Cheddar Cheese and Ale Soup

Cheddar & Ale Soup II

Click here to watch me make this soup on the WCSH6 Morning Report.

Can be Vegetarian

I haven’t been to New Hampshire for a few weeks so I’m really looking forward to hitting the XC ski trails this weekend in Jackson!  There should be some fine spring skiing and snowshoeing.

Ready for spring skiing!

Ready for spring skiing!

There’s something about snow and being outdoors that just makes me crave pub grub.  Luckily, there’s plenty of pubs to choose from in Mt. Washington Valley, but when I also have to satisfy a cooking itch, this rich, soothing and cheesy soup is just the ticket.  It’s unbelievably good.  Cold damp weather be damned!  This will warm you up and have you snoozing (post-activity) on the sofa in no time. It’s another adaptation from an old favorite 70’s cookbook, Bakery Lane Soup Bowl written by Marge Mitchell and Joan Sedgwick.  These two ladies owned a popular restaurant by the same name in Middlebury, Vermont where they were known for their homemade soups, sandwiches and desserts.  There’s so many good recipes in here that I still haven’t had a chance to make.  I found out that they closed the restaurant in the late 70’s, set out for Arizona and opened Maude’s in Prescott.  And wrote another cookbook in 1982, SOUP BOWL WEST I’ll bet they put their own spin on Southwestern cuisine.  Stay tuned! You can really taste the beer in this soup.  Utterly delicious. I used a bottle of Sam Adams that was kicking around the fridge, but if I had to buy beer…well, I’d choose Daymark from Portland’s own Rising Tide brewery.  I just love the flavor. The beer/ale is definitely noticeable in this soup, so choose something you like. Plus, the beer will mellow as the soup ages in the fridge, so plan to make it ahead.  For cheese, I always reach for blocks of Cabot cheddar to shred in my just turned 30 years old, Cuisinart food processor (I thought of throwing a party. 30 years with one machine – how many relationships last that long?).  This recipe is fairly foolproof.  Plus, you will want to make this ahead as I have found that an overnight stay, or longer in the fridge vastly improves the flavor.  I like it best on day 2 or 3, day 3 being my favorite.  How great is that? Yummy Cheddar & Ale Soup II Serve the soup with a side of dark rye or pumpernickel, cold sliced sausage, mustard, pickles and a mugs of ale and make it a real pub meal. Make sure you put in plenty of miles on those skis!  (or treadmill) Whatever works... Happy Cooking! xo Barbara
Cheddar Cheese and Ale Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Creamy and satisfying after a cold day. This is New England cuisine at its best! Tastes best made a day ahead of serving. Watch me make this recipe here.
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 to 10 servings
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped onion (1 large onion)
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot (2 medium carrots)
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery (2 stalks)
  • ½ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • ⅓ cup diced tomato, canned or fresh
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 cups stock, vegetable or chicken
  • 1 ½ cups pale ale or lager beer
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon Hungarian half-sharp paprika (I use Penzey’s, or use a combo of sweet and hot paprika to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Garnish: finely chopped parsley or crumbled bacon
  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and green pepper and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 7 to 10 minutes.
  2. Uncover and add garlic and tomatoes, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and sprinkle the flour and dry mustard over the vegetables, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
  3. Stirring constantly, slowly add vegetable or chicken stock, followed by ale or lager beer, milk and heavy cream. Allow it to come to a simmer, uncovered, and keep it on a low simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure it does not boil by adjusting heat as necessary. It will thicken and be able to coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Add the shredded cheese by handfuls, stirring the soup between additions until it is melted and smooth. Add Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and salt, and stir for 2 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasonings accordingly.
  5. Tastes best, as many things do, after an overnight stay in the fridge. Reheat carefully. Serve in heated soup bowls, garnishing with chopped parsley and crumbled bacon if desired.
Adapted from Bakery Lane Soup Bowl by Marge Mitchell and Joan Sedgewick, Random House, 1976


Published on March 22, 2014
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  1. This soup looks perfect for a snow spring getaway! Pair it with a fave NW ale, a roaring fire, and good friends, and it sounds like a sweet little scene.

  2. This sounds like a wonderful combination, pinning to try!

  3. It’s been rainy and gloomy today and when I saw this soup – I instantly wished I am having it. Looks like the perfect comfort food. Pinned, too. :)

  4. Ah I loooove this soup, it looks and sounds so good. We are into our warm spring down here in Texas but I may have to make t soon anyway! It’s a good comfort food!

  5. Although the weather is warming up here in the mid-Atlantic (and it’s about time!, I do love the sound of this soup. Especially topped with crumbled bacon and served with pumpernickel, this would be my idea of Sunday night heaven. Hmm – this is about the only reason I can think of to wish for a cold spell in April.

  6. I love the beer and tomatoes in this–so much added depth of flavor from those items. Delicious! And please say that snow is gone by now!!!! :)

    • Most of the snow is gone, Laura! But there are still pockets of snow on the mountains and in the woods and in front of people’s houses here and there. I predict another week before it is totally GONE!

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