Thirsty Thursday–To Michael Jackson

Ken’s Maple Black Walnut Mead

It’s a sad day in world of beer. Michael Jackson has passed.

I can’t say as I’ve had the opportunity to meet this beer guru, and it would be beyond pointless for me to wax philosophically on his contributions. I can only sit here and stare reflectively and respectfully at this man’s beer wisdom, writing, and, is it blasphemy to use the word discipleship? Go to Lew Bryson or All About Beer for inspiring firsthand accounts.

It made sense for me to drink something special today. Unfortunately, I live in a rural place where one can’t just run to the corner store and pick up a Thomas Hardy to pay tribute. Instead, I went to my cellar to find something good. Oddly, I came up with a mead, rather than a beer or a Scotch whisky.

I guess it’s fair to say there’s some explaining to do, since Jackson’s distinguished himself in the realms of beer and whisky. Suffice it to say that no matter how great I think my homebrews are, and whatever the coolness factor of anything commercial I might have tucked away for a vertical or a special occasion, they just didn’t measure up. They weren’t appropriate. They weren’t good enough. They weren’t special.

The mead was a gift from my good friend Ken Hilton. He’s a stellar homebrewer. He took the Carolina Brewer of the Year title in 2005, and is currently in the running for Meadmaker of the Year. I guess he needed something else to be great at. More importantly, this dude is just a good guy. I’ve been saving this bottle of Maple Black Walnut Mead since Christmas. I thought I’d drink it on my birthday. I was wrong.

This was made for Michael Jackson Day. I shared it with my wife, Michelle; my brother-in-law, Kyle; and my new beer buddy, Jimmy. Kyle and Jimmy weren’t familiar with Michael Jackson, so I had to lay down some background. And I had to explain Ken, as well. They didn’t know it, but Michael Jackson impacted them.

The mead was soft and delicious, as I’d known it would be. It was worthy. We raised our glasses…

To Michael Jackson!


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