Is Beer Allowed During the Fast?

There’s a lot of people who like to debate this, but the simple answer is yes. With a few exceptions, most Orthodox around the world are ok with drinking beer during the fast. The “why” may surprise you.

Beer is a fermented beverage whose production has many similarities to bread production. Another drink, known as Kvass, in Slavic territories, is produced in similar fashion, but usually is supposed to have lower levels of alcohol. Kvass can go up to 2-4% alcohol, however, similar to many mass-market beers.

In the Orthodox West, beer was never considered an issue and considered to be blessed during a fast. Areas that restricted beer consumption were under Ottoman domination and thus were limited in alcoholic production in general.

While this will then touch on the question of what is “pure” wine (which I’ll answer later God willing) the simple fact is that most pure beer is weaker than most pure wine, and if you find yourself inverting the two in terms of alcohol content you’ve done wrong. Also, some people just shouldn’t drink because of stuff that goes wrong when they do.

So beer is always permitted during the fast. Drunkenness, on the other hand, is another matter entirely.