There's another Michael Jackson. Not the Moonwalker or the KABC radio talk-show host, this Michael Jackson is an internationally recognized authority on the beers of the world. Dubbed in his native England as the Bard of Beer, his books, including "The New World Guide to Beer," have sold more than 1 million copies in 12 different languages. Jackson, 48, also is the host of a new six-part series, "The Beer Hunter," premiering Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on the Discovery Channel (and repeated Friday at 11:30 p.m.). Filmed in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, the United States and Canada, "The Beer Hunter" explores the pleasures and uses of beers, which Jackson discussed with Susan King.
How did you become one of the world's leading authorities on malt and beer?
It's something I have been writing pretty much full-time about for 16 years now. Before that, I was a general news reporter and feature writer and current affairs TV journalist for 16 years. When I was working as a regular journalist and traveling, I would sample beers and write about them whenever I could. About 15 years ago, it took over my life.
How did beer take over your life?
It was in the United States. An editor at Harper & Row in New York and I were having lunch. He was something of an Anglophile, and he was very taken with the British pubs and thought it was worth a study. By the end of the lunch he commissioned me to write a book. When I started writing about beer there were 45 brewing companies in the U.". Do you know how many there are now? Over 200. Do you know which state in the U.S. has the most breweries?