Brewer's Blog

Inspiration is where you find it...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jimi Hendrix in a 1969 interview shortly after Woodstock:

Interviewer: So Jimi, what's it like to be the best guitarist in the world?

Jimi: I dunno, ask Rory Gallagher.

I've been thinking a lot about this quote lately.  It's been an odd year, with Half Pints growing and really showing no signs of slowing down, it's easy to lose the inspiration that makes the brewing aspect of the business fun and simply get bogged down in daily routines.

Jimi's honest answer to the "greatest guitar player in the world" got me thinking about the people and breweries that I originally drew inspiration from.

One of those folks was Michael Jackson.  No, not the glove wearing, burning hairspray Pepsi commercial guy.

The Beer Hunter: the REAL Michael Jackson (as far as I'm concerned).

I wonder sometimes who Michael looked up to when he wrote his first book about beer way back in the day.  Was he crazy for some wine writer or was it the poetry of a drunken bar fly with his belt lashed to the brass that inspired him to inspire so many brewers to plainly be better at what they do?

Lo and behold, up pops a thread over on Beer Advocate about helping to fund a documentary about Michael and his work as the world's foremost beer writer, before his untimely death in 2007.

When I think about his writing style (pre-internet and its associated buffoonery) I'd have to say it was a simpler time.  He gave breweries and brewers a chance regardless of preconceived notions or personal opinions.  He was a JOURNALIST after all.  Just the facts: here's what the beer tastes like to me.  Was it good, yes.  Was he interested in who was the "greatest brewer or brewery in the world", I dare say no.  In his world, it seems that there was room for everyone, regardless of hype, marketing or rarity.

I never met the man, my only claim to Michael fame being the fact that he sat not less that 20 feet from my current brewing equipment when it was still installed at Brandywine Brewing back in Wilmington, Delaware.  Having said that, you still end up with a sense of the man through his writing that makes you think he'd be an interesting guy to have over for Sunday dinner with your mom.

If I had met him, I suppose the feeling would have been a little odd, much like my meeting with another beer writer at the Great Canadian Beer Festival a few years back.  I treated him like I knew him, even though we'd never met.

To me, that's the sign of a good writer!  Small glimpses of personal anecdotes peppered with liberal additions of actual FACTS tend to make people pay more attention than the "this is crap cause I don't like +/or understand it" mentality of beer knurds around the interwebs.

So what's the point of all this rambling?

Inspiration truly is where you find it.

Be it in the sweeping curve of an old guitar or the blue sky over an ancient canyon:

1919 Gibson Style O at AJ's in Henerson, NV

Red Rock Canyon, NV

For the beer we'll brew tomorrow, it was the history of our province, the background of its people and the weave of a sash.  Simple, yes but the challenge is there and we're inspired enough to overcome it.

In a few weeks, you can try it for yourself and see if we hit the target or need to get back to the range.

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