Melted cheese and beer. It just makes sense.
Fondue is one of those dishes that gets put into the “potluck” category but really, it can make a great snack or meal at home, anytime. The process of making it is easy and the ingredients are simple. Dipping a crusty bread cube into melty smooth cheese and twirling up stringy curds is interactive, and quite satisfying.
While this particular recipe really highlights the beer flavors in the cheese, it is actually customizable. What I mean by that is, it is a recipe of proportions, and YOU can pick what kind of cheese, beer and herbs to use. This formula will create countless options for flavors of the end product. Want to use a Stout beer? Go for it? Don’t like gouda? Use Swiss! Not only can you make the fondue itself the flavors you prefer, but of course the “dippables” you choose can be almost anything!
I crafted this batch using a Dunkelweiss from Island Brewing, made about 20 miles north of my hometown. The dark wheat ale really balanced out the creaminess of the cheese and gave a flavorful and complex finish to each bite.
Choose fondue because it is not only a delicious dish, but becuase it is fun. Who couldn’t use a little fun right now? Embrace that old skool 1960’s vibe and eat your groovy dinner with long skinny forks. Oh, did I mention you get to have an open flame on the kitchen table? Cheers to that!
Prep time: 15 minutes
For the Fondue
1 ounces butter
1 large shallot, minced
6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
8 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed
8 ounces gouda cheese, cubed
16 ounces brown/dark beer
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp white pepper (or black if that is all you have)
Ideas For the Dippin’
Meatballs, cooked shrimp, sausage, salami, bacon or grilled chicken
Sliced baguette or french bread, soft pretzel, breadsticks or crackers
Apples, broccoli, grapes or heck… chunks of cheese (don’t judge me)
- Prepare your ingredients by cubing the cheese and mincing both the shallot and garlic
- Place the butter, shallot, garlic and fresh herbs into the base of a heavy pan. Cast iron helps distribute and maintain a nice thorough heat for the process. Cook together these ingredients until the shallot is sizzling and becoming translucent.
- Add the all purpose flour to the pan, stirring it into a light roux, cooking for about 3-4 minutes.
- Once the roux is formed and cooked, add the cheeses and beer. Using a metal whisk, gently stir all ingredients together until a smooth texture is formed.
- Allow mixture to cook at a low simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove the fresh herbs and add salt and pepper to taste. Optional would be a dash of cayenne pepper for a little spicy kick.
Place the ooey gooey goodness into a fondue pot with a small open & lit sterno or you can use the flame from a candle below the pot. Don’t have a pot? Make something up, or just plan to toss your pot back on the stove as it cools.
mommybeerest tip: Stir as you dip, to reduce the film that forms at the top of warm cheese.
Chef Julia San Bartolome has been a professional pastry chef for 20 years, and has a passion for cooking with beer. Owner and pastry chef of Sweet Arleen’s in Westlake Village (known for winning Cupcake Wars on Food Network 3 times) she spends her mornings baking fresh cakes and cupcakes, and her evenings sampling all the craft beer she can get her hands on.