Smoked beer is the result of infusing a weightier style of beer, such as brown ale, porter, or stout, with smoking agents. It has ancient roots in Germany but has been recently revived by American brewers aiming to put their own twist on the old style. This recipe combines the fireside flavor with a classic chili.

What to buy: Look for smoked chicken and apple sausage at better grocery stores. We used Aidells brand.

Chili powder is available in the spice section of grocery stores or you can make your own with this recipe.

Smoked beer is available at many gourmet markets and liquor stores. We used Schlenkerla Smokebeer.

Game plan: The kidney beans need to soak overnight, so plan accordingly.

We also recommend trying your hand at slow cooker variations with our slow cooker chili recipe using beef.

  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 2 hrs 30 mins 
  • Active: 20 mins 

Ingredients (20)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces ground beef
  • 4 ounces ground pork
  • 3 ounces smoked apple and chicken sausage (about 1 link), medium dice
  • 1 large yellow onion, medium dice
  • 1 small fennel bulb, medium dice
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped red chile peppers, such as Fresno peppers
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 (22-ounce) bottle smoked beer
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dried kidney beans, soaked overnight in water and drained
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 6 medium scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • Sour cream, for garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the beef, pork, and sausage and cook, stirring to break up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned and no bits of pink remain, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Stir in onion, fennel, chiles, garlic, chili powder, cumin, 1 teaspoon of the salt, fennel seed, cayenne pepper, and tomato paste, and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the beer and bring to a boil. Simmer until the beer flavor is cooked off, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, kidney beans, and sugar.
  3. Bring the chili to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Taste and season with salt as needed.
  4. Serve the chili garnished with the scallions, sour cream, and, of course, a glass of smoked beer.