Homebrewers, craft beer enthusiasts and industry professionals owe a lot to Michael Jackson. His life’s work was dedicated to the education and appreciation of exceptional beer around the globe. In his book The World Guide to Beer, Jackson played an integral role in exposing the vastness of beer styles and cultures to the world—North America in particular.
He was even appointed the honorary title of officer in Ridderschap van de Roerstok de Brouwers (The Knighthood of the Brewers Mash), a Belgian brewers’ guild traditionally consisting of only brewers, for the exposure he brought to Belgian beers with his book Michael Jackson’s Great Beers of Belgium.
With over ten published titles concerning beer and a successful television program (The Beer Hunter) over the course of thirty years, Jackson is undoubtedly a presence in the beer community that is deeply appreciated and overwhelmingly missed. So today, March 27, raise a glass of your favorite brew and celebrate the man who revolutionized modern beer culture and appreciation as we know it.
Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association and founder of the American Homebrewers Association, shared a moment with Michael Jackson that influenced the course of craft beer in the United States. “We both went to Leeds in 1981 to participate in the Great British Beer Festival,” Charlie shared. While enjoying a beer, Charlie asked Michael if he thought it was worth putting together a great American beer festival. Michael jokingly replied, “where would you get any interesting beers?”
One year later, the first official Great American Beer Festival debuted in 1982 in Boulder, Colo. with 22 breweries, 40 beers and 800 attendees. Jackson’s amicable poke at the state of the craft beer industry in the United States during the early 80s speaks worlds to the accomplishments made by professional and hobby brewers in the past thirty years.
“A Total Digression”
In the video below, a behind-the-scenes clip from the upcoming Beer Hunter the Movie, Jackson reminisces about the all-to-familiar misconceptions of homebrewers he experienced when invited to morning radio shows.