Gods of Beer, Gods of Whiskey: Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson the beer god holding a glass of brown beer aloft

I will not lie: every time I see a reference to Michael Jackson, I think of the King of Pop.  This is ridiculous.  Michael Jackson – journalist, book author, holder of prestigious awards for his service in the field, star of The Beerhunter on the Real Beer Network, and first chair of the British Guild of Beer Writers (to which I aspire) –  is a name I should without hesitation stand and salute.

King of Pop holding a Budweiser
Not this Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was one of the people who got the craft beer movement going.  He’s also generally credited with popularizing the idea of beer styles (he was made an honorary judge of the Beer Judge Certification Program in the U.S.).  He was 35 when he published The World Guide to Beer , which has been translated into 10 languages and is as close as the craft movement gets to a classic (updated in 1997; link takes you to updated version).  In his late 40’s, he hooked up with the Discovery Channel (full disclosure: I used to work there) to host the documentary series The Beer Hunter.  In this series he’d visit different countries and often focused on Old World commercial brewing practices he knew were disappearing.  The Beer Hunter was a great success, and Jackson became an acknowledged expert in beer, whiskey, and travel (what a great combination!).Cartoon of Michael Jackson in heaven saying the Devil's beers are better  Jackson also wrote The Malt Whiskey Companion, in which he rated whiskeys from 1 to 100, opining that it wasn’t worth purchasing anything with a score under 75.  There hadn’t been a really seminal work on whiskey since Victorian times.  Jackson followed it up with several more books on whiskey, and I can’t count the number of imitators that followed.

Among other awards and honors, Jackson won the James Beard Award for his culinary writing in 2006.

Suffering from diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, he died of a heart attack in 2007 at age 65.  Not just his papers, but “the buy valium online united states contents of his office”  were donated to the Oxford Brookes University Library, in parallel with the National Brewing Library already located in there; they are jointly managed by members of the Library and the Institute of Brewing & Distilling.  (I did a very quick search, and their site led me directly to the Michael Jackson collection – bravo to the website architects.)  There are something like 1500 books from Jackson’s personal library and 300 copies of his own books in the collection.

Needless to say, the name coincidence makes searching for Michael Jackson’s beer media a bit interesting.  Try it yourself, you’ll see what I mean.  His Amazon page includes everything they still have in print, of course.  I copied this list of some of his books and multimedia directly from Wikipedia:

  • Jackson, Michael (1976). The English Pub
  • Jackson, Michael (1977). The World Guide to Beer
  • Jackson, Michael (1986). Pocket Guide to Beer ISBN 0-671-72915-2
  • Jackson, Michael (1987). The World Guide to Whisky
  • Jackson, Michael (1988). New World Guide to Beer (Updated)
  • Jackson, Michael (1991). Michael Jackson’s Great Beers of Belgium ISBN 0-7624-0403-5
  • Jackson, Michael (1997). Michael Jackson’s Beer Companion ISBN 0-7624-0772-7
  • Jackson, Michael (1998) Ultimate Beer
  • Jackson, Michael (1998) Little Book on Beer
  • Jackson, Michael; Lucas, Sharon (ed.) (1999). Michael Jackson’s complete guide to Single Malt Scotch (fourth ed.). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Running Press Book Publishers. ISBN 0-7624-0731-X
  • Jackson, Michael; Lucas, Sharon (ed.) (2000). Michael Jackson’s Great Beer Guide. DK ADULT. ISBN 0-7894-5156-5
  • Jackson, Michael (2001). Scotland and its Whiskies
  • Jackson, Michael (2004). The Malt Whisky Companion, Penguin Books 2004 ISBN 978-1-4053-0234-0 ISBN 10: 1405302348
  • Jackson, Michael (2005). Bar and Cocktail Party Book
  • Jackson, Michael (2005). Whisky ISBN 978-0-7513-4434-9
  • Jackson, Michael (2007). Tyskie Vademecum Piwa (The Tyskie Beer Compendium), promotional book, Polish language
  • The Beer Hunter (1995), a CD-ROM about the American beer culture
  • World Beer Hunter (1996), a CD-ROM on beer cultures around the world

Related Post