Friday, August 31, 2007

Michael Jackson: 1942-2007

I was saddened this week to learn of the death of "The Beer Hunter", Michael Jackson after a long bout with Parkinson's Disease.

In 1992, at the age of 21, I bought a hardcover copy of his 1988 revision of The New World Guide to Beer and, at the risk of sounding completely sappy and geeky, it truly did change my life. My new found interest in "microbrews" was pretty enthusiastic but now I had a beer bible! Styles I had never dreamed of, brewing processes, origins and producers of the great classics were now revealed in glossy pictures and words that breathed life into those pictures.

My favorite quote: "It's a perilously drinkable brew." That was in reference to De Konninck but I'm sure he used it elsewhere.

I loved his writing style. He was sometimes criticized for being too easy on beer that was less than stellar. People sometimes missed the subtlety in his jabs at soulless, corporate beer but Jackson was a beer ambassador more than a pure critic. His writing was pure beery poetry.

Mostly, Michael Jackson inspired me to seek out the beer. My tendency to road trip or plan entire vacations or incorporate beer hunting into vacation or business trips is directly attributed to Jackson. (I actually call those entries in my blog "Beer Hunts".) Getting the beer at the source is very rewarding on many levels.

So, to Mr. Jackson I'll raise a pint or three today. But every pint I've had up until now and every pint I'll have after will really be in his honor.

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