Where Did Beer Cheese Soup Come From?

Beer cheese soup in bowl
Beer cheese soup in bowl - from my point of view/Shutterstock

The Upper Midwest state of Wisconsin widely takes credit for the creation of beer cheese soup. However, its real origins go even further back and actually predate mass immigration from Germany. People enjoyed biersuppe all over the country in its early modern days circa 1600 — some, but not all, recipes called for the addition of cheese. Historians can track the dish back to at least 1652 thanks to a Jacob Jordaens painting of a family enjoying beer soup. The recipe appears in cookbooks around the dawn of the 17th century, too, and was mainly considered a breakfast dish. Since then, the recipe for beer soup (made with or without cheese) has traversed the North Atlantic Ocean and has its roots firmly placed in ancient European culture.

Women were most likely to make this meal, as they often brewed beer for their families and then incorporated it into their cooking. Historically, the soup would have included egg yolk, stale bread, water, and, of course, beer. Nowadays, ingredients typically comprise of cream, butter, garlic, and medium or dark beer — all simmered together in a pan while you slowly add a mixture of cheeses. You can find a quality beer and cheddar soup recipes from our own test kitchen, and wherever you order beer cheese soup, you'll find the dish has a distinctive creamy consistency and slight tanginess from the malt.

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Modern Adaptations Of Beer Cheese Soup

Pot of beer cheese soup
Pot of beer cheese soup - dragosrrusu2/Shutterstock

Learning about the humble beginnings of this unusual soup is fascinating, and you can also sample it as a spread, sometimes made from lager, cheddar, milk, and spices. Some versions of pub cheese are made in a similar fashion. Beer isn't just a secret ingredient for more flavorsome soup — in beer cheese soup, it's the star of the show. Additions like chives or popcorn on top are only there for garnish.

If you love the beer-cheese combo, then there are dozens of other clever ways to use beer cheese in your cooking. It's a tasty addition to any mac' n cheese recipe and adds a creamy kick to nachos. You can even mix it into mashed potatoes or bake a cheese beer bread. The historic basis of this dish was versatility and imagination, so try to continue that in modern-day use. Besides, if you cool it to room temperature beforehand and refrigerate the remaining product in an airtight container, it lasts up to six months. With such a generous shelf-life, why not extend its use to other recipes?

Read the original article on Tasting Table.