I feel terrible about this, and I really don’t even remember how it happened, but somewhere along the way our almost-two-year-old daughter picked up a little phrase.
“I want beer!”
Not just “I want beer.” But “I. Want. BEEEER!”
She throws it out there randomly, oh, about once a day. Sitting at breakfast, from the back of the car, randomly to the lady at the supermarket (“Ahhh, she’s so cute, what did she just say?” “Umm … gosh uh, I’m really not sure!”)
I think she keeps it up because my first reaction is always to laugh out loud, until I catch myself and remind myself that she’s probably saying it because it causes Mommy to make that funny half laugh/half snort noise.
Or maybe it’s because Daddy and Mommy are, frankly, beer fans, though I can’t remember the last time either of us realized, “hey, I’m thirsty” and then loudly proclaimed, “I. Want. BEEERRR!”
But we do want beer nonetheless. Especially in this fall-inspired beer cheese soup. (Clunky segue? Yeah, I know and I apologize).
I’ve been wanting to try beer cheese soup for while. I wish I could declare myself an aficionado, but I am not. A bowl full of melted cheese … okay, maybe for my waistline, it is best that I am NOT an aficionado. But my brain wishes I’d tried this incredible stuff. A lot. Every day of my life so far. At least once.
It’s so good.
This version perks up the classic beer cheese soup, which is generally made of a lighter american ale and sharp cheddar cheese, with pumpkin. Pumpkin puree, pumpkin ale, and a bit of sage and nutmeg to round out those warm wonderful fall flavors. I also replaced a bit of the cheddar with a sprinkle of nutty Gruyere, which adds another complementary note.
It’s still your tangy, cheesy beer cheese soup at heart, but with a seasonal twist. I think this will have to be one of many future beer cheese soup creations. I would like to be an aficionado, and most importantly, my kid wants beer. And I aim to please.
(She is SO TOTALLY NEVER getting beer.)
Pumpkin Ale Beer Cheese Soup with Sharp Cheddar and Gruyere
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup unsalted butter)
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced (2 cups))
- 1 medium carrot (diced small (1/2 cup))
- 1/2 celery stalk (diced small (1/4 cup))
- 2 medium garlic cloves (minced (2 teaspoons))
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage (4-5 medium leaves - or 1/2 teapoon dried)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 12-oz bottle pumpkin ale (I use Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt like kosher salt (can use table salt, but I suggest about 1/2 teaspoon to start as it's a little harsher)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 3/4 pound)
- 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (about 1/4 pound)
- Pinch or two of ground nutmeg (to taste (I add about 1/8 teaspoon))
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- Melt butter to a four-quart or larger saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, sage, and bay leaf. Saute, stirring frequently, for another minute.
- Add the flour and continue cooking over medium low heat, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
- Add the milk, vegetable broth, and beer in a stream, whisking well. Return to a simmer and cook for about five more minutes until very slightly thickened.
- Stir in the pumpkin, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Add handfuls of cheese, stirring constantly. Cook until cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve.