(See note 1 regarding option to soak beans) Pick through and discard any debris from dried beans. Rinse the beans under cool water. Transfer the beans to a large pot or Dutch oven and cover with 8 cups of water.
Bring beans to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Add salt and cook another 30 minutes, uncovered. Drain the cooked beans, transfer to a large bowl, and set aside.
Add the bacon to the large pot or Dutch oven and render until crisp and brown. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and set aside, leaving bacon fat in the pot.
Add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, tomatoes, and spices to bacon fat. Saute in the reserved bacon fat for 10 minutes. Add the cooked beans, half of the cooked bacon and dark beer, stirring to mix. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes (See Note 2). Season to taste.
Before serving, stir in chopped cilantro and top each bowl of beans with remaining cooked bacon.
Optionally, soak the pinto beans 8 hours before making this recipe. Using a recipe from Diana Kennedy I cooked the dried beans directly. It makes no difference texture wise, and in my taste test, nobody could tell the difference.
What it does do: Soaking beans before cooking helps to remove some of those indigestible sugars that may cause flatulence.
For thicker beans, use a potato masher and mash the beans several times and stir.
This is also FANTASTIC with the addition of cubed rotisserie chicken.