Has it really been another year? Not just since we lost the Beer Hunter, Michael Jackson, but since I’ve posted an installment on my blog? It appears so. Michael, of course, has been gone for two years now today, though really it seems like just yesterday I heard the news of his passing. The loss was a great one, and at the time I felt like I had lost a dear friend, even though I’d only met Michael a few times. On one of those occasions, I was fortunate enough to discuss beer with MJ at length, and got his autograph that you see below. It’s in one of my most prized possessions, a copy of The Pocket Guide to Beer penned by the Beer Hunter himself. In a few weeks, it will be 13 years since he signed the book. My, how time really does fly.
Sometimes, it takes the passing of time to realize that you don’t realize the full impact of someone’s passing right away. Having lost my mom earlier this year, I’ll sometimes think about her as if she’s still with us. That’s the case with MJ, too. You miss the new books, and the interviews, and of course the columns. Nobody in the beer world today writes like Michael did, and I seriously doubt anyone ever will.
Normally on this day I pause to reflect and celebrate Michael’s life by drinking a toast to him with a carefully picked beer. This year, though, flattened as I am by a lowly virus, I’ll have to put that off until later (though I guarantee you that the next beer that passes these lips will be in toast to the Beer Hunter). But that won’t stop me from remembering the life of the best beer writer this guru of brew ever knew. So here’s to you, Michael. You may be gone, but you’re still not forgotten by the legions of beer hunters you inspired across the globe.