In a large pot, place the beans and cover with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the beans are just tender, about 1 hour and 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until brown and the fat is rendered, about 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. To the fat in the pan, add the onions, chili powder, Essence, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and their juices, and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the beer, syrup, sugar, stock, whiskey, mustard, Worcestershire and bay leaves. Stir well and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, and adding more water as needed to keep the beans covered.
Remove from the heat and adjust seasoning, to taste.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings