Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil, and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain.
Return beans to pan; add 8 cups water, bay leaves, and small onion. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until beans are tender. Drain beans; discard bay leaves and onion.
Cook bacon slices in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon slices from pan, reserving the drippings. Add minced onion and garlic to pan, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add beans, bacon, beer, and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.