Last call
August 30, 2007 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Michael Jackson the Beer Hunter (not the other one) passed away this morning. Beer fans remember the man and his impact on the world of beer. Among other things, he is responsible for establishing the definition of worldwide beer styles. He is also credited with reviving the Belgian beer industry and inspiring the U.S. microbrewing renaissance. I'll raise a glass of ale to him tonight because he was a friend and inspiration.
posted by sixpack (80 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Very sad; I had not heard that he was suffering from Parkinson's (although the article doesn't explicitly say that's what killed him, it's mentioned in his Wikipedia article.) Those of us who enjoy excellent, flavourful beer owe a lot to him.
posted by Johnny Assay at 3:20 PM on August 30, 2007


I'm envious of what his heaven is gonna look like. mmmmm.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:20 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Aww.

Raise a pint to Michael Jackson!
posted by klangklangston at 3:21 PM on August 30, 2007


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I'll definitely be sucking one down, Michael Jackson-style tonight!
posted by dhammond at 3:23 PM on August 30, 2007


Wait, forget I said that.
posted by dhammond at 3:23 PM on August 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


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posted by athenian at 3:23 PM on August 30, 2007


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posted by rtha at 3:28 PM on August 30, 2007


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As an aside, I just hafta say sixpack ("Professional beer drinker, Philadelphia Daily News"), you got a great gig in this life. Life's unfair!
posted by ericb at 3:36 PM on August 30, 2007


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I will hoist a cold one over the BBQ tonight
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:38 PM on August 30, 2007


My stepdad's got a huge Michael Jackson poster up in his basement. It's always a good read.

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posted by Pope Guilty at 3:40 PM on August 30, 2007


Big . with a creamy head.

I used to work for Redhook Brewery, and I hope I'm right that it was him who once said of Redhook's Original Ale, "I've thrown away better batches of homebrew."
posted by vito90 at 3:42 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


.....

There aren't enough periods.

Not only will I have a beer in his honor tonight. I will have it at the place where I first met the man, Lucky Baldwin's.

As a beer and now beer writing obsessed fool, all I can say is the man was a touchstone for so many folks discovering the world of beer beyond macro corn/rice and green bottled import lager. It's a mark of how respected he was that in all the beer communities today, even the normally pissy people aren't saying a thing.

Let's hope that the Germans are wrong when they sing that Heaven there is no beer. I'm just waiting for him and John White to prepare a guide to the breweries of Heaven.
posted by drewbage1847 at 3:45 PM on August 30, 2007


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posted by ardgedee at 3:45 PM on August 30, 2007


o.Oo.o..oOO.oo..O.OoooO....oo......
O.OoooO....oo......o.Oo.o..oOO.oo..O
.oo......o.Oo.o..oo.o..oOO
......
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:52 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


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posted by mwhybark at 3:53 PM on August 30, 2007


I shall now quaff a rather pleasant Tim Taylor Landlord in honour of this most knowledgable of men. Truly he was blessed in his understanding of the greatest consequence of agriculture.
posted by knapah at 3:56 PM on August 30, 2007


Thank you for posting this, sixpack, and hear, hear drewbage1847. Jackson was a great champion of good beer.
posted by Mmmmmm at 3:57 PM on August 30, 2007


To the Beer Hunter!
posted by BeerFilter at 3:59 PM on August 30, 2007


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posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:02 PM on August 30, 2007


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posted by eriko at 4:04 PM on August 30, 2007


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posted by neckro23 at 4:06 PM on August 30, 2007


Well, now I know what I've been saving my bottle of Chimay Bleue for. Cheers!
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:06 PM on August 30, 2007


Cheers, Mr. Jackson.
posted by cog_nate at 4:25 PM on August 30, 2007


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posted by gurple at 4:26 PM on August 30, 2007


I remember seeing Mr. Jackson on some late-night talk show when I was in middle school (a couple of years before raising my first, god, natural light or whatever to my lips), and while I was completely lost on what all he was going on about. But, of course, I remembered his name.

