Wylie’s Winter Ale Bison Stew

e made

inspiration began here,

with incidental musing…

P I N this to pinterest

‘what must it be like to live here and cook over this fragrant wood stove’s heat’

P I N this to pinteresti wondered

‘which traveller came across this secluded thicket and had such vision’

‘hmmm… (insert google here)… that would be…’

‘Carl and Flora Wylie in the 1930’s’

and, finally,

at the end of the day

a wee glass of this ice-cold ale was sampled

(thank you Katie and Travis) 

Granville Island’s Lion’s Winter Ale…

‘A seasonal beer with distinctive winter notes of maple syrup, cloves, toffee, vanilla…’

P I N this to pinterest

Now, how did that lovely little glass make it into our kitchen…

‘mmm! it would be perfect in a stew… maybe a bison stew for a change…’ So.. I’ll fry up a little bacon and caramelize a few thinly sliced onions, if you scrub the carrots and potatoes… P I N this to pinterestlet’s add a few mushrooms…P I N this to pinterest

a quick smother of flour and a pot’s searing heat for the meat

now you pour in some of that wonderful Winter’s Ale and deglaze the pan…

then we’ll toss everything into that massive dutch oven

oh, let’s not forget to plop in a little fresh rosemary and sage…

P I N this to pinterest

cover it with a tight lid, will you, and then we’ll give it an oven’s bake for an hour or so…

‘perhaps we should sample another wee glass of Winter’s ale while we wait…’

Wylie’s Winter Ale Bison Stew

Wylie’s Winter Ale Bison Stew
  • 1/4 lb bacon
  • 2 lge onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 200 gm crimini mushrooms
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 lbs stewing meat cut in cubes (I used 1 lb bison and 2 lbs beef)
  • olive oil as needed
  • 12 oz Granville Island Winter Ale Beer
  • 12 oz beef broth
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • 4-6 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 4-6 carrots, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  2. Coarsely chop bacon and fry in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon and leave the drippings in the pan. Add the onion and reduce heat to medium low. Sprinkle sugar over and continue to stir over low heat until the onion browns and is caramelized and soft, adding garlic cloves in the last few minutes of cooking.
  3. Remove onions and place in a strainer over a bowl to catch the drippings if there are any (depending on the amount of fat in the bacon, I didn’t have any). Add olive oil as needed and toss in the mushrooms, cooking until browned. Remove mushrooms from skillet.
  4. Mix the flour, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Add a splash of olive oil to the skillet and turn on medium high heat. Dredge, to coat, all pieces of beef and add them to the skillet and brown. Stir and turn the meat cubes to brown all sides. Take care not to overcrowd the skillet so that beef cubes can brown properly. Repeat for each batch, adding olive oil as needed to the skillet. As each batch of meat is browned, place in an oven-proof skillet.
  5. When all the beef is in the casserole dish, add some of the winter ale to the skillet. Add back the bacon bits and bring the heat to medium high to deglaze the pan.
  6. Add the onions to the meat in the casserole dish, then pour the beer and bacon mixture over top. Add the remaining winter ale and the rest of the ingredients, from the beef broth through to the carrots. If needed, add additional broth if more liquid is required.
  7. Cover and bake at 325° F for about 1 hour and 30 minutes until beef is cooked and vegetables are tender.
  8. Serve with a hearty loaf of bread to mop up the sauce and remove bay leaves and cloves, if possible.



  • *nom* *nom* *nom* 🙂
    love the house 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Alright, that’s it i’m staying here! not going anywhere lol 😀ReplyCancel

  • Our weather has turned to snow and dropping temps. This dish would be so comforting and nice right now. Beautiful shots!ReplyCancel

  • i wish i was having a beer right nowReplyCancel

  • I saw the bacon and my mind went nuts without even seeing the recipe lol. There is just something about bacon lol. Loved the bison stew recipe.. it looks amazingReplyCancel

    • 🙂 I’m with you on that one.. my favorite chocolate has bacon in it, strange but lovely combination!ReplyCancel

  • There’s something so warming and hearty about a stew. It’s real winter comfort food! As always highly entertaining backstory and gorgeous photos. You’re cookin’, girl!ReplyCancel

  • Oooo, I’ve never tried Bison before. But I’ll join you for a toast with the winter ale:)ReplyCancel

