In a medium saucepan, whisk together water, lager or pale ale, molasses, thyme sprigs, garlic, honey, salt, bay leaves, and black pepper.
Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to cool completely.
Place two halves of rib racks in each of two resealable plastic bags. Divide the cooled marinade between the two bags, seal, then massage the sauce over the ribs. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight.
Heat canola oil in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is light golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for additional 30 seconds. Stir in red wine vinegar and cook until the vinegar is reduced to about ¾ cup, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in ketchup, molasses, water, bourbon, brown sugar, kosher salt, and pepper.
Return saucepan to stove and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. The sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead.
Cooking The Ribs:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Line a large baking sheet with a double layer of foil. Remove ribs from marinade and lay them on the baking sheet. Pour half of the marinade (contents of one bag) over the ribs. Discard the remaining marinade.
Cover the ribs tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the outside of the ribs turns opaque (in other words, the outside won't look raw anymore).
Brush grill with canola oil or spray with cooking spray and preheat it to high heat.
Pour 1 cup bourbon-molasses sauce into a bowl to use for basting. Lay the ribs on the grill and sear for 1 minute per side. Reduce heat to low, baste ribs, and close cover. Grill until the ribs are cooked through, basting and turning every 5 minutes, about 20 minutes total. Remove from grill, let rest for 10 minutes, then serve with remaining bourbon-molasses sauce.
From the kitchen of Cookin' Canuck | cookincanuck.com Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine