One of the more unusual beer styles is Gose (pronounced “go-za”), which is believed to have originated near Leipzig, Germany. Gose’s grain bill contains at least 50 percent wheat; it’s brewed with both yeast and lactobacillus, along with coriander; and the brewing water is lightly salted.
One of the few American breweries to tackle this style is the Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Its version is called “The Kimmie, The Yink and The Holy Gose”—more about that in a moment—and part of its Highway 128 Session Series. It’s a session-strength beer, at just 4.2 percent ABV. Brewmaster Fal Allen describes as having “[f]lavors of guava and peach mingle with a light mineral aroma that leads to a dry, effervescent finish reminiscent of a fresh sea breeze. The salt content is lower than other interpretations of the style and complements the lemon sourness and earthy wood undertones, adding to the complexity.”
As for the beer’s name, it “Boontling” for the Holy Trinity. Boontling—a dialect with words from Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Pomoan. and Spanish—was once widely spoken in the Anderson Valley, where the brewery makes its home.
The Anderson Valley Brewing Company website uses the phrase “bahl hornin’” to describe its products. That means “good drinking” in Boontling, the distinctive dialect spoken in the valley since before the Civil War. Its several thousand residents coined some 1,500 words–some derived from people’s names, others from twisting English nouns–and created a language that was unintelligible to outsiders.
Sadly, Boontling is on the verge of dying. The valley’s remaining speakers are getting on in years, and younger residents haven’t learned it. Its demise will leave the Anderson Valley culturally poorer. As one local resident put it, “One day it will be like if you looked out there and saw there were no more lilies, or no more oak trees.”