Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Interesting but not recommended: Beer Fast

For those of you who are of age, here is a story I came across about an interesting ancient (though isolated) monastic practice during Lent: a beer-only diet. Yes, seriously.
An American blogger has pledged to live only off beer during Lent.
Following the ancient tradition of Bavarian monks who brewed stronger beer during the Lenten fast in order to subsist on an almost entirely liquid diet, J Wilson will spend the 46 days of the Lenten period drinking only beer. The young man, who writes about beer on the internet and claims never to have done a Lenten fast in his life, will drink bockbier, which was originally brewed by the Paulaner monks in Munich.
The beer is a strong, dark, malty lager and is known as liquid bread. Traditionally, it was brewed by the monks for the periods of fasting in Lent and Advent. Mr Wilson has brewed his own bock-bier for the project.
He wrote: “I have a genuine love for beer, and am very drawn to the rich history it carries. Forty-six days is a long time without food. But if the the Paulaner brothers could do it under the guidance of God, I should be able to as well. A spiritual journey of this nature is no laughing matter, and I very much look forward to sharing it with you.”
Hmmm.... "The beer is a strong, dark, malty lager and is known as liquid bread." Wow. Intense. I've heard of people giving up beer for Lent, but this? This is nuts. I'm gonna chock this up to "interesting, but not recommended."

There is actually still a German brewing company called "Paulaner," and it has as its roots, the Minims, a religious order founded by St. Francis of Paola in 1436. The Minim friars in Munich, Germany established a brewery in the 17th century and, on holidays, sold their product to those outside the friary. It became very popular. In 1799, the Munich friary was closed but the friary's brewery was bought by a businessman and continued to produce beer. This company continues as the modern-day Paulaner brand in Germany. The brand derives its name from Francis of Paola and the company's logo (above) still features the image of a Minim friar.