A hearty brisket beef stew with mushrooms – expect rich, earthy flavors and tender, juicy bites of beef.
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Bavarian Beef Stew with Beer (Bayerisches Bierfleisch)
The German term Bierfleisch literally translates to beer meat. A classic beef stew in Bavaria, of which there are approximately as many variations as there are households in the region, this comforting dish is all about tender bites of beef. Usually the choice of meat is brisket, but other beef cuts for stew (or even pork meat) can be used.
Typically when we buy brisket we smoke or braise the flat and save the point to make this exact stew. It never disappoints. The cubed brisket point slowly cooks amidst onions, mushrooms and German black lager which adds malty depth to the stew and uplifts the umami base.
You Will Need
- Beef brisket. As mentioned above, the chunkier point part of a brisket works great. You can substitute with chuck beef (located near the brisket on the animal) or other stew appropriate cut.
- Onions and mushrooms. Onions form the base for the stew’s simmering liquid, mushrooms lend earthy umami. Cultivated mushrooms work just fine (cremini shown above) but if available wild chanterelle or porcini will contribute even more flavor.
- Beer. The traditional choice is Schwarzbier – a black German lager with lovely roasted notes and solid malty backbone. Dunkel lagers (Munich or Franconian) work great too and in the absence of German lagers you can use a porter or stout. We typically use New Belgium 1554 Black Lager.
- Other indispensable ingredients. Butter, cooking oil, tomato paste for acidity and umami, garlic, flour, beef stock, oregano and thyme (dry or fresh), salt and pepper.
- Dill pickles?? Yes – gurken or dill pickles for the traditional garnish for Bierfleisch. More about this in the serving notes below.
- Prep. Trim excess fat, remove any silver skin and cube the brisket. Liberally season with salt and pepper. Dice the onion. Halve the mushrooms (leave smaller ones whole) as they will become significantly reduced in size.
- Sear, saute and deglaze. Over medium-high heat brown the brisket in batches. Remove it from the Dutch oven and saute the onion. Add garlic, tomato paste and flour, stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Deglaze with the black beer, scrape all the brown bits from the bottom. Add the mushrooms and stir. Add back the beef.
- Stew. Pour the beef stock over the mushrooms and meat, add the herbs and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the beef is tender.
How to Serve Bierfleisch
Even though this stew can be enjoyed in a number of ways, in Bavaria there is a very specific traditional way to serve it. A bowl of beer braised brisket stew is topped with fried onions and dill pickles, typically the side is a bread dumpling, pretzel dumpling or mashed potatoes.
To prepare the traditional garniture slice a whole onion in circles and pan fry them until they begin to turn golden brown. The pickles or gurken are usually incised lengthwise as shown below.
Other Recipes You Might Like
Beer Braised Brisket (Porter and Balsamic)
Goat Cheese and Mushroom Strudel
Creamy Mushroom Stew
Beer Braised Short Ribs
Porter Pot Roast
Brisket Stew with Mushrooms and Black Lager (Bierfleisch)
Traditional beef brisket stew with mushrooms from Bavaria made with black lager and served with bread or pretzel dumplings, fried onions and dill pickles.
Brisket Stew (Bierfleisch)
- 1.5 to 2 lbs beef brisket* (or other beef for stew)
- salt and pepper (as needed, to taste)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp cooking oil (vegetable or similar)
- 2 onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 lb mushrooms (cremini, white button, chanterelle or porcini)
- 12 oz German black lager**
- 3 cups beef stock
- 1 tbsp dried thyme (or small bunch fresh)
- 1 tbsp dried marjoram (or small bunch fresh)
Traditional Garniture (Optional)
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp butter
- 4-8 dill pickles or gurken
Brisket Stew (Bierfleisch)
- Trim excess fat from the beef and remove any silver skin. Cut it into cubes and liberally season with salt and pepper. Halve the mushrooms (leave smaller ones whole) and dice the onions. Mince the garlic.
- In a Dutch oven or similar, over medium-high heat melt the butter and add the cooking oil. Working in batches sear the cubed brisket and transfer to a plate, set aside. Lower the heat and saute the diced onion until soft.
- Add the flour, tomato paste and garlic to the onion. Stir well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Deglaze with the black lager and be sure to scrape off all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the rest of the beer, let it reduce a bit and then add the mushrooms. Stir and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add the seared brisket cubes back to the pot, add the beef stock and herbs and bring to boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover with the lid and simmer for about 2 and a half hours or until the beef is tender enough. Periodically check on the stew and give it a stir, if needed add a bit of water.
Traditional Garniture (Optional)
- Slice the onion into rings and pan fry until golden. Slice the dill pickles thinly. Top a bowl of the stew with a few onions and one or two pickles.
*brisket point preferred as it is fattier
**you can substitute with Munich dunkel or a 'middle of the road' porter or stout
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 766Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 203mgSodium: 1161mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 5gSugar: 9gProtein: 58g
I am planning to prepare this great looking dish in a large cast iron Dutch oven. Rather than simmer on the stovetop, could it be put in the oven? What temperature would you recommend?
Kirsty, certainly, it can braise in the oven at 300 F, about the same time as on the stove top or until beef is tender. Just in case – if your oven happens to be really strong and when you check on the stew after about an hour it is boiling, lower to 275 F. It should be slow cooking, simmering, not boiling.
Allison Moorhead says
Agree with Jennifer. I wanna walk up to your take out window at a patio cafe and order this today. Please open a CraftBeering near me!!!
Haha, thank you so much, Allison! As soon as we move down to FL!
Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers says
I just want that ladle-full of stew right now! What an inviting pot and a perfect comforting meal to sit down to any night 🙂