Pete Brown Surveys Beer Writing, Also Finds It Boring…

In the new issue of Brewery History, one dedicated to celebrating the late beer writer Michael Jackson, British beer writer Pete Brown writes the introductory article and in the process a chord familiar to readers of this site. The article also lays out the size of the footprint left by Jackson. Having spent several days in his archive in Oxford, there is a lot to Jackson’s story that has not yet been told. If I have time today, I’ll try and post a few tidbits gleaned from my research. Here’s the cutaway from Pete Brown’s story:

Now I’m getting things off my chest, I have a second shameful confession: as a beer writer, I actually find a substantial chunk of beer writing a little boring. As Jeff Evans tells us here, Michael set the template for much modern beer writing when he gave us The World Guide to Beer in 1977. Twenty years later, when a callow adman tried to learn something about beer, that template had become somewhat debased. Trawls of bookshops (often bargain shops full of remaindered stock) yielded a shelf full of books that had copied Michael’s format slavishly, repeated it, and not done it quite as well. It all seemed a bit samey, a bit rigid and narrow. Read one book that had chapters on the brewing process, beer’s ingredients, then a gazetteer of great beers form
around the world, and you’ve read ’em all. Or so I believed.

Of course he goes on to describe, within the confines of the magazine issue, why beer writing is anything but boring. I look forward to reading the issue.

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