Beer Connoisseur Michael Jackson

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Beer expert Michael Jackson died last week. We remember the man whose mission was to elevate beer to the same level of sophistication as wine.


No one would ever confuse beer expert Michael Jackson with the pop star of the same name. But the rumpled man, with the salt and pepper beard and moustache, was a king in his field, too. Jackson was known for touting the many charms of beer in books and on television. The beer hunter, as he was called, died last week in London. Jackson worked as a beer critic for more than 30 years. He told this program in 1994 that if you appreciate wine, you can appreciate beer.

Mr. MICHAEL JACKSON (Beer Expert): If you take a glass of wine, there are hundreds of flavor and aroma compounds in that glass of wine. But if you take a glass of beer, there are equally hundreds of flavor and aroma compounds in that. So the two products are equally complex. There are styles of beer that are as diverse as Cabernet Sauvignon, a champagne and a (unintelligible).

HANSEN: Michael Jackson's books, "World Guide to Beer" and "The Great Beers of Belgium," introduced many varieties of the ancient brew to the global market, including the United States.

Jackson also produced a TV documentary series called "The Beer Hunter." He gave speeches and held seminars all over the world in service to the beverage he love.

Jackson recognized the risks between beer lovers and enophiles but he believed that wine and beer were making peace with one another.

Mr. JACKSON: Wine, which used to be the drink of the elite, became the drink of the middle classes. And so wine extended its range down market and beer has moved up market. And they met in the middle, or are in the process of meeting in the middle. So I think we have a democratization of drink.

HANSEN: Cheers. Beer critic and writer Michael Jackson. He died Thursday in London at the age of 65.

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