Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based casserole over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and fry for 4–5 minutes, or until softened but not browned.
Add the tomatoes, black peppercorns, bay leaves and thyme and cook, stirring regularly, for 3–4 minutes.
Stir in the seasoned flour and cook for 2–3 minutes.
Add the beef, then pour in the pale ale and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 3 hours, stirring every 20–30 minutes, until the beef is tender enough to be cut with a spoon.
Serve in bowls with thick slices of fresh bread, or on plates with mashed potato and green vegetables.