Beer Cheese Soup – A comforting soup made with bacon, two kinds of cheese, and a whole bottle of wheat beer. Don’t forget your pretzel roll for dipping!
I can’t believe I haven’t shared a soup recipe in months! With all the rain we’ve been getting, I knew this was the perfect time to try a new cozy soup recipe and share it with you all.
I really wanted a soup that hit the “comfort zone” without being too heavy. I love a good chowder but sometimes the heavy cream can be a little too rich for my blood. This soup is rich but is balanced out by the smokey flavors and vegetables like jalapeño, onion, and celery. Plus, it’s creamy without being too thick.
Without further ado, I present to you my Beer Cheese Soup!
After my trip to Vermont last year, I went from a cheese enthusiast to cheese-obsessed. I ate so many kinds of cheese there but the white cheddar fondue was my favorite, by-far. When I ran out of foods for dipping, I felt no shame eating the remaining fondue straight from the bowl. So when thinking of new soups I wanted to try, a cheese soup was at the top of the list.
Beer cheese is something I shared on the blog years and years ago but it’s still pretty popular with you guys, especially around football season. I wanted a new way to enjoy it and this beer cheese soup was just the variety I was looking for.
How to make this soup
First, we start out by cooking bacon in the Dutch oven. This lays the foundation for the smokey flavor in the soup. Once the bacon is done, we scoop it out but leave all the fat in the pan to cook the vegetables.
Next the vegetables are added in to soften them up before we layer in the other elements. This soup does not cook for hours so we need to make sure the vegetables are nice and soft before moving on.
Then, we add in the beer. We reduce the beer to help emphasize its flavor (and also cook out the alcohol). Next, we add the broth. I use low-sodium broth so I can control the salt. If you are using regular broth, make sure to reduce the amount of salt we add later.
Okay now comes the part of the soup that’s a little different but very important – the roux. This is what thickens up the soup so you cannot skip it. To make the roux, you simple cook butter and flour together until it browns and thickens. Then, it’s added to the soup and whisked together. The soup will begin to thicken as it cooks.
Finally, we’re ready to finish off the soup. The rest of the beer is added, along with the milk. Then, we slowly add in the shredded cheese. This is an important step so that the cheese does not clump together. Finish off with some salt and pepper and now we’re ready to eat!
To serve the soup, I highly recommend a pretzel roll for dipping. Pretzel + cheese = HEAVEN. I found some in the bakery of my local grocery store but feel free to use soft pretzels if you can’t find any. Soft pretzels are located in the frozen aisle of most grocery stores.
Tips & Tricks
- I used a wheat beer for this recipe because I love the taste and it pairs incredibly well with cheese. But you can use a Pilsner or Lager, as well. I would steer away from IPAs or flavored beers because they may alter the flavor of the soup too much.
- It’s very important to add the cheese to the soup slowly. This allows the cheese to melt slowly and prevent it from clumping together.
- And speaking of the cheese, it is important to shred the cheese yourself. When you buy pre-shredded cheese, it has additives that prevent it from clumping, which will also prevent it from melting properly into the soup.
- Don’t add the cooked bacon to the soup until serving time. The crispy bacon will soften up as it absorbs the liquid in the soup. Therefore, if you add too soon, the bacon will be soft and not as enjoyable to eat.
Beer Cheese Soup
- 8 ounces thick-cut bacon
- 1 rib celery finely diced
- ½ medium onion finely diced
- 1 jalapeno seeded and finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
- 1 12-ounce wheat beer
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons butter unsalted
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese freshly shredded
- 4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese freshly shredded
- teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- pretzel rolls for serving
- Diced bacon into small pieces. Cook in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crispy, about 8 minutes. Scoop out cooked bacon and drain on paper towels. Do not discard bacon drippings.
- Add diced celery, onion, garlic, and thyme to bacon drippings and continue to cook over medium heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Do not let the vegetables burn so make sure you stir occasionally. Add half of the beer and reduce by half. Then, add in all the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
- While the broth is heating up, make the roux. In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour to melted butter and whisk together. Continue to whisk until roux turns from yellow to light brown, about 5 minutes. Pour roux into the soup and whisk together. Bring soup back up to a simmer and let the soup thicken for about 10 minutes. Add milk and remaining beer and mix together.
- Add cheese to the soup in 1/2-cup bunches, whisking after every addition. This prevents clumping and helps the cheese melt evenly. Add salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add a little more broth or water to thin it out to your liking.
- Serve soup immediately with a sprinkle of bacon on top and a fresh pretzel roll.