Many beer industry people have commented now on the passing of the famed beer writer Michael Jackson, most have included their stories about the time they met him. The common theme seems to be that their hearts were all atwitter as they approached Mr. Jackson, hoping that they would recieve some sort of blessing. Stumbling through their words with dry mouths and sweaty palms they would say something along the lines of "Mr. Jackson sir, do you remember that time in 1987 when you dropped your coaster? I was one of the four dorks that pounced on it." All kidding aside, I can't think of a more revered man amongst serious beer people.
I am obligated to tell you of my meeting with Mr. Jackson. We were standing outside our hotel in Denver following the Great American Beer Festival last year, when an elderly, disheveled, hunched over man shuffled over to me and snapped, "Get me a cab." I promptly told him that the valet would be of more assistance in that request than I would be, so he shuffled off. As I seen him climb into the cab I said to those around me, "Hey, that was Michael Jackson." Not exactly a life changing religious experience for me, nor for him I'm sure.
I will give credit where credit is due, Michael Jackson helped create the craft beer culture in America, giving life to an industry in which I make my living. He was a fantastic writer and critic who could bring the heart and soul of the world's breweries and pubs to those of us half a world away, and we will certainly miss him for that. With all that said, I respect Michael Jackson the most for getting paid to travel around the world drinking good beer and whiskey. That is an amazing accomplishment in itself.
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