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Spring 2011, Issue 6

Spring 2011, Issue 6
Spring 2011, Issue 6

As lovers of craft beer, we’re all part of a fraternity. Not the Natty Light, keg stand and beer pong-fueled kind, of course, but the type of fellowship shared by like-palated souls. Each time we pull up a bar stool at our local or drop by our favorite beer store for a six pack or six, we dive further into a community that’s steadily spilling out across the globe, as more and more thoughtful drinkers are turned on to artfully made brews.

The craft calling consumes some more than others, leading to backyard hop farms, high-tech homebrewing rigs and feverishly updated blogs. But whether you’re that type of crazed devotee or something more of a casual imbiber, you surely know well that among serious beer drinkers, one name stands above all the rest as the leader of the clan. No, I’m not referring to craft beer’s reality TV star, though Mr. Calagione has certainly staked his claim to being the 21st century’s face of the movement. Rather, the icon who deserves all the credit for bringing the good word of good beer down from the mountain is, of course, Michael Jackson.

I never had the honor of meeting Jackson, but if I had I would have passed him a copy of The Beer Connoisseur. And then I would have thanked him, for without his work who knows where we would be? That’s a question that Jay Brooks, a friend and colleague of the late, great Beer Hunter, explores in these pages with the latest installment in our Innovators Series.

“For Jackson,” Brooks writes, “his love of beer was boundless, but it was never only about the beer. It was equally about the people and the stories behind the beer.” That’s a clear articulation of what fills our sails here at The Beer Connoisseur, the mission to tell the uncountable tales that bubble up through the drink we all love.

Considering his well-known fondness for whisky, Jackson would likely flip to Dan Rabin’s story on craft distilleries if he were to lay his hands on this issue, and in it he’d read about the interest now gathering familiar steam around America’s producers of artisanal spirits. He’d surely turn to Lucy Saunders’s look at the many intersecting points of the Slow Food and craft beer movements, likely uncapping a lively brew and trying his hand at the accompanying “good, clean and fair”-minded recipe. And there’s no doubt he’d delight in following along with Martin Thibault’s story on all the upstart brewers scattered around Quebec, from way out on the Magdalen Islands to the busy streets of Montreal.

Indeed, Jackson looms large over this issue of The Beer Connoisseur, as he does all of craft beer today. May his shadow never lift.

Cheers!

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