Alaska, the nation's largest state by far, doesn't have very many people. However, we do have a lot of microbreweries--22 of them, in fact. Our favorite is Midnight Sun Brewing Company. With a regular rotation of unique and flavorful beers, this wine lover actually gets excited for barley and hops! Great beer, exceptional service, and great food! Every single thing on the menu is delicious--trust me, we've tried every item. A favorite among locals, visitors, and pretty much anyone that visits the establishment is the beer cheese sauce that accompanies their soft pretzels. The pretzels are great, don't get me wrong, but I am obsessed with the cheese sauce. While dining with friends (or even with strangers!), it is not uncommon and certainly not frowned upon to lick all of the remaining remnants of the sauce from the dipping cup. I imagine that some people have even drank it like beer before. It's that good.
I am not sure why I haven't attempted to try my hand at beer cheese sauce before. Maybe because the stuff at Midnight Sun is so good that I figured I could never even come close? I don't know. Well, I gave it a shot last night to go with chili and my perfectly soft pretzel sticks. SUCCESS!!!! The beer cheese sauce was everything I wanted it to be--creamy, cheesy, tangy, bold, and packed with flavor. Better yet, it took approximately five minutes to make. By the end of the night, we were all lying on floor or dog bed making exclamations regarding belly explosions, too full to walk, bellies and mouths disagreeing, and more. Although clearly a diet killer, it was worth it.
I will always love Midnight Sun's beer cheese sauce best, but only for nostalgic reasons. As for taste, my beer cheese sauce is equally as good as theirs.
Beer Cheese Sauce:
(This made a lot. You could easily cut the recipe in half if you want.)
- 24 ounces of amber beer (I used Fat Tire)
- 4 cups of good quality grated sharp cheddar cheese (if you want a milder flavor, you can use a milder cheese)
- 4ish tablespoons of flour (I am not really sure how much--I just stuck my hand in and grabbed)
- 1ish tablespoons of dry ground mustard (you could leave this out....but it wouldn't be as good)
- pinch of salt
- a number of turns of fresh cracked pepper
- Pour the beer into a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. You'll need to watch carefully or it will grow into a frothy dome and overflow.
- In the meantime, mix the flour with the cheese.
- Once the beer is boiling, add the cheese/flour mixture. Reduce the heat and stir constantly.
- Once it reaches the perfect consistency (you will know when that is), add the mustard, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust if needed.
- Serve with chips, pretzels (hard or soft), veggies, or even mix it into your chili like we did.