Despite a bunch of mentors, there is still someone who I consider THE authority on beer. That's quite a feat, considering he passed away in 2007.
Michael Jackson, aka The Beer Hunter, was arguably the best at putting pen to paper when it came to beer.
Over the past year or so, I've been reading his articles in the archive of The Beer Hunter website. His writing skill and the shear quantity that he wrote (don't forget the books) blows me away. The site serves as a testament to MJ, and Stan from Appellation Beer does a great job of maintaining it.
In the wake of the first ever beer bloggers conference, I thought it fitting to post a few excerpts from the master beer writer himself.
I could made this post “50 Michael Jackson Quotes”, but I saw that as cheap. Quotes are a quick fix. You read a few insightful words, think about how you'll apply them to your life, and then forget them 5 minutes later.
No quick fix here. Instead, I want to use these passages to draw you in and convince you to read more of his archives. These examples show his wit, writing skill, and pure passion for beer. No need to lock yourself in a bunker and read through all of them, but read at least one today. I recommend starting with the article linked to in #1.
- Another reason why in the U.S. I can occasionally find a suitable beer to accompany my dinner is that the business ethic there accommodates the possibility of becoming profitable by pleasing the consumer. From Wine snobbery…and brewers who won't learn or fight back
- By far the most popular wheat beers in Southern Germany are the cloudy type, and that might offer a further clue to their new success. I suspect that the cloudiness, far from rendering these beers unattractive (or unsophisticated and rustic), gives them the appeal of “bread with nowt taken out. They are the beer world's answer to whole food. From Would Minnie like wheat ale?
- “In your view, just how should a Saison taste?” I would demand. “It must be a good, honest beer. It should have character. It is essential that it has soul,” he would reply, with Gallic imprecision. “Here … try this one.” In their house character, Dupont's beers are full of life. with a rocky, creamy, head; a sharp, refreshing, attack; a restrained fruitiness; and a long, very dry. From A seasonal search for the phantom of brewing
- My tasting notes made the beers sound like foods, and Father Antoine reminded me that they once were. The Trappist still do not eat meat, but once also ruled out fish and cheese. “Without the nutrients in our beer, we would have died.” Today, the dietary laws are less strict (some Trappist abbeys even make cheese, though Rochefort does not. Nor does it have its own brewery tap like some). From A Saintly glass with the brothers of barley
- Malty beers, perhaps slightly syrupy, and with a hint of alcohol in the finish, make ideal winter warmers, of course. No doubt they also drove away the fear of endless nights, and ghosts, in the depths of pagan midwinters. From Supping at Santa's Knee
- I began to think I was in a frightening dream. Or had I died? Then I noticed that a beer was being poured for me. It was not Lucifer, Satan, or Duvel. It was Delirium Tremens. I was not dead, though possibly suffering from a lifetime of alcoholic over-indulgence. I was beckoned to the sternest of the robed men, asked to drink the beer down in one and to pledge my support to it above all others. Delirium Tremens is a sippin' beer, and I am a taster, not a chugger, so I made a poor job of that. Nor could I pledge to promote one beer above all others (my turn to mumble). I was nonetheless “knighted”, with a mashing fork, and a ribbon bearing a medallion decorated with a pink elephant was placed round my neck. From Pink Elephants: Now I'm seeing two of them
- In its bouquet and palate, it is smokey enough to satisfy the natives of the German malting town of Bamberg, but full of complexity, with a mellow woodiness, a faint hint of fruit, a dash of chocolate, a slightly chewy maltiness, and an oily finish that sticks to the ribs in the cold of Alaska. From It's up, up and away to drink smoked porter out on the ice
- “Premium Lager' is often the code on the labels. There is much more to be enjoyed than just the dubious refreshment of the bland, sweetish, international brand of lager, the behaving-badly of a headbanger or a cosily. anorakish bout of beer-boring. There is a world of arousing aroma and flavour out there. But those of us who enjoy it feel sometimes that we are members of an evangelical cult. From Go with the grain
- If you train drinkers to believe that the less the flavour, the better the beer, how long before they prefer mineral water or soda-pop? If you keep making beer more like sweetened water, what happens when no one can tell the difference? If the drink looks and tastes like soda but contains 4 or 5 per cent alcohol, does it not mislead in a way that plays into the hands of those who would deem beer, wine or spirits socially unacceptable? From It's time to turn out the lites
- One of life's great but simple pleasures, widely recognised, is the aroma, taste, and satisfaction offered by truly fresh bread. Another, less well acknowledged, is the same sequence of sensuous experiences brought forth by really fresh beer. From Best Drunk When Fresh
Which one is your favorite? If you come across an article that you really like, link to it down in the comments.