Remembering Michael Jackson: The Man Who Changed The Beer World

by Emily Lee on Mar 27, 2015 in Culture


Michael Jackson 1942 - 2007
 

It’s a bittersweet day for whisky buffs and microbrew enthusiasts everywhere, as March 27 marks what would have been the 73rd birthday of leading beer and whisky critic, Michael Jackson.

Throughout his more than thirty-year career, Jackson helped start a renaissance of interest in beer and breweries worldwide. His first influential book, The World Guide To Beer, was published in 1977 and would eventually be translated into over ten languages. In it, Jackson categorizes beers from around the world according to regional style groups suggested by local names and customs—a practice that gave way to the modern theory of beer style. The international critic had a soft spot for Belgian brews, as evidenced by his later publication of bestseller, The Great Beers of Belgiumin 1991.

By classifying beers by flavor and style and by pairing them with complementary dishes, Jackson also gave root to the North American microbrewery movement. American fans will recall his legendary Discovery Channel series, “The Beer Hunter,” a title that popularized his nickname. In the series, Jackson would “travel the world sampling beers and writing about the ones I’ve enjoyed. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.”

Many would argue that his work in the world of whisky exceeds his legacy as a beer writer. He had enormous influence on the development of single malt whisky globally, and his book, Michael Jackson's Malt Whisky Companion (1989), is the bestseller on the subject worldwide. In the Companion, Jackson reviews a variety of whiskies and gives marks from 0 to 100, considering only those with a score above seventy-five worth purchasing.

For an archive of Jackson’s articles, visit beerhunter.com, and considering treating yourself to a subscription to The Rare Beer Club—one of Jackson’s many living legacies within the international beer community. 

Enjoy Jackson's Beer Hunter show below, and be sure to raise a glass to a man who brought to the world amazing beer. 

Photo via Celebrator.com


Tags: Beer, Education, Whiskey
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