1 3 - 4 pound fresh beef brisket
2 medium onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1 bay leaf
1 12 ounce can or bottle of ale
1/4 cup chili sauce
2 TBSP packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
3 TBSP cornstarch
3 TBSP cold water
Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut brisket to fit into a 3-1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker. In the cooker place onions, bay leaf, and brisket. In a medium bowl combine ale, chili sauce, brown sugar, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic; pour over meat in cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat and onions to a platter; keep warm. Discard bay leaf.
Skim fat from cooking liquid. Measure 3-1/2 cups of the cooking liquid; discard remaining cooking liquid. In a medium saucepan stir together the cornstarch and cold water; stir in the 3-1/2 cups cooking liquid. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Pass gravy with meat.