Bahl Hornin’ with Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Anderson Valley Brewery at Howells and Hood_1

Last night, Howells & Hood hosted an open house event to welcome Anderson Valley Brewing Company to Chicago Craft Beer Week. Some fun facts that we learned:

The California brewery was founded in 1987 when there were only 20 craft breweries in the US.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company have adopted the ‘native language’ of their hometown, Boonville. ‘Boontling‘, as it is known, is a homemade amalgamation invented in the late 1800s, taking from Gaelic and Irish roots and mixing in some English, Spanish and Native American Pomoan words.

Although lesser spoken by current younger residents, the brewery has helped share some of the unique words to a wider audience within their beer names, such as their ‘Heelch O’ Hops Double IPA‘ (Heelch: A large quantity), and the ‘Boont Amber‘ (Boont: Boonville). There’s one Boontling phrase that you will learn within five minutes of talking with Anderson Valley reps: Bahl Hornin’ (good drinking). Some other favorites are;

Horn: A drink; to drink.Anderson Valley Brewing Company at Howells and Hood_4
Pike: A hike or stroll.
Bahl gorms: good food.
Harp: to talk or speak.
Bahlest: excellent or great.
Deep Enders: Residents of the town of Navarro, due west of Anderson Valley.
High Rollers: Residents of the town of Yorkville, 10 miles east of Boonville.
Bright lighters: outsiders.
Tidrik: A party; a social gathering (Probably from “tea drink,” a dialectal expression meaning the same thing).
Apple Head: A girl friend.
Zeese: Coffee (After a local hunter-camp cook nicknamed Zeese (his initials Z.C.) who made bitterly strong coffee).


The Boontling-tinged beers are not only fun to say when ordering a round, but they provide yet more fun for the tastebuds. Anderson Valley make some flavorful and often exotic brews; the Heelch O’ Hops is bitter and lively, and, coming in a whopping 100 IBU, a real hop-bomb; the Nettied Madge is heavy, bold and lingering ; the Peachy Barl is made with fresh peach puree, and delivers a sour, dry and tangy taste. Some are tough to describe and compare, as the flavor profiles are unlike most other beers we’ve come across. Maybe it’s the ‘rudy nebs*’ of the valley.
(*pristine, mineral rich, well water)

Anderson Valley Brewing Company was originally a 10-barrel brewhouse in the underbelly of a local brewpub, The Buckhorn Saloon, and the setup was installed by initial brewer David Norfleet. They outgrew their production facilities, more than once, and now have a three-story brewhouse of their own, with dual 100- and 85-barrel copper brew kettles. They still use the original 10-barrel line for experimentation and R&D.

In April 2010 the original founder Kenneth Allen decided to retire, and sold the brewery to industry veteran Trey White. That fall, Fal Allen (former general manager 2000 – 2004, no relation to Ken) returned to the brewery as brewmaster. The new team introduced the Bahl Hornin’ Series, the Mendonesia Series, and the Highway 128 Series of beers, along with a new venture with Wild Turkey to expand their barrel-aged beer program.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company at Howells and Hood_5

Thanks to everyone who came out to the event, and I hope you enjoyed exploring some fun new beers from a truly unique brewery.

Anderson Valley Beer. It’s not just shy sluggin’ gorms neemer.

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