Smoky Beer, Bacon & Cheese Soup

Prep: 20 min
Cook: 45 min
Yield: 4 servings

I’ve heard Cajun chefs call onion, celery and bell peppers the “holy trinity” of cooking. (Looking at you, Emeril.) If I had to pick my trinity, it would be: homebrew, bacon and cheese. Preferably with a bit of spice, like this soup recipe...which is about as close to heaven-on-earth as it gets.


  • 1/2 lb thick-cut bacon, cut into ⅓-inch dice
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo, minced, or more to taste
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chopped thyme
  • 12 oz Nut Brown Ale or your favorite Brown Ale
  • 2¼ + ¼ cups chicken broth
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 12 oz sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels.
  2. Add the celery, onion, chipotle, garlic and thyme to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 8 minutes.
  3. Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half, 5 minutes. Add 2¼ cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  4. In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk this roux into the soup until incorporated and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes.
  5. Add the heavy cream, cheddar cheese and the remaining beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the reserved bacon and season with salt, pepper and remaining spices. Add more broth if the soup is too thick.

About the Chef

Craig Blum

Long before I was a brewer, I started out as a restaurant line cook and then worked my way all the way up to Executive Chef. So great beer AND great food are never far from my mind. I don’t miss the frantic pace of the restaurant world. But I do love taking what I learned there and putting my own homebrew spin on it. The best of both worlds!