Friday, August 31, 2007

R.I.P. Michael Jackson

No, not THAT Michael Jackson!

For anyone who has spent any time sampling the world of crafted beers, they will be familiar with a man who is probably considered the most well known beer taster and writer of all things beer, Michael Jackson.

A friend and fellow beer enthusiast sent this saddening news to me this morning:

As from
We mourn the passing of a friend. Michael Jackson died Wednesday night at his home in London.

It's not often you get to know an honest to goodness giant. Michael Jackson was a giant, indeed, and his place in the beer community was unique. Now, he's gone. Not exactly surprising, given the state of his health, but still a shock.

Michael gave us our voice and vocabulary, and grounded the history and traditions of beer. Beginning in the seventies with the publication of the World Guide to Beer, Michael began beating the drum demanding more respect for beer. He swirled and tasted beer, filling pages with new words. He traveled unceasingly, discovering styles and traditions long gone or on their way out the door. He chided the mainstream press for its beer provincialism. He even wore one glove, just one glove, to mock a similarly named celebrity.

Originally a newspaper reporter, a badge he wore with pride, he never lost the newsman's love for a breaking story or a tight deadline. He was a prolific writer, an expert in whiskey and fine food as well as a pioneer beer writer.

We will all lift a pint in his memory.

Daniel & Julie Bradford

His writings were well done, and his books introduced me to the various styles of beer, the better quality breweries of the world, and also the great blessing of Belgian beers, especially those actually brewed by Tappist monks.

My only anecdote is that I had the opportunity to meet him once, but of all the times this came up, it was Lent, and I had given up drinking beer. He was hosting a beer tasting at a local pub ... on a Monday night, so no Sunday break for me. So, I offered it up and passed on the opportunity. My friend took my "The New World Guide to Beer" by Michael Jackson for him to sign. He went, had a fun time, and got my book signed. What did it say?

"To Chris, Where were you? - Michael Jackson 30 Mar '98"

At least he had a sense of humor too. LOL!

Requiescat in pace, Michael Jackson.

And we'll raise a pint for ya!

Roman Sacristan raising a pint with friends


1 comment:

Histor the Wise said...


PS. I met a fellow named Michael Jackson this past July, so very interesting to hear of this.