After high school, while I was learning that there were beers other than Miller and Coors and Bud and whatnot, I spotted his name on a book at my local bookstore. I can honestly say my life is better because of him.

My liver? Not so much.

Cheers, Michael.
posted by Ufez Jones at 4:31 PM on August 30, 2007


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posted by lazaruslong at 4:32 PM on August 30, 2007


Ein prosit!

Drink well, Mr. Jackson, wherever you are.

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posted by Faint of Butt at 4:32 PM on August 30, 2007


Ufez, in honor of Mr. Jackson's passing shall I send you some Pike Place Stout? ;)
posted by vito90 at 4:34 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


All About Beer also has a few nice words about him.
posted by gurple at 4:34 PM on August 30, 2007


The all about beer link has his final article too, which is strange and spooky in light of today.
posted by drewbage1847 at 4:36 PM on August 30, 2007


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I keep his "Beer Companion" on my coffee table (which, come to think of it, would be more accurately named after a different beverage). It's a very beautiful book, and I often leaf through it and daydream. Damn, what a great life that guy must have had.
posted by bonecrusher at 4:40 PM on August 30, 2007


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posted by sveskemus at 4:50 PM on August 30, 2007


Man... it's always worth a twinge or two when an pillar of any culture passes on, but, jeeze, Michael Jackson was beer. I'm envious of those of you who met him. His books helped inspire my Beer Project when I was fortunate enough to live near a Polish grocer in Brooklyn with more than 500 beers from around the world. One beer I had never had per week. And a few more I knew already. It's always good to review. Does anyone feel like sharing their favorite beers/beer experiences in honor of him? Myself, I'm currently dreaming of a Proving Ground IPA from Magnolia in San Fran or maybe a Sacred Cow from Arbor Brewing in Michigan. Alas, I am stuck in Glasgow, land of weak, sweet, warm beer.
posted by nímwunnan at 4:57 PM on August 30, 2007


wow... not only was michael jackson a big beer fan(which I am as well) he was also one of the foremost whiskey critics(I love whiskey also).

this sucks. I really would have liked to meet him, we could have talked for days about the lovely-ness of malted barley and the tasty-ness of Westvleteren 12.
posted by PugAchev at 4:58 PM on August 30, 2007


. and raise a glass.
posted by ijoshua at 5:04 PM on August 30, 2007


Beer experience with Mr. Jackson. Was at the launch of his Rare Beer club in Los Angeles and got to to sample and talk Cuvee du Tomme with him and Tomme Arthur. Good times there.

But really, for some reason the beer that I always associate him with is Orval. When I first had it (as a newb to good beer), I wasn't even sure what the hell I was tasting. So when I got home (with another bottle) I sat down and flipped open his book and read his description and story of the beer.
posted by drewbage1847 at 5:04 PM on August 30, 2007


Crap!
He was also, as well as beer, a noted lover of scotch. Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch was the book I picked up when first I tasted the ambrosia of the Scots.

What a great life he led.

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posted by lumpenprole at 5:15 PM on August 30, 2007


To me, Michael was a newspaperman with ink - not beer - in his blood. He got his start in newspapers, and when we talked, it was more about the tabloid business than beer.

I feel lucky to have known him - he was a regular visitor in Philly, especially more recently because the woman he loved lives here. Each year, he led a tutored tasting at the Univ. of Pa. Museum that drew more than 1,000 people. He was a true cult hero.

In a piece about Philly and the hereafter, he wrote, "If I were for even a split second remembered for The Beer Hunter, I should smile in the hereafter as I shared a refreshing Duvel with my new drinking buddies."
posted by sixpack at 5:22 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


*pours some expensive beer on the curb*
posted by jonmc at 5:23 PM on August 30, 2007


bah, I'm embarassed to have forgotten his love of whisky. And Glasgow, of course, does not hurt for good whisky. Perhaps I'll start a Whisky Project in his honour....
posted by nímwunnan at 5:28 PM on August 30, 2007


I'll try to get down to Bottleworks here in Seattle tonight and pick up something suitably Belgian. I'm sure I won't be the only one there with that idea.

