When you think about Oktoberfest, what first comes to mind? Beer? Sausage? Sauerkraut? Did you know that you can combine all three and make a fabulous Oktoberfest Chili, hot bowls of goodness perfect for tailgating? This chili brings all your favorite spicy flavors but adds German beer, bratwurst, sauerkraut and chocolate. It’s rich, flavorful and will have your guests asking for more!
So what beer should you use? Germany is known for Pilsner beers, very pale “dry” lagers that are known for having a spicy yet bitter flavor from hops. Bock beers are more amber or brown in color and have a stronger malt flavor. Doppelbock beers are known for their dark brown color and strong caramel flavors. Schwarzbier is the darkest of the lot, known as black beer.
Of all German beers, Hefeweizen (a wheat beer) is the most famous. These use a yeast strain known for banana and clove aromatics. A Dunkelweizen has been compared to banana bread for its warm caramel and banana flavor. Altbier is fermented in a cooler environment which adds the rich characteristic of nuts to the flavor profile. Kölsch, in contrast, is produced in a warmer environment and has a delicate, mellow fruity flavor profile.
Berliner Weisse and Gose have popularized “sour beers” because they are produced with Lactobacillus bacterium that produces lactic acid. Gose is considered the most refreshing with the unusual addition of coriander and salt to the brew.
If we had to pick one beer to add to Oktoberfest Chili, Rauchbier may be the perfect compromise with a smoky flavor that pairs very well with meats.
- 2 ½ pounds fresh bratwurst links, cut into 1-inch slices
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups sauerkraut, drained
- 2 (15 ounce) cans red beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 (15 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle German-style beer
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp cumin
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 3 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 ½ ounces milk chocolate
Cook bratwurst until browned. Drain excess grease.
With a dash of olive oil in the pan, cook onion, green and jalapeno peppers and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add bratwurst, sauerkraut, red beans, petite diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, beer, salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, sugar, garlic powder, paprika, allspice, and oregano. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Stir in the milk chocolate until melted and dissolved. Simmer for 5 hours, stirring occasionally.
Top with grated cheddar cheese, scallions and/or sour cream!
If this recipe sounds delicious but there are a few ingredients that don’t agree with you due to high acidity, try NEW Prelief Stir-ins! These convenient powder packets can help reduce food acid right at the source. Mix a packet or two into your bowl to reduce up to 95% of the acid and enjoy!
Adapted from Oktoberfest Chili – AllRecipes.com – https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/219020/oktoberfest-chili/
Learn more about German beers here! – https://www.seriouseats.com/guide-german-beer-styles