112-ounce bottledark lager beer(I used Negra Modelo)
1tablespoondark brown sugar
Pour the beans into a large bowl. Pick out and discard any beans that are shriveled or split as well as any small rocks that may have made their way into the bag.
Fully cover the beans with water (at least 3 inches over the top of the beans) and set on the counter to soak for 8 hours or overnight.
Drain and rinse the beans under cool water. (They will have doubled in size during the soaking process!)
Transfer the beans to a large pot or Dutch oven. Add 10 cups of water (and the optional ingredients if using them).
Bring beans to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (I recommend checking them at the 2 hour mark and giving them a taste. They should be tender and fully cooked through, but still a little firm and not mushy. Cook a little longer if they're not quite done.)
Drain cooked beans, transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Rinse and dry the pot.
Return pot to the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy. Transfer the cooked bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
Add the onions and jalapeno and cook for 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
Add the garlic, chili powders, dried oregano, salt and ground cumin. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the cooked pinto beans, diced tomatoes, beer and brown sugar. Stir together to combine and bring to a low simmer.
Simmer the beans for 15 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in the chopped cilantro and crispy bacon. Serve immediately.
Don't want to use dried beans? You can use canned beans instead. You will need four 15-ounce cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed. Then skip to step 7.
I recommend starting with dried beans for the most tender and creamy beans. If you've never cooked dried beans before, take a look at this post all about how to cook pinto beans on the stove.
You can use any type of green pepper you have. I used jalapenos, but you could also use poblanos, serranos or even bell peppers if you don't want any heat whatsoever.
You can use any beer you have on hand. I prefer making these beans with a darker-style beer, but you could use whatever you have in the fridge. Except a sour beer. Definitely don't use that.