Saturday, March 10, 2012

Beer Cheese Soup

They don't call Wisconsin "America's Dairyland" for nothing - the entire state is blanketed with cows, dairy farms, and amazing cheesemakers. Cheese is just a part of life for Wisconsinites. And beer? Well, they have that as well. From Leinenkugel to Miller, Wisconsin has a brewery (macro or micro) for probably every cheesemaker in the state (not really)!

During the cold winter months in the northern Midwest, it gets BITTERLY, BRUTALLY cold. To beat the freeze, this hearty soup of cheese, diced veggies and beer, flavored with just a touch of mustard and Worcestershire warms you from the inside out. You'll also probably get horrendous gas, but I guess that will keep you warm as well...

I'm Southern, so I knew I had to "Southernize" this Wisconsin classic. So I added bacon and sauteed my veggies in the bacon fat to add a bit of that Southern SOMETHING to the dish. Feel free to leave it out and simply use butter for the vegetables instead if you insist on being authentically Wisconsin. 

Also, for the beer, use a lighter beer like a pilsner or lager; darker beers or ales will make the soup taste bitter and "feety". This is one of those recipes where cheaper beer is better. Personally, I like to use the champagne of beers, beloved by all hipsters - Miller High Life.

However, since I have all of these cute 8oz Budweisers, I'll just use that instead...

If you can't get enough of beer and cheese together, try Kentucky beer cheese

Beer Cheese Soup
adapted from Mommie Cooks

1/2 lb bacon, diced
1 Tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup beer (pilsner or lager)
4 cups chicken broth (1 qt)
1/2 cup half & half
1 8oz block sharp cheddar, grated
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 pinch cayenne
Salt to taste

Cook the bacon in a heavy stockpot over medium heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon from the pot, drain, and set aside.

Bruno's had Wright bacon on sale (24oz) - I usually don't buy this brand, since it's like $14 at Publix (for the 40oz), but I couldn't turn down a good sale. This stuff is like the boss pimp baller of bacon.

Add the butter to the rendered bacon fat. Once melted, add the onion, carrot, celery & garlic; saute for 4-5 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir well to combine. Stir in the beer and broth. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a gentle boil.

Reduce the heat to low; stir in the half & half and cheddar. Once the cheese has melted completely, stir in the Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, white pepper and cayenne.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Top with the cooked bacon and serve hot. I also like to top mine with pickled jalapeno slices.

To be TRULY Wisconsin, top the soup with cheese popcorn!


  1. I just made a variation of this today. Really, really good! Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Just discovered this blog, love, love, love it.