Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi-Gras, Lent, and beer.

Today is Mardi-Gras. Originally, it was a moment to clean out your cupboards of all perishables that were restricted during Lent. Certain meats, greasy foods, dairy, eggs etc. were all part of the food stuffs with limited shelf life that had to be eaten. Some countries, such as England, have the tradition to make pancakes, others have much larger celebrations to mark the last day before the austerity of Lent. Any reason to celebrate is good, having no reason probably the best one. If you have to eat all those goodies, why not make it fun?
Tonight, my family will feast on crepes, with fresh fruits, ice cream and hot chocolate sauce. I think I will have a good beer with that, debating between a Chimay Grande Reserve or a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout...

Not that I will give up beer for lent. On the contrary, I will try to emulate the strict observance of the Trappist and Cistercian monks. "Ora et labora, Work and pray" is the motto they live by. But during lent, when their calorie intake through food severely decreases, a kosher supplement is needed so the monks can continue their rigorous schedule of manual labor keeping up the monastery grounds and prayers. This left them with only one solution: a good, strong brew. Their best and heaviest beers were reserved for all the monks during Lent.
So in company of those holy men, I will be drinking my best beers in the following 40 days, not forgetting the work and pray part in this period of reflection.

So whether or not you observe Lent, it is a good period to drink a great brew, and to reflect on all we have. Cheers!