I read this morning that beer writing legend Michael Jackson died of a heart attack on Thursday at the age of 65. Jackson was one of the early pioneers in the beer renaissance that started in the 1970s. We owe a lot to these early writers and explorateurs like Jackson because they really began the movement to explore and educate people about different styles of beer from around the world back when there were very few choices available to the general public.
Back in the 1970s in the U.S., all you really had were golden lagers from the big macro-breweries and homebrewing had just become legal again. By writing about different styles, people like Jackson and Charlie Papazian were able to open up the rich history and variety of beer to the world. If not for these guys, all you would see in the beer isles at the grocery store would be Miller and Budweiser.
So next time you crack open a homebrew or a microbrew, be sure to raise your glass and say a prayer for Michael. You probably owe that beer to him.