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When it comes to cooking hearty meals with beer, Irish stew is often what comes to mind. But have you ever tried Carbonade Flamande? A thick and comforting Flemish stew loaded with onions and beef, the recipe originates in northern Belgium. Some compare it to Beef Bourguignon but with dark beer instead of wine. Music to our bowls. 

At Sober Carpenter, we’ve put our heads (and our pints) together to bring you a traditional Flemish stew recipe that’s both alcohol-free and, frankly, amazing. 

When you order this dish in Belgium, it usually comes with a side of thick-cut fries. We like to serve Carbonade Flamande with roasted potato wedges, mashed potatoes or even boiled potatoes (we love our taters). 

Let’s dig in!

Carbonnade Flamande with Sober Carpenter Irish Red Beer 

Serves 4 

Prep time 15 mins

Cook time 3.5 hours 


 4 tablespoons butter, divided

 4 onions, minced

 1 tablespoon brown sugar

 1 tablespoon vinegar

 ½ cup flour

Salt & pepper

1 kg stewing beef

250 g smoked bacon, diced

2 carrots, sliced

1 can Sober Carpenter Irish Red

2 bay leaves

2 slices of bread (or gingerbread)

2 tbsp dijon mustard 


  1. In a stock pot over medium-high heat, brown minced onions with 2 tbsp of butter. Then sprinkle with brown sugar and allow to caramelize for 2-3 minutes while stirring.
  1. Deglaze with vinegar, cook for another 2 minutes and set aside.
  1. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then add beef cubes and coat. 
  1. In the same pot used for the onions, melt the remaining butter. Then shake flour mixture from meat pieces and brown in melted butter with bacon.
  1. Add sliced carrots, and browned onions, then pour over Sober Carpenter Irish Red non-alcoholic beer.
  1. Spead dijon mustard over slices of bread, then cut into pieces (or use gingerbread). Add bread to pot with bay leaves and mix well.
  1. Cover and simmer gently for at least 3 hours. Once the stew has thickened to your liking, it’s ready to go!

Storing and freezing your Flemish stew

Like most stews, alcohol-free Carbonade Flamande is even better on day two––once the flavours have had a chance to get to know each other in the pot. You’ll want to refrigerate the entire stew that first day, then you can decide to refrigerate or freeze any remaining leftovers.

Refrigerate: Covered for up to 4 days.

Freeze: In a tightly sealed container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. 

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