Celebrate Oktoberfest With This Beer & Cheese Soup

In case you've been living under a rock, we have some amazing news for y'all. As of this past Saturday, Oktoberfest has begun.

The 16 day festival -- held in Munich, Germany, but celebrated everywhere -- is the world's largest fair. It was first held in 1810, when all of Munich was invited to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

Celebrate we will! And what better way to honor Bavarian culture than with great beer and even greater cheese? For your Oktoberfest delight, we're sharing a recipe for rich, velvety Beer & Cheese Soup.

Ingredients yields about 8 servings

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium leeks (whites and green parts only), diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt + more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper + more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 bottle Oktoberfest-style beer
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Gruyère, shredded
  • Hot sauce to taste Optional toppings: fresh herbs, crumbled bacon, sliced brats, diced tomatoes, diced red pepper, garlic bread, homemade croutons, soft pretzel bites


    Melt butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the diced leeks, carrots and celery. Season with cayenne, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and dry mustard. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. During the final minute or two, stir in garlic and cook until fragrant.

    Sprinkle the vegetables with flour and stir, cooking until raw flour taste is removed, about 1 minute. Stir in beer, chicken stock, Dijon-mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce heat to low, simmering for 15 minutes. Purée with an immersion blender until smooth.

    To finish, stir in both cheeses and the milk, mixing until the cheeses have fully melted and mixture is smooth and velvety. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

    Note: Finish the soup as close to serving time as possible, because it can thicken as it sits. If the mixture gets too thick, add a bit more chicken stock (or beer) and whisk over low heat.

    Serve with hot sauce, sliced brats, crumbled bacon, pretzel bites, or chives.


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    Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
    Contact: Brooke Viggiano