To Chris Schryer, beer is a hobby, a passion and a side job. And for the 40 days of Lent, it is also virtually the only thing keeping him alive.
“I look pretty healthy now, but by the end of the 40 days my wife figures I’ll look like a castaway on account of my bushy beard,” said Mr. Schryer on Monday, soon after finishing off the pint of ale comprising his afternoon snack.
Since March 5, Mr. Schryer, a 33-year-old Toronto web designer, has sworn off all solid food in favour of an all-beer diet.
And as Lenten fasts go, this is the real deal: Mr. Schryer is a devout Anglican at Toronto’s Church of St. Aidan and even got Reverend Lucy Reid to bless the 100 litres of German lager sustaining him until Easter.
Replacing food with beer, it turns out, is more a test of “spiritual discipline” than one might assume.
“Without being dramatic, it definitely is not fun; it’s challenging. Every meal time there’s challenge,” said Mr. Schryer, who has remained the primary cook for his wife and two children.
For three weeks, Mr. Schryer has started each day with a bottle of strong beer for breakfast, another beer for lunch and a large 650 ml bottle of beer for dinner.
Midway through the afternoon, he also drinks what he calls his “work” beer; one of the many brews he periodically reviews for his beer-based website, TorontoBeerBlog.com.
In between he keeps hydrated with a steady intake of watered-down juice and other “clear” liquids. “No dairy, no ‘nectars,’ no protein shakes or smoothies, etc.” he writes on his blog.
Virtually all of Mr. Schryer’s beer intake comes from a single 100-litre batch of doppelbock prepared specially at Toronto’s Amsterdam Brewing Co.
The choice of doppelbock was deliberate; it is a German lager ranked as among the world’s heaviest beers and imbued with just enough nutrients to stave off starvation.
“I would definitely be emaciated without the beer; the caloric value is just incredible,” he said.
Mr. Schryer estimates the German lager is providing him with 2,000 calories per day; just below the 2,350 to 2,600 calories Health Canada recommends.