| Beer, No Food
by Larry Howard
This may sound a bit crazy to you and your readers but for the five
days leading up to New Year's Eve, I subsisted on nothing but beer.
Not quite sure why I did it but it seemed like a fun, silly thing to do to
end 2017. I doubt if you'll find this "diet" recommended in the pages
of any legitimate healthy/fitness book. I did however see it
mentioned in a couple of online beer forums and also read some-
where on BeerNexus about the 16th-century Paulaner monks of
Bavaria, who legendarily fasted during Lent by drinking nothing but
doppelbock they brewed themselves.
I did some quick research and found the diet has been tried by many
in more contemporary times. One of the more recent examples was
an Iowa man named Jay Wilson who ago decided to follow almost
exactly in the monks' footsteps. He spent the 46 days before Easter
drinking nothing but doppelbocks brewed specially for him at his
local Rock Bottom Brewery. He said he found myself "operating in a
tunnel of clarity unlike anything I'd ever experienced." Mr. Wilson
claimed his purpose was entirely religious, though he also reported
a loss of 25 pounds. You guessed it - the weight loss was what really
got me into it. Think about it - weight loss and irresponsible
indulgence together.. Who could resist that?
My first day of the diet was terrifying. Food for me is a primary
pleasure; a good meal is something I look forward to; Its absence
threw my body's internal reward system into something approaching
panic. I discovered that the primary quality of a beer diet is not
drunkenness but hunger. My problem was now apparent: how could I
ingest enough substantive calories to live on, without also drinking
myself into sickness and oblivion?
The ancient monks most likely drank beer made with inefficient
yeast, resulting in a low-alcohol brew thickened with unfermented,
malty wort. Nothing like those beers exists today, when doppelbocks
top 9 percent alcohol. And so I was left seeking a holy grail of high
gravity, high calories and low alcohol.
That first day I drank saisons and sour beers from my home fridge
before finally going out for a pint of higher-calorie milk stout. In all, I
ingested maybe 900 calories, and was famished. I felt and slept
terribly, Through more trial and error it turned out the solution to the
problem was to drink dessert stouts: chocolate stouts, peanut butter
stouts and stouts made with unfermented milk sugar
For four days I lived mostly on 22-ounce bottles of Samuel Smith
chocolate stout. At only 5 percent alcohol, each bottle contains a
whopping 400 calories and 4 grams of protein, otherwise in short
supply in beer. It is delicious, in the way a chocolate protein shake
can be delicious but I also learned it's possible to have too much of
a good thing.
I did make it the full five days, that's if you don't count the pizza I had
at the end of day four and the bowl of Cheerios on day three. Yes, I
did pour milk stout on them.
Looking back on the experience I would never do it agin or
recommend anyone try it. It was a really dumb idea even if I did lose
12 pounds. As for an unintended consequence of my diet, well, I
never even want to hear the words "chocolate stout" again.
Many thanks Larry for one of the most unique articles ever sent here.
I probably I enjoyed reading it far more than you enjoyed doing it
though I could be talking into trying the diet for at least a day. I admire
your spirit of experimentation and sense of humor.
Many thanks for sharing with us - please write again.
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about anything
related to beer in any way just as Larry did. I select the best and
publish them here. So join in and get writing!
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