SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS meets THE BEER BEAT: Boontling, a local dialect made famous by Anderson Valley Brewing Company.


In 2006, Graham Phillips and I came very close to the town of Boonville, California during our Great American Road Trip.

After stopping for lunch at Russian River Brewing Company, we were headed north on the Pacific Coast Highway, bound for Fort Bragg and a planned visit to the North Coast Brewing Company.

As can be seen from the map, the topography makes easy watershed crossings problematic once you’ve chosen the coastal highway. We decided to forego the interior and stick to the ocean’s edge.

During the time of the Public House’s inception and youth in the early 1990s, certain California microbrews (later, “craft” beers) were much sought after amid the metro Louisville beer desert.

Anchor had been present for a while, and Sierra Nevada arrived in Indiana to much fanfare around 1993. Roughly at this point, or perhaps shortly thereafter, both North Coast and Anderson Valley became available.

Finally … the good stuff.

What we wanted most from North Coast was Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. The game-changer from Anderson Valley was Hop Ottin’ IPA, which seemed a tad sexier than Anchor’s hoppy but old-hat Liberty Ale.

Hop Ottin’ was a precursor to our IPA-crazed contemporary era, and it also serves to introduce today’s lingo.


The brewery often uses words and phrases from the local Boontling lingo on their labels and packaging, as well as in some of their beer names (e.g. Hop Ottin’). Their packaging also features the company mascot, Barkley the “Legendary Boonville Beer”. This fictional Anderson Valley native is part bear, part deer and looks like a bear with antlers. (Bear + Deer = Beer)

At the brewery’s taproom, a Boontling word is featured each day.

Boontling Language of Boonville (Atlas Obscura)

A local dialect born in the late 19th century is only spoken in this isolated California valley.

 … Boontling can be fairly simple to pick up, because it operates grammatically the same way English does. So if you’re a Brightlighter looking to buckeye in Boont, listen to the kimmies and minks harpin’ tidrick. You may get a beemsch from a bearman.

On second thought, maybe we should have dropped by.