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Jan 22, 2012 03:38 PM

best beer for chili?

I've made chili before with red wine (I know some people will think that's sacrilege but it was always delicious!) but never before with beer. It's something I want to try though, for variety. Anyone have any advice on what kind of beer is best to use for chili? I thought of a stout or porter, because I usually add a bit of chocolate to my chili but I wonder if that will be too assertive or too Irish stew-y (although all the different smoked peppers and other seasonings I add aren't exactly evocative of Irish cooking lol.) Thoughts?

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  1. Just made a pot o' chili myself, and I always use Modelo Negra. I always cook with dark beer and this is not only Mexican and dark, but cheap (ish) too.

    1. Use what ever the chuck wagon cook had on hand (none?).

      What role should the hops bitterness have, or not have?

      1 Reply
      1. re: paulj

        I always put either cocoa or coffee in mine too, along with the beer....I'm not so much into pure heat. Not that it's not blistering spicy anyway. The beer I use to pressure cook the meat before adding to the pot. If it was just all hot peppers, don't know if it would be as well received, even by chiliheads, too one dimensional.

      2. I've always made it with whatever pilsner I had on hand -- depending on my location, that's ranged from Bud or PBR to Warsteiner to Paulaner to the generic cheap-ass pils I keep on hand for boiling sausages and making chili.

        There are so many other things going on in chili, both flavor-wise and texture-wise, that I agree with you that a stout or porter would just add more noise to the commotion than you'd really want.

        1. I usually use smithwicks for cooking anytime I add beer to a recipe. It works amazing in beer cheddar soup and chili's I make.

          1. I usually just add whatever beer I have on hand the day I'm cooking the chili. Made a turkey chili this weekend with some Long Trail Ale (an amber ale) - very tasty, adds a subtle background to the chili without competing/overpowering the other components.