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Beer + Food

Pepper Beer Chili

By October 17, 2016 No Comments


The leaves are falling and it’s getting chilly, which means chili! Here’s one of my favorites that brings in beer to the recipe on a couple of levels. First, use a beer with a nice malty character to incorporate the dry spices into the meat mixture. Some of that darker, earthy flavor tone will make its way into the base. This is similar to making taco meat, right? Brown the meat, sprinkle the seasoning on top, then stir in the beer. I know, the directions always say 3/4 cup of water. Yea. Add water. That’s funny

Second, we don’t use any water in this chili, with either the meat or the remainder of the recipe – make it a lighter, amber styled beer to round out the moisture. Some of the sweet beer and light hop flavors will be a part of the ‘chili juice’. And we cut down a bit of the tomato acids and pepper spices with just a hint of brown sugar.

This is a pretty sizable recipe, so make a batch. Invite over some pals. Or double it and invite over a gang. And have them bring the beer.


  • 1/2 lb. bacon, thick cut
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 1 lb. ground pork (spicy, if possible)
  • 1 each green, yellow, red and orange peppers, diced coarsely
  • 6 each jalapeño and Anaheim peppers, seeded, cored and diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. cumin
  • 3 T. chili powder
  • 1 T. ancho chili powder
  • 1 T. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 12 oz. can/bottle ‘malty’ beer (dealer’s choice)
  • 2 12 oz. cans/bottles ‘light’ beer (lager, kolsch, pils etc.)
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (‘chili ready’ kind the best)
  • 1 28 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes with juice
  • 2 16 oz. cans chili beans, with sauce
  • 3 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 oz. chili paste
  • cheddar cheese, grated
  • sour cream
  • green onions, whites and greens chopped
  • oyster crackers


Cook bacon in a large frying pan until almost crispy. Remove and dry on paper towels. Remove all but about one tablespoon of bacon grease from the pan. Brown ground chuck and pork, then add cumin, both chili powders, red pepper flakes, onion powder, salt, pepper and ‘malty’ beer. Simmer until beer is reduced to about half.

While the meat is simmering, in a large pot heat 2 T. olive oil until shimmering, and add all peppers, onion and garlic. Sauté until onions just start to become translucent. Add tomato, chili paste and 1/2 bottle of ‘light’ beer and stir until the vegetables are coated with the pastes.

Transfer meat and spice mixture to the pot, including bacon, which is chopped coarsely. Add all canned tomatoes, beans, brown sugar and remaining light beer. Gently mix everything together and simmer for at least an hour, with no cover, stirring occasionally.

Serve with grated cheddar, sour cream, chopped green onions and oyster crackers on the side. Best accompanied by lighter, amber beers as we used in the recipe. Also, this chili is even better made a day ahead, refrigerated and reheated!