A beer of the month club featuring beers hand-picked by Michael Jackson? Does The Gloved One live on with selections like Smooth Criminal Stout and Billy Jean’s Barleywine? A quick Google search gives a resounding “no,” but instead sheds light on one of the most influential figures in the craft beer world, British writer and journalist Michael Jackson. Beer nerds, take note: This Thursday, Arlington’s Regent Theatre will premiere filmmaker JR Richards’ new documentary on Jackson, “Beer Hunter: The Movie.”
At the event, special guest Tom Acitelli, author of “The Audacity of Hops: The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution,” will introduce the film and speak afterward on Jackson’s impact on American craft beer. The man with the famous name made his mark on the burgeoning beer scene with his 1977 landmark book “The World Guide to Beer,” the first of its kind to categorize every major style of beer. Regarded as a story-teller, Jackson approached the world of microbrews with a historical and cultural context previously unrecognized in the field. In 1993, he also launched his awesomely-named TV series “The Beer Hunter,” which was ahead of its time. Yes, docu-style reality shows were once a rarity. Jackson traveled the world documenting different beer traditions, like mine workers drinking low ABV beers on hots days to stay cool — traditions that are now a thing of the past as the workplace industry has shifted.
Essentially, Jackson did craft beer and reality TV before they were cool. This was before Heady for Pliny trades, before a beer didn’t count before clocking it on Untappd, and before the venerable beer blog. He was a man truly immersed in all aspects of worldly beer culture in a time where the term “craft beer” was unheard of by many consumers.
“Beer Hunter: The Movie” follows Jackson throughout his trips across the US and Europe until his death in 2007. Featuring interviews with noted brewers such as Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione and Greg Koch of Stone Brewing, Beer Hunter is a look into the life and works of the OG of beer journalism.
Naturally, The Regent will serve beer from local Massachusetts breweries including Berkshire Brewing Company, Cisco Brewers, and Samuel Adams. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $8 in advance, $10 day of the show. For tickets and additional information, call 781-646-4849 or visit the theater’s website.