“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” We’ve all had that drilled into our heads since childhood. Sadly, it’s likely just consumerist bullsh*t invented in the 1930s by Don Draper types to sell pancakes, bacon and huevos. So what did the average Joe, or Josephine, have for breakfast every morning to kick start the day before Madison Avenue manipulators came down the pike?
F*cking beer, baby! The shot of calories helped my old Northern European ancestors boost their energy for field plowing. And it just might be seeing a resurgence (even Obama is down to give the new-old fad a try). In the pursuit of science, well “Uproxx science” anyway, I decided to be your guinea pig 10 days — drinking one beer for breakfast every morning.
I choose an array of Euro beers, generally under 5% ABV because it was one of my #Lifegoals not to fall over drunk before 8AM.
Day 1 — Pilsner Urquell, 4.4%ABV .5l
It’s surprisingly hard to wrap my head around drinking a beer at 7:15 in the morning. At first it’s exciting. Then I take a sip and wonder “What the hell am I doing with my life?” You know who I blame for this stupid guilt? Society (Well, first my editor, then society). It tastes more bitter than usual. That could be the light shock since Pilsner Urquell still uses green glass bottles for some unfathomable reason. A few more sips in and the beer is tasting more refreshing.
“Good damn this is good beer.” No. No. There’s that gross feeling again. I think my body has been conditioned to react against me drinking this early in the morning. It thinks either I’m hungover, or have been drinking all night, which I haven’t and now it’s not sure what to do with itself. Thanks a lot, body.
It usually takes me around three minutes to have breakfast. I either have a hard boiled egg on pumpernickel, or a small piece of smoked salmon. Not exactly something you set the table for if you know what I mean. But this…it’s been 15 minutes and I’m only half way down the bottle.
Okay, it’s 7:45 in the AM and… I am by far the most buzzed after drinking one beer since I was probably 14. After a few minutes of letting my stomach settle, I actually feel pretty grand. Time to kick today’s ass.
Day 2 — Allgäuer Büble Bier – Bayrisch Hell, 4.7% .5l
Ugh, last night I split two bottles of wine with my wife. I also had a vodka martini and ended the night with two rather large Cardinal Mendoza brandies. The idea of drinking a beer at 8:30 in the AM is about as far from something I want to do as you can get. Plus it’s a large, half-liter bottle. The little Hummel-esque Tyrolean boy on the label is judging me with his beady eyes and lederhosen. I can’t face that, so I grab a glass.
My god that is tasty beer. All my trepidation of drinking a beer goes away as soon as the ultra smooth Hell beer hits my lips. The pale lager is the perfect antidote for my slight hangover. I feel better immediately. 20 minutes into my breakfast beer and my hangover is straight up gone.
Day 3 — Mönchshof Original Pils, 4.9%ABV .5l
It’s shockingly easier today. I don’t even think twice about popping the top on my pils. It tastes great and goes down like ambrosia. I’m also drinking faster. What used to take 30 minutes to get through is now closer to 10. Also, I’m not buzzed at all anymore after drinking a beer. I just feel satisfied.
So far, the biggest change due to my new breakfast regime has been the intense hunger starting around 11AM everyday. I’m starving by the time lunch rolls around.
Day 4 — Beck’s Red Ale, 4.5% ABV .33l
It’s Monday morning. I need to get to the internetting and writing. So I’m going to forgo the usual 20-30 minutes of sipping at my breakfast tipple and down this motherf*cker.
Turns out, chugging a beer is a bit of a shock to the system. I’m sort of dizzy and excited at the same time. Luckily, today I’ve prepared ahead for my mid-day hunger pangs and there’s a nice bowl of chana masala and basmati waiting for me in the fridge.
NOON UPDATE: Amazingly, I do not feel great after pounding a beer at 8AM. Live and learn, friends. Live and learn.
Day 5 — Schoppe Bräu – Flower Power Session IPA, 4.7%ABV .33l
Craft beer morning. I love craft beer… just like every other schmo out there. But, man, drinking that shit at 8 in the morning is not the same. The hoppy notes just come across as sour combination of soapy and bitter. Maybe it’s that my mouth has different things going on in the morning than at the end of the day?
I am half way through the experiment and I have to say I’ve gotten pretty used to beer for breakfast. I look forward to my morning beer. My body is starting to get used to not eating until lunch. All around, I like it so far. But hoppy forward IPAs aren’t the wise choice.
