Thursday, August 30, 2018

“Therein lies the joy.” Michael Jackson and the pub.

Michael Jackson
(27 March 1942 - 30 August 2007)

The pub is the place that children's fathers get shouted at by children's others for having dallied in. The pub is a landmark in conversation: something happened outside the Rose and Crown; turn left at the King Charles; park your car 100 yards past the Star and Garter. Pub is a three-letter word serves so many purposes. The pub is the place where there is a wooden trapdoor in the pavement. Sometimes, especially in the mornings, the trapdoor is opened, to receive casks, rolling down the ramp. On such occasions, the pub is a parking-place for boldly-painted trucks, and sometimes, horses pulling drays. (The London brewery of Young's is just one which has retained horse-power.*) The pub is the place where lights shine through translucent glass in the evenings, the doors swing open to exhale noisy conversation and beery smells. the pub is the place where stubble-chinned schoolboys sneak in plain clothes to prove their manliness; anyone can fool around with girls, but only real men drink in pubs.
— Michael Jackson. The English Pub: A unique social phenomenon.
London: Wm Collins & Sons, 1976.

For more than thirty years, British journalist Michael Jackson —affectionately known as The Beer Hunter— was a prolific author of influential books on beer (and whiskey), in which he firmly established the concept of beer type and beer style.

It has been eleven years since Mr. Jackson died and four decades since he published The English Pub, his first book. Pubs have changed; the beer industry has changed; beer historiography has changed; mores have changed. But the Beer Hunter's writing abides.
Those who love the institution will continue to investigate it. Because no two pubs are the same (despite the worst efforts of the big brewers), the search can never reach a conclusion. Therein lies the joy.

  • Photo via Mark Silva of Real Beer Page fame. On Flickr: here.
  • * Young's Ram Brewery closed in London on 25 September 2006. Until its closure, shire horses were still used for local deliveries of beer to locations within a mile or two of the brewery. To this day, Samuel Smith's Brewery, in Tadcaster, UK, continues to deliver its beer, within its hometown confines, by horse-drawn drays.
  • Jackson died of complications related to Parkinson's Disease. Consider contributing to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, in Jackson's name. Or, at no cost, link your PC or Mac into Folding@Home, a distributed computing campaign run by Stanford University: a network of thousands of home computers working to to understanding protein (mis)folding and thus cures for, or defenses against, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, Cystic Fibrosis, Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (Mad Cow disease), inherited Emphysema, Dengue Fever, Chagas Disease, Zika, Hepatitis C, Ebola, and several cancers, including breast and kidney cancer.

  • For more from YFGF:

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