Day 38

What was a fleeting thought in the afternoon yesterday, became my strategy; that is, I decided to do all my drinking by 6 p.m., as this is an exceedingly busy week for me at work and I needed to be well-rested when I showed up today.

This was no small task. Since I refilled my CO2 tank a couple of weeks ago, I decided to stop hauling the heavy beast back and forth from home to work and back each day. I’ve been toting growlers instead. And the day before yesterday I thought I had more on hand at the house than I did, and left myself lacking my new 7 a.m. breakfast beer (since I’ve decided to bump up to five beers every day). I arrived at work and poured myself a glass of morning sunshine, but didn’t have time to finish it–I had back-to back appointments which ruined my life until nearly 11 a.m. I punched back the dregs of beer number one when I hit my desk and found myself woefully behind. To finish by 6 p.m. and stay solid for work took effort.

I am a champion, however, and this goal was defeated like Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series.

Weary, I snagged myself a two-hour nap, relaxed with my champion offspring while watching a movie, and then retired to my sleeping chamber with my champion wife. Parched, I took two sips of water between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Somehow, I had to use the facilities at 12:23 a.m. and again at 3:30 a.m., but those were welcome disruptions following my recent trend of four pees per night.

I awoke refreshed, pounded a tall glass of water and poured myself the breakfast of champions. Because that’s what I do now.


Day 37

Though I’ve gained a half pound each of the last two days (currently sitting at 140 pounds), I’ll admit that I’m flipping tired. On one hand this could be attributed to the fact that I’ve been going without food for 37 days, but on the other, far more realistic, hand, it’s because I consume so bloody much liquid each day that no matter how well I empty my tank before turning in for the night, I still wake up four times (midnight, 2 a.m., 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.) to pee.

I’m not getting enough rest.

I can fight my way through a productive day at work, but the fact is, I’m weary. It’s tempting to stop imbibing at about 6 p.m. tonight, just so I might ensure an opportunity to sleep the whole night through. I’m sure my kidneys will complain, but I’m thinking it’s worth a shot.

Day 36

It was the worst of times. It was the best of times.

Hindsight was 20/20 on both occasions, but this little monk experiment has shed an even more interesting nuance to the light. A couple of years ago, Michelle and I took a weekend trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota, so I could judge beers at the Upper-Mississippi Mashout. She came along for company, beer, fun and yoga classes.

At the time, I was working the kitchen of our snazzy little burrito joint, and we were busy as all get out the two days before our planned 2 p.m.-on-Friday departure. I had prepped ahead and been slammed and to catch up; I simply found myself unable to get around to eating lunch or dinner on both the Thursday and Friday of this week. We had a few small snacks in the car and headed north to check out Worth Brewing Company. We figured on having dinner there. As it turned out, this 10-gallon batch size brewery wasn’t a full-blown brewpub, as their menu was limited to a series of appetizers. I hadn’t eaten much and my dinner plan didn’t truly fill me up.

We found a motel and crashed. I noshed a couple of complimentary waffles the next morning before setting off off to judge, while Michelle sought out a day’s worth of back-to-back-to-back yoga classes. This was a really good competition, one of the biggest in the country, and I judged two of the best flights of my life. But the lunch was lackluster, and I needed something to soak up all the beer that I was consuming.

By the time Michelle picked me up at the conclusion of my day, I was feeling rough. I wasn’t drunk, just inappropriately saturated. We went to Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery for dinner and one more beer. I ordered a cask Scotch ale,  quit about halfway down, and ate very little of my food. I just couldn’t. I just felt rotten.

Not enough food on too much beer.

A year or so later, the girl of my dreams and I descended upon Madison, Wisconsin, for the Great Taste of the Midwest. I was better fueled on that trip. We hit the Great Dane for a pre-festival lunch, and I stumbled across what is now my favorite pre-drinking meal. It was the Great Dane’s Brat & Bacon Pretzel Burger: a one-third pound USDA choice ground beef patty and a one-quarter pound bratwurst patty grilled with caramelized onions and topped with Applewood smoked bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, pickles and tomato, served on a pretzel roll with a side of their Peck’s Pilsner mustard.

