Follow the trails for Cheddar cheese and craft beer, and you’ll be treated to some of the best flavors of Vermont (yes, we have maps!). In this soup, we throw in a few wild mushrooms for good measure.
Any where you land in Vermont, there are several things you will never be far from – maple everything, Cheddar cheese, and craft beers! We even have maps of “Cheese Trails” and “Craft Beer Trails” for visitors to follow around the green mountains to sample some of our specialties. It’s fun, informative, and can be quite filling (for the beer trail, you may need a designated driver).
Beyond the pub
Cheddar and ale or beer soups are a fixture in Vermont, especially in the pubs, but frequently at fine dining establishments as well. They are hearty, filled with flavor, and they are unique. The creaminess of the cheddar combines beautifully with the sharpness of the beer with its bitter notes, and the resulting flavor is unlike anything else, except perhaps the flavor of a hearty Welsh Rabbit which also combines beer and cheese!
Let’s add some mushrooms, too!
I had a lovely haul of local mushrooms from the farmers market this week, so I actually had some extra to use in the soup. My assortment included hen-of-the-woods (maitake), oyster, and shiitake. I have never used mushrooms in my cheese/ale soup before, but their earthiness added a lovely flavor and texture to the mix, and I’ll be doing this again!
For the beer, I had some dark Vermont Long Trail ale on hand, so in it went. If you use their Harvest Brown Ale, there is added maple syrup, so you’ll have a bit of that Vermont flavor as well. The Hibernator would be a good choice here as well, but use what you like to drink, just like when you are cooking with wine.
Serious about cheddar
The cheese here was Cabot Hunters Seriously Sharp Cheddar, our basic house cheddar, but any Vermont white cheddar will work. The Hunters melts beautifully, and has just the right intense sharpness we like. Proportionally, I used a little less cheese than some recipes out there which can be a little on the too-thick side, almost a cheese sauce, but I keep it sharp to hold its own against the beer.
I used a homemade vegetable/mushroom stock here, but use whatever you like: vegetable, chicken, etc. I used half-and-half, which is half milk and half light cream, but use any cream or milk that you prefer. You can even use evaporated skim milk. I would not use heavy cream since the sauce will be thickened and have a lot of cheese in it.
This makes eight cups.
Vermont Cheddar, Beer, and Mushroom Soup
2 cups half-and half, light cream, or any % milk
2 cups stock of choice
1/2 stick butter
1 sweet onion, minced
1 large carrot, minced
2 ribs celery, minced
8 ounces wild mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. Coleman’s mustard
1 tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
A few grates of nutmeg
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 bottle dark ale, local craft
12 ounces Vermont white sharp cheddar
Salt and pepper
Warm the cream and stock over low heat.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high and add onions, carrot, celery, and sauté for a few minutes, then add the mushrooms to the pot. Cook until the vegetables are tender and have released their moisture.
Add the mustard, the paprika, cayenne, bay leaf, and a few grates of nutmeg. Combine well, and let these spices bloom for a few minutes, stirring.
Add the flour, and cook for three or four minutes, until it is thick and any glaze on the pan is now part of the pasty looking concoction on the bottom of the pot.
Add the ale, and cook until the mixture is thick. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then pour in the heated stock/cream mixture, along with salt and a lot of fresh black pepper. Taste, but fair warning, until the cheese is in the pot, you probably won’t like it much!
Add the cheese, reduce the heat to low, and simmer just until the cheese is melted.
Plate and garnish with whatever you like: fresh parsley, some croutons, a few slices of the mushroom, or maybe a slice or two of hot peppers. Serve with crusty bread, and perhaps a glass of something crafty.
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Three winning ingredients, that’s for sure. 🧀🍺🍄
Some of our favorites. Now, if I could just figure out how to include chocolate…
Well, I wish I lived in Vermont. But since I don’t, I will make this soup. It really sounds fabulous. I love the addition of the shrooms.
You’ll feel like you were right here!
Wow, love this!
It’s really good…
I’m intrigued. I’ll have to give it a go, thank you for sharing your recipe.
Give it a try! It’s really good.
It seems that the minute I return from Vermont, I want to turn around and go back. Your blog eases the pain!
Ah! Thanks so much Angela! I remember how homesick I was when I lived in the south, and cooking my mom’s food always helped bring me home for little moments here and there.
The title for this post showed up in my readers as: Vermont Cheddar, Beer, and Mush. I have to admit that I was intrigued by the thought of said, but am much happier knowing you were making a delicious soup. Beer mush sound dreadful to me
LOL, but wait a minute. If I make the mush with local stone-ground corn (another Yankee ingredient), and beer and stock as the liquid, the cheese is a natural as are the mushrooms….this might work!
That might not be bad. Kind of savory like polenta, not sweet like fried mush for breakfast which is where my mind went.
My mom would make a big batch of the mush for us in the morning and save the leftovers in a square baking dish tucked in the refrigerator. The next day, she would cut it into squares and fry it and serve it with eggs. An Italian would call it polenta, but she called it fried cornmeal mush!
I’m not a beer drinker but I adore beer cheese soup, and tis the season! The beer and cheese trail sounds like so much fun too…mushrooms are a great addition, thank you for the tips!
You’re welcome Jenna! I’m not a beer drinker either, just a few sips here and there and I enjoy that but not a whole glass. But I absolutely love the flavor it imparts in soups and stews, sauces too. Thanks so much for stopping by.
Yes, I do like to cook with it!
This soup definitely has it all! I love cabot in my cheese soups and I agree – cheese soup shouldn’t be too thick. You should not be able to stand up a spoon in cheese soup!
Unfortunately, I’ve been served many a bowl where that is the case – way too thick, and should be covering a head of steamed cauliflower!
That sounds so good!
Thank you, it really is.
I’m so glad you liked one of my posts so that I could come over here and discover your delightful blog! 🙂
Ah, you’re welcome! That’s part of the fun of this, discovering all those incredibly interesting people out there and inviting them into your kitchen.
What a rich and luxurious sounding soup! I would happily tuck in to this any time! 🙂
It’s pretty good!
Boy, does this look great!
It tastes as good as it looks!
Both does this look good!
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