D
posted by gurple at 5:31 PM on August 30, 2007


Er, that was supposed to be:

D-(

Or an ascii rendering of a Rochefort glass.
posted by gurple at 5:32 PM on August 30, 2007


Too much talk about beer and whisky, not enough drinking beer and whisky!
posted by knapah at 5:33 PM on August 30, 2007



8888888888
88.......]
88.......]..
8[.......] .
8[.......] .
8[.......]..
8[~~~~~~~]

posted by Kickstart70 at 5:43 PM on August 30, 2007


[:]D
posted by deCadmus at 5:46 PM on August 30, 2007


I hope that looks like a beer mug and not a happy face... 'cause this is not a happy face. Mr. J was quite a guy...
posted by deCadmus at 5:48 PM on August 30, 2007


He's got several beer books on Amazon besides Beer Companion. Any opinions on which is the best? Also, did anybody else see his recent (last year or two) Conan appearance? I guess that when booze is your livelihood you show up sloshed now and then.
posted by erikgrande at 6:03 PM on August 30, 2007


Erikgrande,

That Conan appearance was part of the reason he went public with his Parkinson's battle. That's what he claimed was affecting his showing there.
posted by drewbage1847 at 6:15 PM on August 30, 2007


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posted by 5MeoCMP at 6:27 PM on August 30, 2007


As a home brewer, may I say...

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*burp*
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:43 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Michael Jackson got me into Belgian beer. His beer guide with all the cooly artistic labels from little Belgium got me to seek out those interesting beers. I'm tilting a Leffe Blonde and a Glazen Toren Ondineke Oilsjtersen Tripel in his honor tonight.

I hope the beer is good whereever he's gone.
posted by fet at 6:43 PM on August 30, 2007


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Oh man. I loved The World Guide to Beer. That book got me away from drinking too much crap been (Busch Pounders) and taught me what beer was really about.
posted by octothorpe at 6:43 PM on August 30, 2007


I never really got into Mr. Jackson, since my college education in Beer Brewing was on the cusp of the microbrew revolution. Having grown up with that, and knowing beer, I never felt like I needed a book to tell me about beer. I have this great hatred of wine critics, so even though he might have been good, I never read him.

However, the fact that he did influence a lot of people to start drinking good beer, and helped that market grow to the point where the "big 3" brewers are starting to make some interesting beers, then my hat's off to him. This Stone Arrogant Bastard is for you, Mr Jackson.
posted by Eekacat at 6:50 PM on August 30, 2007


That Conan appearance was part of the reason he went public with his Parkinson's battle. That's what he claimed was affecting his showing there.

My bad, didn't mean to make light.
posted by erikgrande at 6:52 PM on August 30, 2007


A great writer about beer. It's even more amazing, these days, to read some of his titles where he's focusing so much on particular breweries and realize how much of a purely historical document it is now. The New World Guide to Beer, in particular. The the world of beer has changed so much since (my edition at least) was written. Many breweries that he writes about, particularly in America, are gone or merged into uniform larger compies.

The beer world has changed a lot since he started writing, mostly for the better; not entirely without losses though. Without doubt he was, is, and will be a huge part of what's better now.
posted by skynxnex at 6:57 PM on August 30, 2007


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Very sad. Randomly catching his show was the first intimation that there was a wider beer world out there, and that we Americans had the short end of it (at the time). The first beer I ever loved was Franziskaner Hefeweisebier Dunkel; I might go down to my local and lift one for him tonight.
posted by jtron at 7:09 PM on August 30, 2007


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posted by Lafe at 7:19 PM on August 30, 2007


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He made enjoying the taste of beer something you could actually tell people about. While there are now probably millions of educated beer drinkers, there was only one Michael Jackson.
posted by tommasz at 7:28 PM on August 30, 2007


    _.._..,_,_                                             
   (          )    YOU KNOW WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT BEER ?!?!?!?
    ]~,"-.-~~[                                             
  .=])' (;  ([                                             
  | ]:: '    [                                             
  '=]): .)  ([                                             
    |:: '    |     THE FACT THAT IT GOES IN ME             
PMH  ~~----~~                                              
posted by mazola at 7:54 PM on August 30, 2007


Hmm. That didn't work. Maybe it'll look better after a couple o'beers...
posted by mazola at 7:55 PM on August 30, 2007


Cheers to Mr. Jackson.

