Does it matter where beer is brewed?
Yes. At least that’s one of the premises behind Appellation Beer. Some of the others:
- It matters what the ingredients are and where they come from.
- Wines and cheeses aren’t the only products that can claim terroir.
- Beer should be considered in context. That context might be the food it’s served with. That context might be where the beer is enjoyed and the company it is shared with.
Hope that all doesn’t sound pretentious, because another goal of this site is to remain true to a wonderful statement from Anchor Brewing savior Fritz Maytag:
“It’s very hard to get pretentious about beer. You can become knowledgeable and start to talk with a highfalutin’ vocabulary. But you can only go so far with beer, and I’ve always liked that.”
Why not Beer 101?
There’s plenty of information for beer beginners on the Internet so we’ll leave most of the 101 stuff to others (with links when appropriate and maybe some basic Q&A stuff here). This site was created as a forum for discussions about beer for those who are past the basics, but the goal is to remain friendly to everybody.
The idea for the website Belchbeer.com may well been realized in a single moment of inspiration. The concept behind this one is still evolving. The impetutses were many. A few:
- Doing the research for the book Brew Like a Monk. For seven Trappist breweries in Belgium and the Netherlands Trappist truly is an appellation.
- A story I wrote for All About Beer magazine (published in September 2005) that began to explore the question of how much we should pay for beer. Whatever you call these beers – craft, specialty, better – some cost a little more, some quite a bit more. Understanding why not only reassures us when we plunk down our hard-earned money, but may add to the pleasure of drinking those beers.
- Many wine analogies popped up during the course of that story. The next issue of AABM then featured an article “Beer vs. Wine.” At the same time, American Brewer magazine included several stories on “successful image building.” One was called “Grape Envy: Craft Brewers Look to Wine to Upgarde Image.”
- Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported Anheuser-Busch is trying to drum up support in the beer industry for the equivalent of the dairy industry “Got Milk?” advertising campaign. A Miller spokesman also discussed the need for beer to upgrade its image. [Note that Miller and A-B have since gone different directions.]
- This all happened during a summer and fall  when many stories reported that mainstream beer was falling out of favor. These stories always seem to dwell on marketing and appearance – the sizzle instead of the steak . . . or in this case flavor.
There’s a lot to discuss – in an Internet sort of way – so feel free to join in.
Prosit – Stan Hieronymus