Recipe Post – Rifleman’s Ration Beef Stew

We’re getting into the colder months – that means snow, chilly weather, and of course… soup and stew season! I enjoyed working at the village last winter. Walking to the brewery every morning was so enjoyable, especially when fresh snow had just fallen on the village and all the historic buildings. Coming into the Halfway House and seeing one of our interpreters baking fresh bread or apple cake always gave me such a cozy and happy feeling. I almost didn’t mind that I was wearing two layers of itchy stockings under my work pants. Days like this inspire me to come home after work and throw everything in my fridge into a stew.

The Halfway House in the wintertime

To celebrate the cozier, chillier season, I have made a beef stew inspired by our Rifleman’s Ration brown ale. Looking through stew recipes, I realized that our brown ale is perfect as an ingredient in a soup or stew recipe for a cold winter day.

Dark ales work very well in stews, and I knew our Rifleman’s Ration would be an especially welcome addition to a beef stew.  This recipe is a take on this Irish Beef Stew recipe, changed a little bit. (I cut out the butter, sorry! I tend to gravitate toward making clean eating recipes but if you’d like to make this stew more rich, the original recipe includes it at the link)

The star ingredient.. isn’t that just the prettiest tall can?

Of course, the star of this recipe is our rich and malty brown ale. The malty notes in our brown ale pair well with the beef and red wine to create a hearty stew that is perfect for the upcoming chilly weather!

Some ingredients used in the brown ale stew. The parsley is an especially nice touch.

Ingredients Needed:
 – 1 1/2 – 1 1/4 pound well marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into generous cubes
– 1/4 cup olive oil for stew base, 3 tablespoons for veggies
– 6 large garlic cloves, minced
– 4 cups beef stock/broth
– 2 cups water
– 1 cup of Rifleman’s Ration brown ale (one can will do the job, with a little left over!)
– 1 cup of hearty red wine (I have no clue what a “hearty” red wine is, but I used cabernet sauvignon and it tasted great!)
– 2 tablespoons tomato paste
– 1 tablespoon dried thyme
– 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
– 2 bay leaves
– 3 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 7 cups)
– 1 large onion, chopped
– salt, sugar, pepper, and fresh parsley to taste

1. Preparing the stew’s base
– Heat the olive oil in a large (6 to 8 quart) pot over medium heat
– Sprinkle the beef pieces with salt, and begin browning in the pot.  Add beef in batches, or the pot will be too crowded and the beef will not brown.
– When all the beef is browned, add all of it to the stewing pot. Add your garlic to the beef and sauté for 30 seconds.
– Add the beef stock, water, Rifleman’s Ration brown ale, red wine, tomato paste, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves. The original recipe also calls for 1 tablespoon of sugar, but I held the sugar and preferred the slight bitter richness in the stew’s body.
– Stir to combine and bring to a rolling boil. Then, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

2. Prepare the veggies
– While the beef and stock are simmering, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add chopped carrots and onions
– Sauté until fragrant, and onions are golden
– Set aside until stock has simmered for 1 hour

3. Combine
– Add the onion and carrot mix and the potatoes to the stew
– Add black pepper and salt, to taste
– Simmer until beef and veggies are soft. I simmered for about 45 mintues
– When finished, discard bay leaves and garnish with fresh parsley. Add more salt and pepper to taste


The end result was really tasty! The malty, slightly sweet notes of the Rifleman’s Ration paired well with the beef and red wine. I highly recommend this recipe, especially for any upcoming snow days! It kept very well, and I was eating it all week!

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