  • That sounds amazing! The beer sounds very good. I always like to find beers with something in that is a bit different for my Dad. If only I could find one of those here I’m sure he’d love it. The pictures of the house reminded me of the illustrations in a lovely European Christmas children’s book I’ve had since childhood. It’s a real treasure that I get out every year. However, I’ll have to put it away soon. 🙁

    On a completely unrelated note…Festus and Felix the pheasants are back! Although I don’t think I’ve seen Phillip yet.ReplyCancel

    • It seems craft beers are enjoying a new renaissance around here… We have a Craft beer restaurant where you can buy a “flight” of different tiny glasses of beer to discover which you like. I think it’s such a great change from wine and can add so much potential new flavor to various recipes. I’m with your Dad and becoming more of a beer connoisseur.

      Yay!! Glad to hear your pheasant friends came back!ReplyCancel

      • Hehe, thanks!

        I’ve come across several fruit beers over time, which I’ve bought for Dad. Another good thing about the beer variety is that I think it might be more accessible to more people. Some people do tend to feel intimidated by wine, which is a shame.ReplyCancel

  • Loving those photos Smidge. I feel like I’m on site with you. I can almost smell the Bison Stew cooking on the stove. I have never seen this beer before, is it from a Microbrewery?ReplyCancel

    • I wish you were… it would be fun, wouldn’t it?? But that’s a long way to travel;) This is a brewery located on Granville Island which is part of Vancouver, Canada. I think other microbreweries must make similar flavored beers?? I had just never tasted one before…ReplyCancel

  • Nothing like a hearty stew to keep the chill away! Yours here sounds wonderful, Smidge, and your photos make it so tantalizing!ReplyCancel

  • How did you manage such handsome photos in a woodsy cabin in the middle of winter? Nicely done! I can hear the fire’s crackle and smell the herbal, stewy potful. I can feel the almost-prickly wood fire dryness on my skin. I can taste the sweet maple and vanilla in the ale. Smidge, I think I might belong in that picture! 🙂 Thanks for that – what a nice thing to wake to!ReplyCancel

    • That’s so true about writing.. If I started with the stew and wanted to find a cabin, I probably wouldn’t have been able to lcoate one:) I’m glad you enjoyed this one!ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous

    Does bison taste like beef? Never tried it … come to think of it, I’ve never seen a live bison. Wonder if it’s similar to buffalo?ReplyCancel

    • Very similar, mine was a bit more “fatty”. I think the term is interchangeable here, but scientifically speaking a bison is not in the same family as a water buffalo… so they package it as bison to be clearer about what you’re getting:)ReplyCancel

  • I loved this little house and the stove too… How amazing to eat there now… I am hungry! Seems so delicious, Thank you dear Barbara, have a nice day, with my love, niaReplyCancel

    • I know… I’ve wished to have lived in one of these for some time now.. but don’t think I’ll ever do more than visit one! Thanks, nia, you have a wonderful day as well!ReplyCancel

  • This looks so good and comforting. A perfect cold winter’s day food. I know my daughter would love this. The last time we made bison, she devoured it. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Thanks, Kristy… I thought bison was pretty similar to the beef I used, but it maybe a bit more fat? My daughter managed to get a bowl when we got home;)ReplyCancel

  • What a great way to warm up on a cold day! Still very jealous of the snow!ReplyCancel

    • Well, no need to be jealous any more.. we’ve had so much chinook wind here that the snow in Calgary was gone when we got home! Oh, well, it makes it easy to get around!ReplyCancel

  • Luscious. Beautiful description and pictures as always, but oh, I’m salivating over the smell and taste I’m imagining! I *love* a good stew, and tinkerer that I am, there’s not a thing I’d change in this recipe.ReplyCancel

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed my post… stew is one of those wonderful savory comfort foods, eh? I am reminded of words every time you post:) I love the word “tinkerer”!ReplyCancel

  • Ooohhh…that looks warm and wonderful!ReplyCancel

    • It was perfect after being out all day, I started getting a bit of a chill so this really fit the bill.ReplyCancel

  • I bet that made the kitchen smell wonderful!ReplyCancel

    • Nothing like having something simmering and stewing away in the oven to make the whole house smell great and homey:)ReplyCancel

