Lent is a time of preparation for Easter, and many people make some type of “resolution” as a matter of discipline to prepare themselves for Easter. They may give something up for the 40 days of Lent, or they may do something extra. (By the way, Lent technically lasts 46 days but Sundays are supposed to be joyful even in this somber season, so they aren’t counted as part of Lent). There are two beer-related Lenten practices that come up regularly, and both of them are difficult practices that require great discipline.
1. Don’t Drink Any Beer for Lent
One of my friends did this in college and it was an un-enviable feat, I think especially due to the fact that we were in college. Our school’s winter carnival (a five day long party in the snow) often took place in Lent, and Lent always includes St. Patrick’s day. It’s not easy to give something up when all of your friends are enjoying it. That type of discipline is what Lent is all about, though.
2. Drink Only Beer For Lent
This has to be the more difficult of the two. It is said that their is a history of monks living off of beer for the entirety of Lent. These beers weren’t Miller Lite, though – they were thick, heavy, dark beers with some nutritional value to them.
In 2011 a man in Iowa home brewed a whole lot of Dopplebock and survived off of it for the entirety of Lent. Only one single type of beer, and water. For 46 days. His motives weren’t so much spiritual as historical and experimental, but it makes for an interesting story. In fact, I find it interesting that he experimented with practice of Catholic monks during a Catholic liturgical season when he exhibits a certain anti-Catholicism in his writings, but to each his own. You can read about his experience here.
Do you have a beer-related Lenten promise this year? What is it?