Day 6 — Blanche de Namur, 4.5%ABV .33l
Today is a good day. Starting off your morning with a Belgian wheat beer is the way to go. The citrus nose and ever-so-slightly sour finish really signal morning in my head — kinda like a well made citrus-forward fruit salad. The wheat lends a smooth texture and makes it really easy to drink in the AM.
I’m actually really starting to look forward to tasting a morning beer. Especially when they’re this goddamn delicious. With the slight heaviness of it being a wheat beer, I feel a tad fuller than with any of the others thus far. That’s a good thing.
Day 7 — Brło Craft Beer Weisse, 4% ABV .33l
Hum, craft beer again. The Weisse is a very sour wheat beer. Although I loved the sour finish to yesterday’s Belgian wheat beer, today is a different story. The sour hits you the second the beer touches your tongue. It’s a bit abrasive for a morning tipple. I think the good people at Brło overdid it a bit. Did they not consider the 8am drinker? The heavy sour taste sorta kills everything else. And it’s a little fizzy.
This is the first beer in a few days where I feel like I’m trudging toward the finish line.
Day 8 — Guinness, 4.2% ABV .44l
I was traveling around the western coast of Ireland back around the turn of the century and I wandered into a pub near Dolin. I ate a fantastic bowl of clam chowder and followed that up with some fish and chips. It was all washed down with a Guinness Extra Cold off the draught. It was creamy, light, and perfect. I confidently ordered a shot of Paddy whiskey to supplement dessert. It was a good lunch. I ordered myself another Guinness and sat by the fire taking in the warmth. An old man tried to sell me lottery tickets — as one does in Ireland. We struck up a conversation and he told me about the pub’s record for pints of Guinness drunk in one setting.
Cut to about 6 hours later and I’m 19 pints in when I black out. I woke up the next day in a bed upstairs from the pub. I got to 21 pints evidently (and 6 more shots of whiskey). The record still stood safe at 27 pints. I settled up my bill and carried on down the road after a fortifying bowl of clam chowder and another pint of Guinness (on the house).
Which is all to say, Guinness for breakfast is my new favorite thing ever. I feel great and have waves of nostalgia flowing through me right now. When this experiment is over, I may just take up a pint of the dark stuff every morning.
Day 9 — Schneider Weisse Tap 7, 5.4% ABV .5l
On this morning I brave the heights of a beer over 5% ABV. I’m also really hungover. I infused a bottle of vodka with some fresh ginger, filtered some fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and tracked down some Thomas Henry Ginger Beer. Then I drank way too many Moscow Mules. It’s a hard life. But I survive.
I was actually looking forward to a little hair of the dog. The wheat beer did not disappoint. I drank my beer fairly quickly and got on with my day. My pick was a little heavy and alcohol-driven for so early in the morning, but the smoothness of the beer made up for that. I’ve learned I definitely prefer a lower alcohol content earlier in the day now. Which is not a shocker.
Day 10 — Störtebeker Schwarz-Bier, 5.0% ABV .5l
I made it! 10 days of beer for breakfast and I’m ending with a caramel-y, roasted malt wonder from the Baltic Sea. You can never go wrong with a Störtebeker. It’s a little brewery that makes big beer. Dark beers seem to be the way to start the day.
This challenge has completely changed my perspective on breakfast. One of the biggest pros to this plan was the fact there is no prep, cooking, or clean up for breakfast anymore. I pop a bottle, drink it, and that’s it. I’m on my way for the day. That’s just a time saver right there. I definitely learned to keep the ABV under 5%. The higher alcohol didn’t necessarily make me any fuzzier in the head, but it didn’t taste as nice. Also, I’ve permanently decided to keep away from hoppy crafts in the AM. Lastly, I lost 3 pounds while doing this. I didn’t change up my diet in any other way during the last 10 days. So…
My biggest concern for anyone attempting this, especially those living the USofA, is the social stigmatization. Employers have fired people for tipping back a cold one at lunch. Secondly, the vast majority of people still drive to work every morning. I don’t endorse any drinking and driving. Ever. One of the reasons I live in a city with incredible public transport that runs 24/7 is so that I don’t even have to think about driving while I’m drinking. So, please, be sensible.
If I had to pick a beer for breakfast, I’d have to go with either Guinness or a light Kellerbier. Something light, easy, tasty, and low on the alcohol. Beats bacon and eggs any day.
Zachary Johnston is a director, writer, traveler, and part-time chef and mixologist. You can see for yourself on Instagram @ztp_johnston, or on Twitter@ZTPJohnston.