy toast our new friendship with Block 15 Wellspring Belgian-Style Brett Pale Ale; Von Ebert Brewing Sector 7 NE IPA; and my tumbler of Viking Blood.
The night is young, and the drink choices endless.
The Black Squid Beer House is located at 3001 SW Hwy. 101, Lincoln City and is open from 3 to 10 pm Wednesdays & Thursdays; 3 to 11 pm on Fridays; 1 to 11 pm on Saturdays, and 3 to 9 pm on Sundays. Call them at 541-614-0733. See their up-to-date tap list and events at www.blacksquidbeerhouse.com.