Top that, Ronald McDonald.

This burger was the monster base layer that a semi-professional beer drinker needs to sustain himself through a day of heavy sampling. We went to the festival and I felt like a champion the whole time, including the next morning. That brat-topped love burger has become one of my heroes.

So when I set out on this fast journey, I was quite concerned that I would be, to quote Chris Cornell, “feeling Minnesota.” Not so. It’s been an illuminating experience in more ways than one, and this little story of doppelbock being the liquid bread that sustained these seventeenth century monks surely holds water.

Moderation is the key. Pace. But that doesn’t make it any less amazing.

And it doesn’t make me any less interested in a brat and bacon burger, let my honest, sinning, human self tell you.

Day 35

So I’ve taken a couple of days to decide for sure what it is that I’ve been feeling. I must be at another stage of the game here, because I can now admit to experiencing mild hunger, something that has gone unnoticed, basically, since Day 3. Yesterday, I wasn’t sure if that was what it was or not, but today I decided to confirm my suspicion.

There’s something else I’ve been noticing over the last couple of days. It used to be that if I went four or five hours without a beer, that I could feel a little weakness, shakiness and if pressed without action, a little sweat. It was my blood sugar, rectified in about 10 minutes by a few pulls of my trusty Illuminator.

What’s happening is that the time span seems to be narrowing. I “need” a beer a little sooner. Moreover, I had previously not noticed this at all first thing in the morning, having lain quite still overnight–doing nothing except sleep and take four trips to the bathroom. Today, I could feel that shakiness straight away. I think my body’s ready for meat.

With less than two weeks to go, I’ve found myself at a crossroads. At the beginning, I had acquired four sixth-barrel kegs (5.23 gallons each) of Illuminator with one on deck in case I needed it. Since I killed Number 2 a day or two before the halfway point, I knew that Number 5 might be necessary, though I considered scaling back to four beers on the weekends to end at a fairly even point. Not a good idea, I decided. I definitely need that sustenance, so starting today, I’m going to dent Number 5, so it knows what it got into, by drinking five beers per day from this point forward. I’m too short on nourishment to do anything but add to it–especially when I have just the right remedy at my fingertips!

I’ll finish a few pints above 21 gallons for the duration of the project, and then toss a few back with my brother-in-law Kyle when we smoke a little pork on April 30. I’ll be ready for a doppelbock (especially with pulled pork as an accompaniment) after a seven-day break, for sure.

Finally, I keep forgetting to mention my weight. 140 yesterday and 139 today.

Cheers, all!

Day 34

“Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that’s a tough call. That’s rebellion.”

-Alice Cooper

Isn’t that the truth? All one must do to be a crazy beer drinker is fall in with a group of crazy beer drinkers. If his personality sucks, he just finds a different, more like-minded group of beer drinkers.

But to be a Christian, that takes serious cajones. Because some Christians have earned Christians a bad name. Me, I struggle with the narrow-minded, pharasitic, types. And the teetotalers. They rough up a good thing and drive people away. Too bad. There’s so much good stuff on offer.

It takes discipline to be one.

Much like being gay takes a thick skin, being a Christian in a rascally world is no small task. Gotta be tough. Monks employ a discipline that few could muster. Gotta give ’em credit. But to be a monk in the world–that’s even tougher, or at least a different brand of tougher. Not everyone could be a monk, but those who call themselves Christians simply should strive to be a monk in the world.

It’s a higher level of responsibility, difficult, and it’s not for everyone.

Alice is right. It’s rebellion.

Day 33

Greetings from Day 33! Here’s a short video update.

Day 32

Today, a picture will be your thousand words. I spent my entire morning in the kitchen making gado gado for Michelle to serve for lunch at the retreat she hosted at her studio. Hard not to lick my fingers along the way, but I survived.

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