That was very informative.
How often do they drink wine?
Depends on the monk. Part of what people are getting at is that there is no defined rule, that they have to drink wine, can't drink wine or how often they should drink. The only two rules are
1) on strict fast days, they (and every other Orthodox Christian) should not drink wine
2) they should not get drunk (again, as with every other Orthodox Christian because drunkenness is a sin).
I think it would be more accurate to say that the quantity of wine consumption “depends on the abbot” or “on the rule of the monastery”, since monks cannot simply eat and drink as they wish.
In general, I think it is accurate to say on this subject that:
1) Wine is not consumed outside of the Divine Liturgy in every monastery
2) In small sketes and more ascetical monasteries, wine is generally not consumed outside of the Divine Liturgy
3) In larger, coenobitic monasteries, wine consumption outside of the Divine Liturgy is more common
4) In monasteries where wine is consumed outside of the Divine Liturgy, such consumption is usually limited to one glass per day consumed during a common meal, the glass being poured for the monk according to the quantity allowed by the abbot, and with strict prohibition against any consumption of wine on “no wine” fast days and against the storage and consumption of wine in a monk’s cell.
Anyone can feel free to correct me if they do not think my generalizations are accurate.
Context is important because it shows that alcohol is permitted in monasteries, but with great moderation and restriction around its consumption. As St. John Chrysostom and many Fathers have said, it is not wine but drunkenness that we must avoid, and it is not wine that leads to drunkenness but lack of self-control. See, for instance:http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf109.xix.iii.html
To my knowledge, there is no tradition of brewing beer in Orthodox monasteries as was the case in the post-Schism Roman Catholic West, but I would be interested in a historical work on the subject of beer and its place in Orthodox societies and monasteries in general. While I have heard that Greeks learned to brew beer initially from the Egyptians, beer does not seem to have had much of a place in Greek history and tradition as is the case with wine.
I’m not familiar with the history of beer consumption in other Orthodox countries either, aside from the very popular (in the contemporary West) “Russian Imperial Stout” that was brewed in England for the court of Catherine the Great (who is not greatly esteemed for her faithfulness to Orthodox tradition). Russian Imperial Stouts are pretty high in alcohol for a beer, at between 8% and 12% ABV, but I have no idea whether these beers were consumed by the Orthodox faithful and monastics, or if they remained mostly in the hands of royalty.