by Daniel Barnes and Darcey Self-Barnes
Purchased at Taylor’s Market in Sacramento ($12.49/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.
This inaugural offering from Santa Rosa-based Shady Oak Barrel House pours a gorgeous light gold with a foamy, bright white head. Inspired by the works of Kurt Vonnegut, the Brettanomyces-heavy Bokonon exudes tart and earthy farmhouse aromas—lemons, grass, barnyard funk, Belgian yeast, and minerals dominate the nose. It’s also a little bit metallic on the nose and on the first swallow, but it’s brimming with Belgian complexity, with mellow citrus and freshly mowed lawn holding the front line while the more tart and aggressive flavors guard the rear. Bokonon offers a whole lot of funk and must, not all of it entirely pleasing, and yet I kept going back to discover more about this fascinating and challenging beer.
Daniel Barnes and Darcey Self-Barnes have been blogging about craft beer at His & Hers Beer Notes since January 2012. Darcey is a freelance designer and illustrator, and Daniel is a film critic for the Sacramento News and Review and a member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle.