Where wine is concerned, the topic of appellation is very clear-cut when it involves wine. Grow the fruit in a given region and you earn that area’s appellation. Of course other rules and regulations have to be valid what wines are able to boast specific sub-designations such as the Italian reservas or the crus of French Bordeaux. This allows a consumer to know the prestige and respect of certain wines.
Beer appellation, however, has less to do with growing regions than it does places of consumption. The soul of a brew is found not in the soil, but in the café, the beer hall or the tavern. You might say this is crazy, but the truth is, the environment of any drink will affect the enjoyment and pleasure of it. If you remove the beverage from its ideal position and while it will smell and taste the same, the perception of those aromas and flavors will in all probability change. Beer is however exacerbated by the fact that certain styles allow an almost physically emotional connection to their areas of origin.
It is a bond that goes beyond the mere romance of a glass of Dom Pergnion sipped on a terrace in Paris overlooking the Rhone River or a pint of Guinness supped in a Dublin pub. It is a relationship that, like wine appellations, speaks to the very understanding of the drink. Although most winemakers are reliant on the soils at this disposal and agrarian skills to produce the grapes that will become wine, brewers have at their disposal barley, hops and yeast plus more ingredients. They can alter the profiles of their tap water and so on. But what no brewery has is replicating the conditions and traditions of the classic beer styles.
After all a beer’s appellation is not where it is made, but where it is enjoyed!