The Right Lager or Ale for Seasonal Observance

Lent is a time for somber reflection, fasting and repentance, but does that mean that the devout have to forgo their favorite beverage? In the tradition of fasting, drinking “liquid bread” is not only allowed, but appropriate during the Lenten season.


In Munich, brewers hold true to this tradition by creating strong spring beers inspired by Doppelbock, a beer fashioned by Roman Catholic monks which was specifically designed for liquid fasting during lent. In the seventeenth century, Minim friars created this strong malty beverage that was dense enough to be considered a nutritious meal during fasting. This beer is double strong, hence the name “doppelbock.”

The most popular Doppelbock is named Salvator, Latin for savior. Many breweries end their Doppelbocks with “or,” such as Thomas Hooker Liberator and Duck- Rabbit Duck- Rabbitor.

Fish Friday

Beer is not reserved for liquid fasting during Lent. Throughout the Lenten season, Friday is a day to abstain from red meat and poultry. Shrimp, catfish, salmon and lobster can all be paired with the right beer.

Fried Seafood

Fried seafood, Salmon and Talapia can be dished up with a Pilsner, IPA or Wheat Ale. Pilsners are lagers that are very light in color. They are known to be rich in hops and embrace a prominent a bitter taste. A floral aroma is a trademark for this beer style. Live Oak Pilz from the Live Oak Brewing Company is an example of a Czech Pilsner.

Indian Pale Ales, or IPAs, were created for British troops stationed in India in the late 18th century. Because this beer had to travel long distances it was higher in hops, a natural preservative. English IPAs now have lower alcohol content, thus causing brewers to change the hop-malt ratio. American IPAs are preferred by many beer enthusiasts for their traditional strong hops and citric bitterness. They are golden in color, as oppose to the straw hue of a Pilsner. An example of an American IPA is the Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale.

The American Pale Wheat Ale is a highly carbonated ale. This beer style is less hoppy and has moderate bitterness compared to IPAs and Pilsners. Wheat Ales are often garnished with a lemon wedge, thus making them a perfect complement to fish. An example of a Wheat Ale would be Samuel Adams Summer Ale.

Crab Lobster and Oysters

Rich seafood, such as crab, lobster and oysters can be accented by an Irish Dry Stout or Porter such as Founders Porter and Murphy’s Irish Stout. This demonstrates the pairing of a heavy food with a heavy beverage the same way red wine is served with red meat.

Drinking beer does not diminish the somberness of the season, and can be done respectfully and responsibly. Whether you’re practicing a liquid fast or eating fish on Friday, beer can still be part of your Lenten diet.

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