Did you toast Michael Jackson at 6 p.m. tonight (PDT). I did, so did a whole lot of people around the Bay Area.
A waitress at Barclays on College Avenue said about 100 people hoisted glasses. “Can’t talk any longer,” she said. “There was a street fair on College today and we’re slammed. The place is jammed,” she said.
At the Bistro in Hayward, Kevin, the bartender, said about 35 people showed up to toast the late, much loved bard of beer, who died Aug. 30 of a heart attack at his home in London. Michael had been diagosed with Parkison’s disease,but hid it extremely well, continuing to travel the world, carrying the word about great beer and whiskey and still working on books.
Folks at the Toronado in San Francisco said about 100 people toasted Michael, like the Bistro, the drink of choice was something Belgian.
Michael’s first book on the beers of Belgium, Great Beers of Belgium, in 1991 brought the world of traditional Belgian beer to the English-speaking world, especially to those of us in the isolated New World.
He contributed so much to the cause of great beer. So much has been said. A world wide toast was the least we could do.
Also, just wrote a check for $25 to the National Parkinson Foundation, Attn: Kay Houghton, 1501 N.W. 9th Avenue / Bob Hope Road, Miami, Florida, USA 33136-1494. So long as you write “Tribute to Michael Jackson” in the memo line, your donation will be attributed to this event. (Canadian participants are advised that the NPF also operates 5 Centers of Excellence in Canada and does issue tax receipts for all contributions, including those from Canada.)
Finally, a reader, Stuart, who’s a Michael Jackson fan, sends us this link from an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross. Check it out: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14154096
Oh yes, the beer I chose for the toast. Thought about it for a while. The most appropriate, I thought, might be Fuller’s London Pride or Fuller’s ESB, beers, I know, Michael always liked.
But I thought about the inspiration that he provided for lovers of good beer; he was so persuavive that people in perfectly good careers, dumped them to brew beer. One of those was Mark Ruedrich, who founded North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg, CA. on the Mendocino coast in 1988. He was a marine biologist before he made the great leap to brewing.
We can all be thanksfull he did it, because North Caost has produced some wonderful beers.
So I chose for the toast Old Rasputin 10th Anniversary Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout. At 11 percent it was a beer worthy, even of Michael Jackson.
As a tribute to his contributions, I drank it in a Chimay glass. Salud, Michhael and L’Cheim.