Thursday, September 03, 2020

In Memory of Jack Curtin: A Beer Writer and His Work

Jack Curtin passed away on August 30, 2020. Here is a link to his obituary.

John Thompson, coach of the Georgetown Hoyas, passed away one day later on August 31 and I'm sure Jack is needling him endlessly now about the 1985 Villanova championship victory over his team. Coincidentally, esteemed beer writer/journalist Michael Jackson died on August 30 back in 2007. Curtin may be uncomfortable with me putting the two names in the same paragraph, but I think it's fair enough.

Nothing lasts forever and the Internet is not the answer. Often we hear that "it's never gone forever; it can always be found on the internet". Maybe if you have some high-level clearance. Maybe if the media company that hosted your work doesn't obliterate its history and reorganize its publicly available content. Maybe if the pages of content were cached or indexed or whatever it's called in tech speak.

Take my work on the Washington Times website between 2010-2013. (Yeah, in case you're not familiar, I'm that guy Jack referred to as the guy who "parlayed it all in to a job writing for the Moonies, a distinction no other blogger has achieved"; I blush!) I challenge you to find any of the 91 articles I'd written for them. Generally, it was pretty good stuff if I may say so and imagine it played a role in later getting a book deal. Fortunately, for my own pleasure if no one else's, I saved PDF versions of the live web pages when they were active. But, I digress.

Curtin's content may or may not be lost and, if it is, that would be a real shame. I, for my part, will do what I can to help preserve it. His blog content archive is mostly unavailable at this time, work for Mid-Atlantic Brewing News and Celebrator may or may not be-I haven't checked, and earlier work certainly falls under the too-early-in-the-internet days exemption.

I've long contended that Jack's blend of news and fact with comedy and curmudgeon, as well as making sure that the story was as much about beer as a product as it was about the place it was made and the people making it, is what made his writing so compelling and drove many of us back to read his next take on whatever what was happening in his corner of the beer world.

He even wove his beer buddies into the stories (I'm sure you'll recall, if you'd been a regular reader of his, the stories of The Big One, The Other One, The Inevitable One, and other sidekicks along the way to searching out and reporting on great beer, people, and events).

With that as a backdrop, I present to you the kickoff (and maybe a bit of a breath of fresh air into this blog largely neglected here in 2020; thanks Jack!) of a series with a yet-to-be-determined number of posts related to Jack's work. I may not do this exactly properly since I'm kind of making this format up as I go, but in lieu of other electronic preservation of his work, recognition and honor to his work over many years is pretty much my lone objective. I have at least 5 pieces of his work in printed format that I can begin 5 individual postings and we'll see where it goes from there.

I hope you enjoy this look back on Jack's career in beer writing (yeah, when it spans around 20-ish years, it's a career, no matter how many other avenues he pursued, often simultaneously, as well) and hope that you'll chime in with comments and/or share through your own social networks.

© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2020. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at

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