J. Wilson, a blogger from Adams County, Iowa, is giving up solid food for Lent, as he investigates and old story about Paulaner monks who lived on beer and water only, during fasting periods.
Wilson, who has been a home beer brewer for more than 14 years, says he’s been considering testing the story of the Paulaner monks firsthand, for a few years now. According to old tales, this order of monks would use a dark, calorie-rich beer known as “liquid bread” to sustain themselves during fasting, when they weren’t allowed to consume solid foods.This happened in mid 16th century Germany, and no one really knows if this mysterious dopplebock ale actually replaced food, so Wilson is trying it out for himself.
Working with the guys at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, in West Des Moins, the young beer aficionado has created the Illuminator Dopplebock, which has 288 calories per 12-ounce pint, and an alcohol content of 6.67%. Lucky for J. Wilson, the state law has recently changed, allowing beer with more than 5% alcohol to be commercialized. He will consume four pints of Illuminator ale every day (around 1,200 calories) and a lot of water in between, to prevent dehydration.
While some say he’s mocking Lent and fasting with his unusual endeavor, and others envy him for the privilege of drinking beer all day long, J. Wilson says “It’s not a cavalier, silly stunt thing, I’m genuinely curious about the monks and that kind of thing.” He’s never even given up a chocolate bar for Lent, before, but now he’s given up all kinds of food to look for the truth.
Wilson began his beer and water diet last Wednesday and plans to stick to it until Easter, unless the doctor he’s working with tells him it’s too dangerous to carry on. He’s tried to put on some weight before in the last weeks, but over a month of beer and water alone could cause some serious health issues.
You can track J. Wilson’s progress on his blog – Diary of a part time monk.