This recipe is inspired by the beer cheese soup I had from Canal Park Brewery in Duluth MN. Complex flavors and cheese and spices make this addicting. I love to serve with homemade or store-bought pretzel bites. —Tonja Engen
bacon, cut into 1⁄3-inch dice
celery ribs, diced
each salt and black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over moderate heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon onto paper towels.
Next, add the celery, onion, and carrots to the Dutch oven and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes until softened.
Add the beer and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a lively simmer for 12 minutes.
Next, add the Tabasco, cayenne, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low.
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the milk, whisking until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add all the cheeses, stirring until incorporated. Then add this cheese mixture to the Dutch oven. Mix well.
Using an immersion blender or regular blender, process soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Crumble bacon bits on top and serve with pretzel bites or pretzel rolls.