  • Fabulous and I think sampling the ale while cooking is compulsory!ReplyCancel

    • Indeed! I wouldn’t have it any other way. We went back to the bar on our last night and they were out of stock:( I almost had a little fit!! lolReplyCancel

  • Great comfort food and the ale has to be tasted for good measure!ReplyCancel

    • It’s tough to recommend a beer for other countries.. etc, but any microbrewery likely has one with similar “notes” and flavors. It was just my first time trying one out:)ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful pictures, this looks delicious!ReplyCancel

  • teaandscones

    Now THIS looks amazing. I make stew with venison and beef, but have never thought of putting in the bacon. And the cabin looks like a perfect place to enjoy it.

    Glad you keep stopping by.ReplyCancel

    • I had thoughts of venison. That’s something I haven’t tried before.. now that I’m getting more adventuresome… I’ll have to find a recipe!ReplyCancel

  • scrummity as my niece would say 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Look at that! The prep photos were pretty, but when I got to the last photo, I said, out loud, “Look at that!”. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Hmmm, I’ve never seen bison on the menu here in Sydney. Think there’s a shortage of those beasts. But I would love to try! I guess I could substitute beef and give this recipe a try. Love your snowy photos – beautiful serene images.ReplyCancel

    • Haha, yes, I didn’t think of that when writing the recipe;) Beef would do fine… I was just trying to mix things up in the old kitchen by using bison. I was also a bit curious to see if there was a different taste but couldn’t detect much, maybe because it was in the stew?ReplyCancel

  • This must be the month for stew! I just saw this after I posted my stew the day after yours! I love how you present your recipes; those herbs look amazing! Always beautiful and delicious!ReplyCancel

    • Lol, I did read your stew post as well and thought it looks so flavorful:) Great minds think alike!! How can you not make stew and other one-dish meals at this time of year, right? Thank you!!ReplyCancel

  • It is so cold outside here! I bet this stew would warm me right up! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • It’s 15 degrees in NYC today! I need this to stay warm!ReplyCancel

    • Brrr… that’s chilly for New York! It is supposed to be that warm in my home town of Calgary today!ReplyCancel

  • Mmm this stew looks hearty and delicious. I can imagine the beer giving it a wonderful dimension of flavor. Too bad it’s in the 80s here in California–I want to make this! xReplyCancel

  • It looks wonderful! I would like a bowl for lunch today! 😀 YUMMMMM!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • How’d you get herbs that fresh?!ReplyCancel

    • Believe it or not, just in packets at the grocery store.. the ground is frozen here and will not grow a thing (unless it’s in some sort of green house with heating). I just like to put my herbs in water and a jar.. it feels a bit like spring then…ReplyCancel

  • Wow, this is my idea of a perfect holiday! What can be more perfect than being in such a cabin in a winter wonderland setting. Tour bison stew is so tempting. I’ve never tried bison meat before but it must be close to beef in taste 9 (or not?).ReplyCancel

    • It is very similar. In the stew I had a difficult time distinguishing the difference. It actually seemed to have more fat.. maybe it was the cut I bought because bison is supposed to be a leaner meat and, therefore, healthier to cook with. Thanks for stopping by:)ReplyCancel

  • Bison sounds so exotic to me! I bet this tasted delicious.ReplyCancel

  • Wow, the house looks so cozy and this winter stew is just perfect to enjoy by the fire 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Yes… it was one of those picturesque settings.. makes you wish you could live that way… at least for part of the year:) I still like my hot summers!ReplyCancel

  • That seals it…I want to spend a holiday season with you! The snowy cabin, coziness, gorgeous, soul and tummy warming food (the brie and this stew is mouth watering!) is the epitome of the what I think of when the holiday season comes around. Wishing you and your family the happiest, most wonderful 2012, filled with love and laughter!ReplyCancel

    • Thank you so much for all of your kind words… you would be welcome to join us:) I hope you had a wonderful Christmas as well and I just really look forward to 2012 and seeing your beautiful posts:)ReplyCancel

  • I wish I had the appetite to enjoy your wonderful creations!ReplyCancel

  • […] winter, after traveling the same Silver Star trails last January, I made a batch of Wylie’s Winter Ale Bison Stew but this year.. I wanted to experiment […]ReplyCancel

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