Beer Bacon Cheddar Soup


  • 1/2 pound piece of slab bacon, sliced 1/3 inch thick and cut into 1/3-inch dice 
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon celery seed)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 large jalapeño, seeded and chopped 
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • One 12-ounce bottle lager or pilsner 
  • About 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 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, transfer the bacon to a bowl.
  2. Add the celery, onion, jalapeño, garlic and thyme to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 8 minutes. Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half, 5 minutes. Add 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the heavy cream, cheddar cheeses and the remaining beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Add a few extra tablespoons of broth if the soup is too thick.