Pouring a bottle of beer into a chili to make the best beer with chili meal.

Best Beer for Chili: 7 Beers to Elevate Your Dish

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Ever wondered what’s the best beer for chili? If you haven’t, well, you’re missing out! Adding the right beer can seriously level up your chili game. But it’s not just about chucking in any old brew; it’s about finding that perfect match that brings out all the rich, spicy flavours of your chili. Whether you’re just curious about why beer is such a game-changer, or you’re hunting for the ultimate recipe, we’ve got you covered. Let’s crack open this topic and pour out some tips to take your chili from good to legendary. Ready to stir things up? 

What Makes the Best Beer for Chili?

Hands down, the best beer for chili is a robust porter or stout. These darker beers bring out the rich, complex flavours of the chili, adding a subtle depth and a hint of roasted bitterness that complements the spices beautifully. 

Whether you’re making a beef chili or a vegetarian option, a stout or porter can make it taste amazing. It mixes well with all the flavours in your dish and makes everything taste balanced and delicious. So, next time you’re cooking your chili, add a stout or porter to your recipe and see what you think. 

On the other hand, if you’re making a light and zesty chili, then lagers or pale ales might be more your thing. These beers can give your dish a crispness that cuts through the heat and enriches the tomato base without being too strong. If you’re making a chicken or turkey chili, a pale ale can be perfect, adding a subtle fruitiness that makes it taste even better.

Our Choice for the 7 Best Beers for Chili

  1. Guinness Stout – A classic stout with rich, roasted flavours that add depth and a hint of bitterness, perfect for beef chili.
  2. Founders Porter – Known for its silky, dark richness with chocolate and coffee notes that can enhance the complexity of any chili.
  3. Sierra Nevada Stout – Offers a balanced bitterness with rich malty flavours, ideal for complementing spicy and meaty chili dishes.
  4. Brooklyn Lager – A versatile choice that brings a crispness to lighter chili variants, with a balance of malt and hops.
  5. Anchor Porter – With deep, dark flavours and a smooth finish, it’s perfect for adding a roasted dimension to your chili.
  6. Samuel Adams Boston Lager – Provides a clean, crisp taste that can lighten up a hearty chili without overshadowing the spices.
  7. Stone IPA – For a chili that’s on the lighter side, the hoppy and fruity notes of this pale ale can enhance the dish’s flavours without dominating them.

Remember that the right beer can take your chili game to the next level. It’s not just about what you put in the pot but also about finding the perfect brew to complement your dish and enhance your dining experience. Whether you like a heavy and rich stout or a lighter lager that brings out the flavours, the key is to balance your sip with your spoonful.

And let’s be clear, adding beer to your chili isn’t just some crazy idea – it’s a way to make your dish legendary. Trust us, beer in chili isn’t just good; it’s essential. 

The Secret Ingredient: Why Add Beer to Chili?

Adding beer to your chili can be a total game-changer, seriously! It’s not just some quirky cooking hack. It actually elevates the dish’s complexity and depth. Why add beer to chili? Well, beer introduces a range of flavours that water or broth can’t even come close to. It deepens the chili’s earthiness and adds a caramelised, nutty profile that perfectly complements the savoury, spicy elements of the dish.

When it comes to selecting the best beer for chili, craft beers can offer a whole treasure trove of flavours to explore. From the caramel malt of an Irish Red to the bold body of a stout, you’re sure to find a beer that can marry the nuanced flavours of the beer with the spicy, hearty notes of the chili.

Timing is key when it comes to adding beer to your chili. Experts suggest adding beer in two stages – a little bit early on to deglaze the pan and integrate with the aromatics, and then a more generous pour just before serving. This technique layers the beer’s flavour throughout the cooking process, ensuring its character shines through without being overpowered by the chili’s robust spices.

But just remember to keep the amount of beer you add to your chili up to personal preference. Too much beer can skew the taste, so even if you do have the best beer for chili, it’s pointless.  

Crafting the Perfect Bowl: Best Beer-Infused Chili Recipe

When you have chosen the best beer for chili, it’s time to create your masterpiece. For a hearty and flavourful chili, incorporating a variety of meats, beans, and spices, along with your choice of beer, can elevate the dish from good to unforgettable.


  • Ground Cumin & Coriander: 1 tablespoon cumin and 1 tablespoon coriander
  • Ground Beef: 1 ¼ pounds (about 565 grams)
  • Olive Oil: 1 tablespoon
  • Onions: 2 medium onions
  • Bell Peppers: 1 red and yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • Jalapeño Chiles: 1 large jalapeño, chopped 
  • Chili Powder & Chipotle Chiles: 3 ½ tablespoons of chili powder and 1 teaspoon of minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • Crushed Tomatoes: 1 can with added tomato puree
  • Kidney Beans: 1 can, drained
  • Dark Beer: ½ bottle (about 6 ounces or 177 ml) of stout or similar
  • For Serving: Sour cream, chopped green onions, and grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Toast Spices: In a skillet over medium heat, toast cumin and coriander until fragrant and slightly darker, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Brown the Beef: In a large pot, cook the ground chuck over medium-high heat until no longer pink, approximately 8 minutes. Use the olive oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Sauté Vegetables: In the same pot, add the chopped onions, bell peppers, and jalapeño. Cook until they begin to soften, around 15 minutes.
  4. Combine and Simmer: Mix in the toasted spices, chili powder, chipotle, crushed tomatoes, beans, and beer with the beef and vegetable mixture. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, uncovered, occasionally stirring for about 20 minutes to meld the flavours.
  5. Season and Serve: Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the chili in bowls, topped with sour cream, green onions, and grated cheese.

This recipe provides a straightforward guide to making a delicious beef and beer chili that’s perfect for a group of four. By toasting the spices first, you enhance their flavours, and the slow simmering allows all the ingredients to come together in a rich, comforting dish. 

Best Beer For Chili recipe. A bowl of chili topped with soured cream.
Best Beer for Chili

Enjoy crafting this chili, and don’t hesitate to adjust the heat level by adding more or less jalapeño and chipotle according to your preference.


Picking the best beer for chili can take it to the next level. Whether you’re into rich, bold flavours like stouts and porters or prefer lighter options like lagers and pale ales, there’s a beer out there that will make your chili really sing. The trick is to match the beer’s profile with your chili’s ingredients – balancing the spices, meat, and beans to create a perfect harmony. Don’t forget, putting beer in your chili isn’t just for the buzz – it also enhances the flavours, tenderises the meat, and adds a whole new layer of taste that plain old water or broth can’t achieve. So, next time you’re whipping up a batch of chili, grab a cold one and prepare for a taste explosion that will impress. Fancy more? Why not explore other beer and Mexico combos?

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