2/1/12

Virtual Potluck & Lewis Bear Co. Super Bowl Party: Cheese Soup with Herbed Croutons

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Happy February!  If you live in the Northeast, hopefully you're finding some time today to get outside and enjoy the unseasonable warm weather we're having. Yesterday in Cleveland it was 60 degrees and today it's holding steady at 50, which is pretty warm for the first day of February.  This winter can't seem to decide if it's gonna be warm or cold. 

Are you getting excited for the Super Bowl this Sunday? Are you going to any parties or are you throwing a Super Bowl party at your house? Well, if you are, you might be trying to come up with ideas on what to bring or what to serve at your party. At the end of this post I'll put a list together of things I've made in the past that would be great for Super Bowl Sunday, but first I'd like to highlight one particular dish: Beer Cheese Soup.

I mean... it's made with beer, which deems it instantly acceptable at any non-sucking Super Bowl party. Just imagine a nice big crockpot of this stuff keeping warm on the back counter with a bowl of herbed croutons sitting beside it. Your guests could just roll on by, fill up a bowl, and go hang out in the living room with their hot soup and an ice cold beer, which gets them the hell out of your way as you put together the rest of the party fare.

This soup has a distinct flavor from the beer and a nice bite from the sharp cheddar cheese, hot sauce, and cayenne (I know, shocking... it's spicy!).  I suggest using a beer that actually has some flavor because the alcohol will cook off, but the flavor of the beer you choose to use will stay and be prominent in this soup, so choose wisely.  I suggest using an IPA or a Pale Ale.  Something with a little hoppiness and a nice flavor. 

The beer I used in this soup was Victory Brewing Company's Headwaters Pale Ale. This beer was provided to me by the Lewis Bear Co., who is a family owned beverage distributorship founded in 1876 that holds the regional franchise for Anheuser-Busch. The company is headquartered in Pensacola, Florida.  My food blogging group, Virtual Potluck, is partnering with Lewis Bear Co. to introduce you to some of the beers they distribute and show you how they can be enjoyed... and that means even cooking with them!

I received three beers from Lewis Bear Co. to try:

  • Victory Brewing Company's Headwaters Pale Ale
    • Tasting notes from the company: This firmly crispy and aromatically arousing pale ale integrates a softly supportive malt base with underlies streams of herbal hop complexity.
    • My take on it: This beer had a great flavor with a hoppy finish (but not too hoppy). I also picked up a touch of citrus flavor in this beer, which might have come from the herbal hops.

  • Grayton Beer IPA
    • Tasting notes from the company: A well balanced, yet hop forward IPA —Grayton I.P.A. effortlessly combines the hop essence with a surprisingly smooth body, balanced with a touch of malt. An invigorating taste that’s a perfect companion to an adventurous weekend.
    • My take on it: This was my favorite. I enjoyed the smooth maltiness and it was just hoppy enough - no bitter aftertaste. 

  • Pensacola Bay Lighthouse Porter 
    • (not pictured below as this beer is not usually bottled and served on draught only, so the bottle I received was just plain and unmarked)
    • Tasting notes from the company: The Lighthouse Porter is flavorful, without being heavy. An enjoyable sipping beer, you’ll definitely find your way to shore with our Lighthouse Porter.
    • My take on it: I'm not really a fan of porters in general, so this was not my favorite beer.  Granted, I was drinking it out of the bottle and it's usually served only on draught, so I might not have gotten a true sense of what this beer is.  If you're a porter fan, I would suggest giving it a try just based on how good the other two beers are.
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Want a chance to win a Lewis Bear Co. prize pack? 
Prize pack includes:   2 t-shirts (one from Budweiser and one from Victory Brewing), Budweiser hat, Bud light bottle opener and Pensacola Bay Brewery Coozie.

Mandatory Entry:
To enter: Just leave a comment in the comment section below.

Additional Entries:
For extra entries, do any or all of the below and then come back here and leave a comment for each:
  1. Follow Lewis Bear Co on Twitter
  2. Like the Lewis Bear Co Facebook page
  3. Tweet about the contest:I just entered to win a @lewisbearcomp prize pack from @TaratheFoodie #virtualpotluck Enter here: http://tinyurl.com/7a7wk7p  Comment again, letting me know you've done so, by providing the link to your tweet.
Contest will end on Super Bowl Sunday, February 5th at 6 pm EST and a winner will be chosen via random.org.

See how I made this soup after the jump!




In a dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the carrots, onion, and celery. After a few minutes, add the garlic. After just 30 seconds or so, stir in the hot pepper sauce, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. 
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Pour in chicken broth and beer; simmer until vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
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Meanwhile, heat butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in flour with a wire whisk; cook, stirring until the flour is light brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Gradually stir in milk, whisking to prevent scorching, until thickened.
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Remove from heat, and gradually stir in cheese.
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Pour the cheese sauce into the beer mixture, then continue to stir to combine. Stir in Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and dry mustard. Taste and add a bit more salt if you get a little bitterness.
Pour the soup (in batches if necessary) into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. 
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Return blended soup back to the pot and heat through.
Serve topped with herbed croutons (homemade or store bought)

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Virtual PotluckWanna see what the other Virtual Potluckers brought to our Super Bowl party?  Head over to the host of this event's blog, 30AEATS, to see a complete list of the participating bloggers and check out what they made.

Still looking for more ideas for Super Bowl Sunday?  Here are some past FOODIE creations that might also work for your party:

Grilled Chicken and Black Bean Nachos

Hummus Two Ways

Fresh Salsa

Crispy Olives Stuffed with Fennel Sausage

Eggplant Meatballs

Iron Chef Michael Symon's Spicy Sriracha Wings

Quesadillas

Southwestern Shrimp and Avocado Scoops

Prosciutto and Gruyere Pastry Pinwheels



Beer Cheese Soup with Herbed Croutons

soup, beer, cheese, cheddar, croutons, super bowl, football

See Beer Cheese Soup with Herbed Croutons on Key Ingredient.



7 comments:

  1. Hop Devil Ale by Victory Brewing Co is my favorite ale. perhaps I'll try some with this soup.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My current favorite is New Glarus Cabin Fever Honey Bock...Great small-town brewers!

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  3. I like Grayton IPA too! Your soup looks comforting and delicious!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love dogfish IPA and guinness

    ReplyDelete
  5. Follow Lewis Bear Co on Twitter @cjsorel

    ReplyDelete
  6. Like the Lewis Bear Co Facebook page

    ReplyDelete
  7. tweeted https://twitter.com/#!/cjsorel/status/165933273833414656

    ReplyDelete

If you are commenting to enter a giveaway, please do not comment as "Anonymous". If you choose to comment as "Name/URL", please use your Twitter handle as your Name or provide a URL that provides us a way to contact you in the even that you are the winner. Thank you! ~ FOODIE