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This U.S. Army vet is giving up everything for Lent…except beer

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This U.S. Army vet is giving up everything for Lent…except beer (Image courtesy of Del Hall)

When most Christians observe Lent, the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter, they choose something (or multiple somethings) of personal import to forgo for the duration. Some people give up coffee or soda, while others might choose to quit smoking or drinking. For the third year in a row, a craft brewery owner in Ohio says he’s giving up everything for Lent - except beer - and he’s using his notoriety to raise money to help bar and restaurant employees in his area that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Del Hall, 45, of Cincinnati, Ohio, says his doctor tried to talk him out of going through with his beer-only Lenten fast two years ago when he came up with the idea.

“She said ‘You’re an idiot if you do this,’ but she knows how strong-willed I am,” Hall said during an interview. “I filmed the whole thing kind of like a documentary, and once she knew I was determined to see this through, she recommended I take multi-vitamins, stay hydrated, and she told me not to do anything stupid.”

Hall gave up all solid food but augments his beer diet with black coffee, herbal tea and “about a gallon of water a day,” he said.

Hall said he was first inspired to undertake his Lenten beer-diet by the Bavarian monks of the 1600s who banished all solid food during their Lenten fast and replaced it with hearty dopplebock beer, rich in sugars and carbs.

“I wanted to myth-bust that legend and put it to the test,” Hall told me.

Hall is a U.S. Army veteran and co-owner of 16 Lots Brewing Company in Mason, Ohio, located about 30 minutes outside of Cincinnati. At 6’3” and weighing in somewhere in the 290s, Hall describes himself as “a big fella” but said he’s never felt better than he did following his initial Lenten beer-diet in 2019.

“I lost 44 pounds in 46 days and felt like a million bucks,” he said. “I only needed five hours of sleep, it’s crazy how good I felt just drinking beer.”

All of Hall’s markers of health improved, he said, including his blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

In 2020, Hall decided to push his beer diet up to a full 50 days, and lost 51 pounds in the process, 49 of which was body fat, he said. Hall decided to turn his second Lenten beer diet into a fundraiser for the diabetes foundation in his area and generated $10,000 in the process. The pandemic hit in the middle of his fast, making it difficult to collect the funds, he said.

One year later, as many food and beverage outlets everywhere are struggling to remain in operation, the beer lover says he’s determined to raise $50,000 to aid bar and restaurant employees in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky.

“We didn’t do as badly as a lot of other craft breweries but there’s been an impact,” Hall said of his bar, 16 Lots Brewing. “Overall in the U.S., draft craft beer is down 95%. People talk about how beer sales were up during the lockdown, but that’s mostly people buying beer in grocery stores. That accounts for about 50% of our business in any normal year. That’s why I decided to raise money for bars and restaurants that provide an on-premise drinking experience.”

Hall said he doesn’t put a limit on his daily beer consumption, choosing to “mostly go by feel.” He said he consumed a total of five beers the day before this interview.

After his 46-day beer diet is over, Hall said he will very gradually reintroduce solid food to his system. “You can’t just start eating solid food again when your system is only used to liquids,” he said.

When his first fast ended two years ago, Hall said he was at a craft beer festival in Atlanta and the soup stock bone broth he consumed at midnight was “the biggest letdown ever,” leading to what has become an end-of-fast tradition.

“I found a Mexican restaurant at 2:00 a.m. with the world’s best guacamole,” Hall said. “It was the best thing I’ve ever had in my life, and that’s what I plan to do again this year.”

Hall said he’s a big fan of Maine’s craft beer scene, especially with the brews from Freeport’s Maine Beer Company.

“If anyone from Maine would like to send me some lunch or dinner, please do,” Hall said with a laugh, before clarifying.

“Two of their flagship beers at Maine Beer Company are called ‘Lunch’ and ‘Dinner’ and they are amazing beers.”

(If you would like offer support for Del Hall’s fundraiser to aid bar and restaurant employees in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky, his GoFundMe page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/sgtdels-virtual-tip-jar.)

Last modified on Tuesday, 02 March 2021 05:51

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