Michael Jackson was, in the opinion of many, not only the first among equals in the ranks of beer judges, but essentially the inventor of many of today's commonly accepted beer styles. He was also an extremely well loved individual, by everyone who knew him.
He was born March 27, 1942, in Yorkshire, England. In his 65 years of life he touched so many people that his name will probably be coming up in conversation for another half century at least.
Michael had severely curtailed his public schedule in recent years, due to his struggle with Parkinson's disease, yet he continued to write, which was his consuming passion.
It's probably safe to say that most people in the business considered him the world's foremost authority on beer and whisky, and some of his many books can be found on the shelves of anyone who takes a serious interest in either subject.
Next time you raise a proper pint of a good real ale, whether commercial or homebrew, give a thought to Michael and say a silent "Thanks!" for what he did for all of us.
"A man is remembered for the lives he touches and the works he leaves. Michael Jackson was the most influential authority on beer the world has ever known. He has inspired generations of beer judges with his passion, knowledge and gifted prose. His books remain definitive references on beer styles and will forever be found on the bookshelves of anyone serious about beer. But he will be remembered most for living his life on his own terms, doing what he wanted to do in a way that left onlookers feeling a mixture of awe, envy and amazement. Sleep well, Son of Yorkshire and Bard of Beer, you will be missed."
President, Beer Judge Certification Program
"A man who doesn't care about the beer he drinks may as well not care about the bread he eats. Beer may have been man's staple diet before bread was invented, and these two staffs of life are as comparable as they are closely related. Each can offer an everyday experience or a rare pleasure. In each case, what we seek is a measure of what we deserve."
From Michael Jackson's The World Guide To Beer, 1977
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