Beer and Cheese Soup
This creamy soup recipe of German origin is great served as a first course or alongside a sandwich.
For our version, we used both sharp cheddar and Jarlsberg cheeses and a nice quality, medium-bodied lager.
We found that the smooth-melting Jarlsberg mellows the tangy cheddar somewhat so the cheeses pair with the beer without overpowering it.
The result is a well-balanced blend of subtle flavors. For a finishing touch, top with some Garlic-Pumpernickel Croutons (instructions included).
- 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1-1/2 cups beer (see notes)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- 2 cups Jarlsberg cheese, freshly grated
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Garlic-Pumpernickel Croutons
- 4 slices pumpernickel bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic, quartered lengthwise
- Start by making the croutons. Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the garlic from the pan and add the bread cubes. Using a spatula, toss to coat them with the butter.
- Continue cooking, tossing constantly, until the croutons are lightly toasted. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to serve.
- Heat the butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.
- Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the flour over the mixture. Combine well and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
- Whisk in the milk, one cup at a time and continue whisking until thoroughly blended and thick, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Slowly add the chicken broth and beer in the same manner and bring to simmer.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce and mustard and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cheese, about 1/2 cup at a time.
- Continue cooking until all the cheese has melted and the soup is smooth and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Do not boil, or the cheese may curdle. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.
- Ladle into individual serving bowls and top with Garlic-Pumpernickel Croutons.
About the beer:
Just like when you cook with wine, be sure to choose a beer that you would enjoy drinking. We used Toasted Lager from Blue Point Brewing Company, a medium-bodied brew with a nice balance of malt and hops and were quite pleased with the flavor it gave our soup.