Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Beer Cheddar Fondue #BeerMonth

The only thing better than a slice or two of extra sharp cheddar to nibble while you sip a cold beer, is extra sharp cheddar melted with that beer (and another for sipping!) in a cheesy fondue. 

The brewing of beer is one of the oldest arts of civilization. In fact, according to archaeologist Brian Hayden at Simon Fraser University in Canada, beer might well have been the motivating factor behind the sowing of grain which was the beginning of the end of our largely nomadic hunter-gatherer societies. And not a few millennia later, beer was being used as partial payment for workers building the pyramids. And, yet, here I am, for the very first time, taking part in the celebration of Beer Month, organized by Sophia of NYFoodgasm. What took me so long? After all, I’ve been a fan since way back.

One of my earliest memories of beer is sipping the foam, just the foam, mind you, off the top of my father’s freshly poured lager. The bubbles tickled my nose and the slightly hoppy taste was endured for the tickle, and because it was a privilege to be allowed that tiny sip of foam in the first place. My mother says that when she first met my father, he did not drink, but by the time I came along, or became conscious of such things, I do remember him manning the grill or a fishing pole or a crab net, not always with a beer in hand, but often. Daddy taught me how to pour one properly, down the side of the glass, until almost the end of the bottle, to keep the foam from overflowing. No one wants a big head on his beer, says he. And he passed on his policy of drinking locally brewed beer, wherever he lives, a guideline that has proved valuable to me too. (Although I did draw the line at banana beer in Uganda. - It's a thing! - But the Bell Lager's not bad.) I take that a step farther and try to order what’s on tap when we are out as well. And I often incorporate beer into both sweet and savory recipes. With so many great beers out there, it seems a shame not to take advantage, doesn’t it?

Most popular beers of the world – I’ve supped 29 of these and many others not on the Most Popular list.
(Most popular doesn't always mean the best.) Source:

How are you celebrating Beer Month? Scroll down to the bottom of this post for some great recipes from my fellow bloggers and then some suggestions from my archives. But meanwhile, melt some cheese for fondue!

For the fondue:
8 3/4 oz or 250g extra sharp cheddar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup or ml beer, plus possibly more to get to dipping consistency
3 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (We like things spicy. Reduce, if you must.)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

For garnish:
2-3 teaspoons chopped green onions

To serve:
Mixture of fresh vegetables and/or loaf of crusty bread

Depending on your vegetable, steam according to this chart on the lower end of the scale. If the veggies are too soft, they’ll likely fall off the fondue fork and get lost in the cheese. I set my timer and put the trimmed Brussels sprouts in first and added the rest as needed until finally the snow peas went in for barely any time at all.

Remove the steamer and immediately plunge into cool water. Drain.

If you aren’t serving immediately, you can refrigerate the vegetables but take them out in time for them to get to room temperature before serving. Or take the chill off in the microwave but do not overcook!

Grate your cheese and then toss it with the flour in a bowl.

Put about two inches or five centimeters of water in the bottom of a double boiler or in a pot with a metal bowl set on top. Bring the water to a boil and then turn the fire down to medium. Add the beer to the top of the double boiler or the metal bowl, then whisk in the dry mustard, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for about one minute.

Add half the cheese to the beer mixture and cook until the cheese is melted, stirring constantly.

Add the remaining cheese a small amount at a time, stirring after each addition until the cheese is melted.

Add more beer, just a little at a time, if the mixture becomes too thick for dipping. If you finished off that first can thinking you wouldn't need the rest for the recipe, open another. It's Beer Month. Live large.

Pour into a warm fondue pot, garnish with chopped green onion tops, and keep warm over low heat.

Serve with your lightly steamed vegetables and/or cubes of crusty bread for dipping. And, of course, your favorite beer for drinking.


#BeerMonth participants and MORE beer recipes!! Sending out a huge thank you to Sophia, chief Beer Month cheerleader and organizer extraordinaire!

From my archives

My recipes with beer in them

Slow Cooker Beef and Guinness Pie

Tangzhong Rye Bread
Mocha Porter Quinoa Loaf

London Porter Cake with Lemon Glaze

The Post Bender (Hangover Cure)

Spicy Cashew and Feta Beer Muffins

Best recipes to eat while eat while drinking beer

Spicy Georgia Sugared Peanuts

Cheese Stuffed Soft Pretzels

Spicy Keema Naan

Bak Kwa or Grilled Chili Pork Jerky

Ploughman's Lunch Muffins

Spicy Roasted Corn Shrimp Dip
Snorker and Spicy Slaw Sandwiches

Spicy Sticky Wings

And if you've scrolled down this far, pull up a chair and let my father pour you a cold one. This one's Pilsener on the beach near Salinas, Ecuador, brewed in nearby Guayaquil. And it's delicious.

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