Beer Cheese Soup with IPA and Smoked Cheddar

Beer, Cheese Soup made with IPA and Smoked Cheddar
This beautiful soup is rich in flavor, perfect for any football Sunday and EASY to make..

Looking for that perfect item to add to your “football Sunday” menu OR if you are like many die hard Minnesota Vikings fans, you may already (with out wanting to say it out loud) be thinking of that Superbowl party you are going to have.  This year COULD BE “the year.”  Beer cheese soup with IPA and smoked cheddar would be a perfect hot date dinner as well.  Serve this soup with a light salad and your favorite IPA.  Truth be told, I have never made a beer-cheese soup.  I’m not sure why….everyone I know LOVES beer and cheese and here in the Midwest we have some of the best beer being brewed and the best cheese being made so it is time to get SERIOUS friends!!  Beer cheese soup with IPA and smoked cheddar might just be a match made in heaven….hoping you will love it like we do!

Tim was recently asked by a colleague of his if I had a recipe I would share on the blog….I did not, but I do now…. Thanks Heidi!!

Beer cheese soup is traditionally made with a pilsner-style beer and cheddar cheese...as you can see I wanted to shake things up a little bit and highlight some different flavors
Beer cheese soup is traditionally made with a pilsner-style (or lager) beer and cheddar cheese…as you can see I wanted to shake things up a little bit and highlight some different flavors..

Two Hearted Ale happens to be one of Tim’s top picks when it comes to beer (brewed in Michigan at Bell’s Brewery) so I wanted to accentuate that flavor in this soup.  Two Hearted Ale is and IPA which stands for India Pale Ale, a hoppy style of beer within the pale ale category.  This type of beer differs from that of a “lager-style” beer (usually listed in an ingredient list for beer cheese soup).  The difference comes from the type of yeast used in fermentation and the temperature the brew is fermented at.  

TASTE is a result of these differences; lagers, as a result of their cool-fermenting yeast strains, have less yeast-derived flavors than ales, which contain a complex range of spicy/fruity flavors produced by a warmer fermentation. Usually described as clean-tasting, lagers offer a more clear expression of grain and hops.  For more information on BEER check out The Ann Arbor News   (http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment/food-drink/a-lesson-in-beer-ales-vs-lagers/).

Now, let’s talk cheese.  Just as I like to buy produce and meat as locally as possible, the same goes for cheese and HELLO, we neighbor WI, cheese capital of America (certainly use whatever kind of cheddar you prefer or find).  Nordic Creamery (the brand of smoked cheddar I used in this soup) is located in West, central WI and was established in 1917, so I trust they know what they are doing   (https://www.nordiccreamery.com/).     I am always looking for ways to enhance flavor when creating recipes and smoked cheddar fit the bill when I was doing ingredient research for this one.   IPAs pair well with high fat content cheeses, (like smoked cheddar) because the bitterness of the hops helps cut through the fat in the cheese….a match made in heaven….I think so!   Let’s cook, this soup is quick and easy to throw together…

Once the veggies are sauteed for a few minutes, add the beer...make sure it one you like...the flavor will intensify as the beer is reduced..
Once the veggies are sauteed for a few minutes, add the beer…make sure it one you like…the flavor will intensify as the beer is reduced..
Make you roux (thickening agent in this soup)..
While the beer is reducing, make you roux (thickening agent in this soup)..

A roux by definition is flour and fat cooked together and used to thicken sauces.  Roux is typically made from equal parts of flour and fat (in this soup the fat is butter). The flour is added to the melted butter, blended until smooth, and cooked to the desired level of brownness.  The color in the picture is what you are trying to achieve.   This is a SIMPLE technique that is used time and again to thicken sauces and soups alike.  Do not let the fancy name intimidate you, this could not be easier.  Simply whisk the flour into the melted butter and continue to whisk until a light brown color forms (this magic happens in 2-3 minutes), being careful not to burn.  The roux will be added after the chicken stock (for homemade stock, grab the recipe here   http://www.hotdatedinner.com/basic-training-tip-tricks-recipes/)  and will whisked in to fully incorporate.  

The roux is added to the soup as a thickener and then you simply add the shredded cheese and cream, stirring until smooth and delectable...
The roux is added to the soup as a thickener and then you simply add the shredded cheese and cream, stirring until smooth and delectable…
Beer, Cheese Soup made with IPA and Smoked Cheddar
BON APPETIT FRIENDS!!!
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Beer Cheese Soup with IPA and Smoked Cheddar

Beer, Cheese Soup made with IPA and Smoked Cheddar

I recently got a special request from one of Tim’s colleagues to make a beer cheese soup…D.O.N.E.  This one may not be your typical recipe, but it is GOOD, REALLY GOOD.  Tim loves a good, local IPA when he has a beer so this was my inspiration for this soup…hope you love it like we do!!

  • Author: Emily
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

Evoo

1 celery rib, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

pinch red pepper flakes

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 12 oz bottle of your favorite IPA (or use a beer you like or have in your fridge)

4 cups of chicken stock (http://www.hotdatedinner.com/basic-training-tip-tricks-recipes/)

4 T butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

8 oz of sharp cheddar, grated

4 oz of smoked cheddar, grated (if you are not a fan of smoked cheese, sub additional cheddar)

1 cup heavy cream

popcorn (garnish, this is optional)

Instructions

Heat 2-3 T of evoo in a dutch oven over medium-low heat.  Add the celery, onion, garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes.   Saute the vegetables until soft, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes.  Add the beer, increase the heat to medium high, bring to a boil and reduce (done by boiling) by half about 8 minutes.  Add the chicken stock and return to a  low boil.  

Meanwhile, make a roux by melting the butter in a small skillet, adding the flour and whisking constantly until a light brown color is achieved about 2-3 minutes.  Whisk this into the soup and cook until soup is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.  Add the cheeses and cream and stir until fully incorporated about 5 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with freshly popped popcorn.

Notes

Unlike most soups I make, this one is best served the day it is made.  Add additional chicken stock as needed if made ahead and consistency needs to be adjusted.