Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fasting on (Liquid) Bread and Water

Many of the great ales of Europe originate in monastic breweries, and one of the purposes of those thick, malty brews was to help sustain the monks through periods of fasting. Odd as drinking beer while fasting may sound to modern American ears, when beer is seen mostly as a recreational drink, beer was drunk daily (often even at breakfast) in the pre-modern world as a nourishing and relatively disease-free quaff rather than an intoxicant. (Though goodness knows, a slight buzz doubtless brightened the day of many a peasant when the beer barrels were full. You need to find your job perks where they are.)

Homebrewer and beer-blogger J Wilson is tapping-into this tradition by setting out to fast on beer and water for the entirety of Lent this year, drinking a doppelbock modeled on German brews that originated in monasteries. (The most widely available of these is Pauliner's Salvator) You can follow his project at Diary of a Part-Time Monk.


cyurkanin said...

Great find, something tells me that when the old monkish digestive tracts began their work on this diet it was hard to find absolute silence. Hope his family is prepared for the nocturnal sighs lol

Anonymous said...

I like J Wilson. I had never heard of him until I read this posting, but I already like him.


mrsdarwin said...

I think this is a worthy undertaking, but what does he say when he gets pulled over?

Mrs. Zummo said...

I think the monks mostly drank the less alcoholic and more sustaining small beer. So the effect might be different.

Brandon said...

The Minims in Germany were famous for their Bock, which is certainly much stronger than small beer. (And, notably, the Minims had a special vow to observe a very strict Lenten fast every day, in and out of Lent itself.) But, of course, it probably varied from place to place; it's difficult to imagine any German in the early modern period not preferring a strong, thick beer, monk or not.

This is quite cool; and I was just thinking about this yesterday.