Most beer blogs these days have punny names about “pints” and “biers,” often leaving out an entire food element that is indelibly connected to drinking. But here at Squid Ink, where we cover the new dawn of craft beer for a long-standing food blog, it's the opposite — our brewed subject matter will never fit the blog name.

Or so we thought.

Earlier this year, on a dark night down the internet rabbit hole, we discovered the existence of a black IPA called Squid Ink being made by a brewery called Pacific Brewing Laboratory.

We desperately wanted to have some Squid Ink beer to keep around the office, but since the brewery was in San Francisco and the operation looked small, we never thought we would even get the chance to try our blog's same-named beer.

Last weekend, however, we attended a small-but-epic beer fest on the banks of the Russian River in Sonoma County and there it was — Squid Ink — coming out of a glistening silver jockey box at the hands of its red-headed mad-scientist brewer.

Credit: Pacific Brewing Lab

Credit: Pacific Brewing Lab

Needless to say, we were stoked. We filled up several festival taster glasses worth of the dark-and-bitter beer and drank each one in front of the tent. Roasty flavors and a thick, silky body instantly set this black IPA apart from most on the market, its chocolate legs coating every glass it hit. Billed as an “India Black Ale” (these types of beers have about four different style descriptors to choose from and all mean about the same thing), Squid Ink is more than just an overhopped porter, though. It's a righteously decadent-but-balanced beer that at only 54 IBUs, keeps its citrus and pine notes in moderation.

See also: L.A.'s Two Newest Breweries: Congregation Ales and Timeless Pints

We'd be lying if we said we didn't wish it was available in Southern California. For Pacific Brewing Laboratory, however, that may be a long way off. Squid Ink is a year-round offering that is an easy find at bars around San Francisco, but the brewery doesn't make much beer, it has no tasting room and brewmaster Bryan Hermannsson says distribution only goes “as far as I'm willing to drive.”

With a giant cartoon squid incorporated into the brewery's logo and a hibiscus saison called Nautilus also served as a flagship beer, Pacific Brewing Labs feels like an experimental space more along the lines of what's going on in L.A. than in The City. But for now, the Bay Area is the only place where we can go to drink a beer bearing the same name as our humble food blog. So, when's the next trip?

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LA Weekly