Wednesday, February 18, 2015

40 Beers for 40 Nights: A Lenten Sacrifice

My wife will tell you that I get a bit cynical about religious traditions that aren’t found in the bible (and even some that are). I grew up Catholic and as a kid  I just assumed Jesus told his followers that eating meat on Friday guaranteed eternal damnation. After years of fish sticks, I was surprised to learn that this is not even remotely true. Hell’s gates are in fact, not lined with those who ordered the Big Mac instead of the Filet O’ Fish on Friday. This is not the only part of my Catholic upbringing that made me the slightly-cynical, guilt-ridden man I am today, but that is another topic for another time.

When I was in Catholic School, I gave up something for Lent every year. I particularly recall giving up popcorn one year. Every time we ate popcorn at home I would instead eat Doritos. It was a real sacrifice and one of the reasons I was the fat kid in middle school. But, most years I did really give up something I couldn't replace with a pungent corn chip. Then, the meat lie came to light and had a direct impact on my view of Lent. In college I started giving up things like self-control, meth, church and re-runs of “Let’s Make a Deal.” College kids are hilarious.

I've let the tradition slide for the past few years, but decided to bring it back this year. However, instead of mocking the actual tradition of Lenten sacrifice which is a cruel and immature thing to do - I realize this now – I’m going to make a fun challenge out if it that forces me to actually write something every week. I’m calling it “40 Beers for 40 Nights” or “Giving Up Not Drinking a New Potentially Delicious Beer Every Night”. Here’s how it will work: It’s quite simple. Every night I will drink a different beer. Generally just one beer. On a Friday, Saturday or following particularly stressful evening, perhaps more but only one counts. I will chronicle the beers at the end of each week and hopefully pass along some insightful opinions as to what’s good and what’s just more expensive Bud Light with a pretty label. Either that, or I will come off sounding like a total beer-jerk hipster.  Hey, I have a beard now. This is the next logical step. The majority of the beers will be brews I’ve never tried before, but I’ll throw in some old favorites as well. I’ll do my best to get beers that aren’t ridiculously easy to procure. For example, today I bought four different kinds of beer only sold in Vermont from a guy I met on Craigslist. He did not murder or even rob me so the gamble paid off.

Beers I bought from a guy on Craigslist who didn't kill or rob me.

But wait! This a running blog.Yeah, whatever. I’m training for the Vermont City Marathon. This is part of the carbo-loading. If anything non-beer related and noteworthy happens while I’m out there doing endless laps of Central Park, I’ll let you know.

But wait! You have a pregnant wife at home. You can’t be sitting drinking delicious beer while she stares longingly at your frothy beverage! Not a problem. Lauren completely supports this plan. Originally, it called for me to go to a particular Manhattan bar every night on the way home from the office and work my way through their extensive menu. I modified the plan when I realized that going to a bar alone at midnight every night is sad, time-consuming, expensive and requires me to have my pants on well past my normal pants-removal deadline. I’ll be drinking the beer at home well after she goes to bed. I’m not sure if drinking at home alone, pantless watching Seinfeld re-runs in the dark is any less-pathetic than the bar scenario, but it sounds better to me.

First beer goes down tonight. 


  1. good luck jay. so brave of you. i'm sure you'll find no shortage of volunteers to help you.

  2. I wish I would've thought of this, and had a sweet hashtag to accompany it