01 September 2007

RIP: Michael Jackson

ZUI this article from the International Herald-Tribune:
Michael Jackson, a leading world beer critic known as "the beer hunter," has died, a colleague said Friday. He was 65.

Jackson collapsed at his home in west London, and his body was found by his housekeeper Thursday morning [30 August], said Tim Hampson, the chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers.

Hampson, who said he has been in touch with Jackson's staff, said the cause of death was not immediately known.

And this, from the Philadelphia Daily News:
Though he was not a brewer, Jackson was responsible for more good beer than anyone. His tools were not the malt shovel and mash tun but a ballpoint pen and small notebook in which he scribbled tasting notes and interviews during four decades as a newspaperman.

Jackson's books and countless newspaper and magazine articles explored the far-reaching world of beer, from classic styles to obscure recipes.

He is primarily credited with establishing the language and identification of beer styles. Before Jackson, all beer was essentially the same; today, beer authorities recognize more than 100 major styles, defined by their cultural and technical characteristics.

And this, from the AP:
He worked as a beer critic for more than 30 years, writing in newspapers and gastronomic magazines, holding seminars and giving speeches, appearing on U.S. talk shows and writing books about beer and whiskeys published in 18 languages.

Jackson knew he would never be as famous as Michael Jackson the rock star, and that was reflected on the beer critic's Web site. "Hello, my name is Michael Jackson. No, not that Michael Jackson, but I am on a world tour. My tour is in pursuit of exceptional beer. That's why they call me the Beer Hunter," it says.

Personally I can't stand beer - I think it's the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted, even worse than Brussels sprouts - but Jackson also wrote Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch, which I've found to be a most useful and interesting book. I bought my copy at the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, in Edinburgh (just down the block from the main gate of the castle), but of course it's also available from Amazon.

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