Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Frank Morris (#2): Hear the Beer.

RIP, Frank Morris (1947-2001)

The late writer and poet Frank Morris listening to the lingo of carbonation.

Tomorrow, I'm off to the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). I just wrote a preview article about the event for Denver Magazine. Frank helped brainstorm the very first GABF in Boulder 26 years ago. He also helped me develop a greater appreciation for -- and knowledge of -- the craft of beer. Because of him, whenever I open a liquor store beer cooler, I always bypass the first six pack of the brand I'll be buying and take the second one out from its place behind the first. Less light-struck, you know? Less of a chance for spoilage.

Here's Frank writing about the late beer writer Michael Jackson:


"Mr. Morris."

I'd recognize that cheerful Limey voice anywhere, even amid the white water baggage claim chaos of the world's fourth or fifth largest airport. I turned -- sure enough -- there was a slightly rumpled Michael Jackson peering through tortoise shell horn-rimmed glasses at me, relaxed and chipper in his off-white cotton summer suit. His swarthy eyes sparkled through a trace of jet lag vapor trail from his savage, ricocheting travel schedule. He was careening through roughly twice as many cities as days in updating the American microbrewery/brewpub section of his Pocket Guide to Beer. Michael's bright, inscrutably smiling face, characteristic tidy mustache & chin beard oval was wreathed round with vast curly hair. Dionysian mammal hair radiating right out of a '60s psychedelic Jimi Hendrix Experience poster -- visual wah wah from a steel pedal guitar out to here -- world class hair...

Mere mention of Michael among those familiar with his work brings to mind: travel, romance of place, peculiar local drinking customs, colorful characters and unique brewing processes. And always his impeccable, pithy attention to detail and genuinely debonair appreciation of the many kindnesses shown him along his way....

Michael gets around, and people tend to hang on The Bard of Beer's every word. They realize that beyond the knowledge, candor and sophistication lurks an English gentleman possessed of a wild, sly dog sense of humor that is raw & yet still elegant. Since my bat sonar is finely tuned to a crazy wisdom frequency, around this complex guy who has sold more books on beer in more languages than anyone ever -- and still humbly appreciates and respects his reader -- I too grow Prince Charles Ears!


I'll give a beer a listen for ya tomorrow at the GABF, Frank. Salute!

(Here's another photo of mine of Frank Morris, along with a fitting excerpt from one of his poems.)

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