In a large skillet, cook bacon over mediumheat until crisp. Remove from pan to paper towels to drain, discard drippings. Sprinkle beef with pepper and salt. In the same skillet brown the beef on all sides in the oil; drain.
Transfer to a 5 quart slow cooker. Add the bacon, onion, garlic and bay leaf. In a small bowl, combine the beer, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce and thyme. Pour over beef.
Cover and cook on low for 5 1/2 to 6 hours or until meat is tender.
In a small bowl, combine flour and water until smooth, Gradually stir into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes longer or until thickened. Discard bay leaf.