Sunday, August 25, 2013

Beer Hunter: The Movie screening at Republic Seven Corners (Minneapolis, MN)

Michael Jackson drinking Malheur on screen
While not completely a JFK or 9/11 moment, I do remember when I read that Michael Jackson had died. I never had the opportunity to meet the less famous Michael, but I felt a deep sense of loss. Like many beer geeks, I learned a lot from reading Michael's rambling, insightful style. I even joined the Rare Beer Club during the last year that he chose the selections, ending my membership a few months after his death.  While the decision was mostly due to logistical reasons, I think, in all honesty, I lost heart when it felt that it wasn't really Michael Jackson's Rare Beer Club anymore.

When I saw an advertised  screening of Beer Hunter: The Movie at the Republic Seven Corners, I felt powerfully drawn to this documentary. Walking in, Alvey and the Four Firkins guys did a great job hosting. Free cheese to snack on the way in with a short draft of Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout (featured in the movie). Two FF employees set up the screening as a labor of devotion to Michael. After a short delay for technical difficulties, the movie played on a large screen on the end of a back room of the bar. The waiters discreetly and efficiently refilled beers and delivered orders from the special food menu. Plus, the 15 minute intermission, planned in the film I think, was well appreciated and an opportunity for more silent auction bids to benefit Parkinson's research. I did not bid but did my part by drinking $4 drafts of a donated keg of London Pride, the proceeds also going for research.

Four Firkins event poster
Concentrating on a two year period of Michael's travels in 2004-5, I simply enjoyed this documentary and took few notes. Sipping on a beer while watching this life history unfold, I was enraptured and no real judge of the film. I suspect it's not going to win an Oscar; however, I will be ordering a copy to watch again at home. One line that got a big laugh and encapsulates Michael's attitude was "Moderation is ok as long as it is in moderation." Following a short rant by Michael on not wanting to take advice about everything that's bad for you, the quote captures how driven he was to enjoy and advocate for beer, whiskey and living life with friends.

Following the film, Mark Stutrud of Summit told of his experiences with Michael. Clearly affected by talking of Michael again, Mark led us in a toast to Michael using Summit's Great Northern Porter, which was the cover picture on the 2nd edition of Michael Jackson's World Guide to Beer. Overall, the entire experience was a well planned and watching the film was greatly enhanced by their efforts.

Claims that Michael Jackson created beer styles or helped birth the craft beer movement have seem overblown to me in the past. Ironically, according to the film, beer was truly a passion because whiskey paid more bills than beer did in his career. However, in watching the film, the paradigm shifting impact that was Michael's writing and personality is made clear in the filmbut not in a manner that's bragging or arrogant. With the natural "film is always rolling" presentation of the documentary, Michael's love and connection with beer people is apparent. While I had no interaction besides reading his articles, Michael's passion seemed to be infectious and he clearly inspired those who had direct contact with him.

In writing this post, it only seems right to refer to Michael as Michael and not Mr. Jackson or his full name. I write this post as a friend that he never met. Today, oddly, Michael Jackson and my father have a similar place in my heart. Each taken before the job was complete, I wish I could have shared my passion and a great craft beer with both. Sharing the day (and fries) with Al, I also recognized a number of beer people that have been a part of my journey at both screenings (Four Firkins posted pictures). I'm not the only one with such reverence for the ungloved Michael. Cheers Michael and thanks for everything you did to make our beer world what it is today and what it will be tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment