There is always more than one way to look at things. Lady Astor once said, “One reason I don’t drink is I want to know when I’m having a good time.” At other end of the spectrum, we have Lord Byron who, in Don Juan, wrote, “Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication.”
Whether you are stone cold sober or roaring drunk, you need to eat. Beer Mac & Cheese is a good place to start. All you need is pasta, butter, a combination of milk, cream and beer, some cheese, spices and you are set. A healthy dose of exercise after consuming this is also probably in your best interest.
In this recipe, I used New Belgium Fat Tire – my go to when I cook with an amber beer. (It is great in Belgian beef stew as well.) If you do not like beer, simply replace the one cup of liquid with milk, cream or a combination of both.
The same goes for the cheese. I used cheddar and an Italian blend that included a healthy dose of fontina. The original recipe called for Parmesan, but in such a scant quantity that I did not mess with it. I did add some cayenne pepper for heat and threw in plenty of chives since I had those too. I kept this dish meatless, but the original recipe called for crumbling cooked bacon over the top once baked (refer to above note on exercise).
As for my personal stance on the beer + mac and cheese combo, I’ll borrow a quote from Mae West. “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” Cheers!
Oktoberfest! Beer Mac & Cheese
- 1, 16 ounce package elbow macaroni
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup amber beer
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 cups shredded fontina cheese
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- Cook the macaroni according to the package directions, drain, and set aside.
- While the macaroni boils, melt the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute or two.
- Stir in the flour, ground mustard, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (if using).
- Whisk in the milk, beer and cream and bring to a boil.
- Stirring frequently, cook until thickened, about two minutes past the boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in 2 cups of the cheddar and the fontina.
- Stir in the chives and pour over the cooked macaroni (alternatively, depending on the pan you are using, stir the macaroni into the sauce).
- Transfer to a lightly greased, three-quart baking dish.
- Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. or until the cheese is lightly golden brown.
If desired, garnish with additional chives or cooked and crumbled bacon.