Beer Cheese Soup Recipe
I can’t believe the holidays are almost over. And that 2012 has basically come to a close as well. I hope everyone’s been having a great time visiting with friends and family. I know we’ve had such a fun time. Since today’s the final day of 2012, I thought I’d close this year with one final decadent recipe before we head into the new year and better eating habits – a beer cheese soup recipe.
Over the years I’ve heard quite a few good things about beer cheese soup. Being from the south, I’d never actually had beer cheese soup until Jeremy and I had it at the Moab Brewery on our honeymoon in 2011. Of course it was delicious, and I’ve thought of it often since then. Earlier this fall, Jessica from How Sweet It Is published her version of the recipe. I’ve adapted it here, and I’m pretty happy with the outcome.
The techniques for this recipe are easy overall and between prep and cook time, this soup’s done is under an hour. I’d consider this one something you can make for weeknight dinner after work. It’s definitely a filling, satisfying soup between the bacon, cheese, beer and milk in the dish. Also, if you pair the soup with a couple of slices of my beer and cheddar quick bread, you’ll be all set! Let’s delve into ingredients and technique then get on to the recipe.
Like many tasty recipes, the basis for this recipe is bacon, onions and garlic. These three ingredients help to build a strong seasoning base that the beer and cheese will be layered on top of. Of course most people love the combo of these three ingredients so I won’t wax poetic on their virtues as a flavor base for a soup. Suffice it to say, starting here gives the soup a highly flavorful palate to build on.
Similar to my beer and cheddar bread recipe, I used a Golden Lager in this soup. Again, it was the Abita Golden because we still have it in our kegerator. I saw a few recipes that used Amber Lagers, but I really like the way my version of the soup came out with the Golden Lager. The beer flavor was prominent but did not overpower the rest of the ingredients. I felt the Golden Lager was very balanced in the soup and recommend using it. Do you have a beer you prefer to use in beer cheese soup? Let us know!
So after the bacon, onions and garlic are cooked down (and before the beer is added), it’s time for the soup’s thickener to be added into the mix. We use small amounts of butter and flour to make a blonde roux. It’s only cooked for a few minutes to activate the thickening power of the roux. Try to keep the roux as blonde as possible. If cooked too long, roux will get darker, thus darkening your pot of beer cheese soup. Attend to the pot of soup very carefully while completing the roux step – you’ll want to stir almost the whole time until you achieve a light blonde roux color.
In order to achieve our creamy, rich soup texture, milk, cheese and beer are used to round out the ingredients on this recipe. The beer is added to the pot first in order to cook off the alcohol. This only takes a few minutes – as long as it takes to bring the soup up to a boil. Cooking off the alcohol is necessary for a balance flavor in the soup. Adding in the milk and cheese afterward complete the texture and flavors of the soup. The flavors of the soup marry fairly quickly and in all, this soup is only cooked 30 minutes on the stove.
When I made this recipe, I cooked it ahead of time and served it later on for dinner. It reheats well in that way but I did have to add a little extra milk to thin the recipe. As a soup like this sits, it becomes thicker due to the highly active starch molecules it contains. Thinning with just a little milk retains the flavor of the soup while adjusting consistency. Use a whisk to stir out cheese clumps. My soup got back to the proper consistency pretty quickly with low heat, a little milk and some whisking.
As I said earlier, this soup pairs well with a beer cheese bread. I happened to make one last week so if you need a quick and easy recipe, I’ve got you covered. The bread takes about a half hour longer than the soup so get the bread in the oven first then make the soup. By the time the bread’s out of the oven, the soup will be ready too. And you’ll be so ready to enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor.
Ready to eat? Let’s get on to the recipe!
Beer Cheese Soup Recipe
This beer cheese soup recipe is decadent and delicious - it's loaded with bacon, cheeses, onions, garlic and of course - beer!
- 4 slices of bacon
- 1 onion, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups beer (Golden Lager)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1-8 ounce block Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 1-8 ounce block mild cheddar, shredded
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
- In a hot dry soup pot, render the bacon until crispy. Once done, remove the bacon from the pan, set aside and while the rest of the soup is cooking, chop the bacon into bits. Keep the bacon fat in the pot and keep the heat on medium-high.
- Add the onion and kosher salt and cook the onion 7-10 minutes until wilted.
- Add the garlic and cook about one minute until fragrant and softened.
- Add butter and flour to create blonde roux. Cook 3 or so minutes to activate the thickening power of the roux.
- Add beer and bring up to a boil to cook off the alcohol. This may take 5-7 minutes depending how cold the beer was.
- Once at a boil, reduce heat to low, and stir in the milk and cheeses. Continue to cook until soup is heated through and all cheeses are melted. This could take another 5 or so minutes.
- When ready to serve, garnish with the chopped bacon and green onions. If soup gets too thick or clumpy, thin with milk and use a whisk to stir milk in.
Recipe Adapted from How Sweet It Is.