Updated July 2018.
Here’s what I said about this dish in 2012:
This dish was inspired from a recipe I concocted one day when I lived in Long Beach, Calif., and had no milk to make Kraft Mac and Cheese. It tasted so great I thought I’d try making beer mac and cheese on purpose – but the homemade variety.
I am NOT a beer connoisseur. OK. I don’t even really drink beer. Unless it’s the only alcoholic beverage available or I want something in front of me that I have no desire to drink. Perhaps when grocery shopping this afternoon I should have asked a beer connoisseur’s opinion of the type of beer to buy for this recipe. Instead of buying Pilsner Urquell because it was on sale. (I don’t even like Pilsner Urquell! It’s so bitter!) So perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised when the dish turned out a bit bitter. Much like the taste of the beer. I would love to try this recipe again with better insight into the type of beer to use. I think even Miller Lite would have been a better choice.
The first time I made this recipe it was a major fail because I chose a beer I didn’t even like to drink to cook with.
This time around I used PBR which is a throwback to a time when I lived in Milwaukee and knew a guy named Chad. PBR was his beer. In fact, PBR is what brought us together. The night I spied him at a bar on Brady Street I walked up to him at the bar, sat next to him and took a big swig of his can of PBR. Ten years later whenever I see a can of PBR I think of Chad and the profound impact he had on my life for the short time I knew him.
In this recipe, the beer really makes all the difference. In 2012 I rated this recipe as three apples. After making it the second time around I bumped it up to five.
Be careful when boiling the beer as it will boil over in a flash if you aren’t watching it carefully. Other than that, the recipe should come off without hitch.
- 6 c. beer (reserve 1/2 c.)
- 16 oz package of your favorite noodle
- 2 c. heavy cream or half and half
- 1 lb plus 1/4 lb finely shredded cheese (such as cheddar, mozzarella and fontina)
- 1/2 c. bacon grease (or a mixture of butter and bacon grease if you don’t have enough bacon grease)
- 1/2 lb cooked bacon crumbles
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Boil noodles according to package directions in 5 1/2 c. beer, but cook two minutes less. Drain.
- Mix noodles in a bowl with bacon grease (and butter until butter is melted). Add cheeses and mix until they begin to melt. Stir in cream and half cup of beer.
- Pour into a 9×13-inch baking dish (I used glass), and top with generous amounts of salt and pepper, additional 1/4 lb. shredded cheese and bacon crumbles. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.