I also had the pleasure to met him at Lucky Baldwin's. For such an experieced critic, I was thrilled with how non beer snobish he was. We even got to talk about whisky for a while.
posted by Hicksu at 7:58 PM on August 30, 2007


"the best-known Belgian Pilsener is the lightly hoppy, grassy, Stella Artois"

How nicely he described my favorite beer. So Michael Jackson's the guy responsible for making Belgian beer available all over NYC now. It's good to know. I wondered how the hell that happened.

It's so sexy when somebody really knows their stuff with sensual gusto. Loved that scene in Sideways when Miles shows off his tasting-smelling finesse to Jack. Exciting to learn there was an articulate beer connoisseur.

Sad he died relatively young, at 65,, it had to have been hard for him. Glad he made so many people happy.
posted by nickyskye at 8:28 PM on August 30, 2007


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This is so sad, the man was a god. I've got a bottle of Thomas Hardy Ale I was saving, I guess now I know it's time to open it in the man's honor.
posted by Ber at 8:44 PM on August 30, 2007


Very sad. A few years ago, my Belgian in-laws gave me his book "Great Beers of Belgium". It's helped me better understand what I like and don't like. Alas, my source for Belgian beer has quit importing to South Africa. Time to move back to Europe!

I wish restaurants in South Africa would learn that there are other beers in the world besides lager, which I generally loath. Down here, you're lucky if you can get a pils.
posted by Goofyy at 11:38 PM on August 30, 2007


Thanks to this man, I stopped drinking bad beer and started to understand what I was experiencing. The Great Beer Guide changed my gastronomic life. A true loss to beer lovers. A Rogue Imperial Stout in his memory.
posted by 1adam12 at 1:10 AM on August 31, 2007


So, what killed him? Probly drinking too much, right?
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 2:01 AM on August 31, 2007


Probably complications from his Parkinson's.

Meanwhile tonight.. a little of my mild, Avery Maharajah DIPA and a glass of my Dubbel.

All while writing my next column. Figure that should be appropriate to the man.
posted by drewbage1847 at 2:22 AM on August 31, 2007


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I'm going to the pub tonight. Twice. (I mean, I was already planning to go...)
posted by rpn at 2:49 AM on August 31, 2007


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posted by A dead Quaker at 4:18 AM on August 31, 2007


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posted by mek at 5:52 AM on August 31, 2007


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posted by Bron at 6:11 AM on August 31, 2007


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posted by languagehat at 6:22 AM on August 31, 2007


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posted by OmieWise at 6:51 AM on August 31, 2007


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posted by the_bone at 7:31 AM on August 31, 2007


Michael Jackson once co-wrote an article with a famous wine critic--I think it was Robert Parker. He introduced him to and taught him about the wide variety and qualities of the various brands. It really opened his eyes to something he had never appreciated.



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posted by eye of newt at 8:26 AM on August 31, 2007


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posted by grateful at 8:37 AM on August 31, 2007


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posted by HpyMutant at 9:50 AM on August 31, 2007


What a shame. He was an engaging and intelligent reviewer, and his books and programmes changed my beer drinking habits.

Well, you can be sure he had a good life! And he will be missed.
posted by spnx at 2:49 PM on August 31, 2007


Oh my. We found some Rouchefort 10 to honor Mr. Jackson. Didn't know any of that was left.

Alas, Belgium beer is in another crisis, do to commercialization. Some jackass in Brazil is running things that has no appreciation for beer. I've only heard garbled accounts from my partner's father.
posted by Goofyy at 9:54 PM on August 31, 2007


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posted by box at 3:50 PM on September 7, 2007


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