Beer Cheese Soup

Date: 2024-04-22 | Tagged with: recipe

Introduction and notes

This is where a real food blogger would wax nostalgic about their parents making this for football-watching parties, while the young author was responsible for taking the dog out in the rain when he had to go and hiding the good whiskey from Uncle Ted. I, on the other hand, am not a real food blogger, have never been to Wisconsin, rarely watch football, and worked out this recipe several years ago by smooshing together various recipes and advice I found online.

Like most soups, this begins with mirepoix and roux, and like any other kind involving cheese, it’s important that the cheese not be the pre-shredded kind so that it will melt properly. I’m not against pre-shredded cheese all the time, but it won’t work here because the stuff it’s dusted with to keep it from sticking together in the bag will make the soup lumpy or gritty.

The actual cheese(s) and beer you choose are very important. I’ve found that some brands’ idea of a sharp cheddar cheese is not sharp at all, and then the soup is dull too. So you have to find something good. In my part of the world, in most stores, the brand you’re most likely to find reliably that works is Cabot (of Vermont, USA, not to be confused with Cabot of Outlaw of Gor). But if you have a store with a good cheese counter, you’ll have lots of options.

As for the beer, there many opinions. Here’s mine: it shouldn’t be super-hoppy, like an IPA—too bitter. To balance with the cheese, it should be flavorful, but not too dark, or it will overpower it.

You may have seen recipes explaining that milk has to be whisked very slowly and carefully into roux to prevent lumps. Good news! It doesn’t. If your milk is cold and your roux is hot, you won’t get lumps. That’s why, when I make this, I stir the milk and/or half and half in completely first, since it comes out of the refrigerator, then add the broth, since it’s probably come out of the pantry.

More likely failure points are: undercooking the carrots; heating the milk too fast and burning it, or not watching it and making a colossal mess; and not quite getting the cheese melted all the way in before serving it. Theoretically it’s also possible to heat the soup too much after the cheese is added, causing it to separate, although I have never personally done this because by the time it’s nearly ready everyone’s hanging around waiting for it.



  1. In a soup pot, sweat the carrots, onion, celery and a pinch of salt in butter over medium heat until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add flour and cook, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes until it’s no longer raw.
  4. Whisk in milk/half & half until smooth, then add broth, beer, spices and sauces.
  5. Heat gently (stay on medium heat) until it begins to simmer, stirring often.
  6. Turn off heat and puree with an immersion blender.
  7. Bring the mixture to a simmer again and cook for at least a few minutes to thicken and give the carrots and celery more time to cook.
  8. Reduce the heat to very low, then stir in the cheese a little at a time until combined.
  9. Check for seasoning. It will probably need more salt, but you have to wait until the very end to taste and adjust it due to the variable content in the cheese.
  10. Heat the soup up again before serving if it’s no longer hot, but be careful not to overdo it or leave it too long.