You have a wide circle of friends and you all enjoy getting together regularly at your place and tipping a few brews. How thankful you are for such good buddies, and you treasure the memories. Not all of them, unfortunately, have been introduced to The Great American Beer Club®. I see your problem. They bring along 12-packs of beer and leave the unopened cans or bottles in your refrigerator. There’s no room left for your next shipment from your favorite Beer of the Month Club! Use their beer and provide eats for next time:

— GOOD BUDDY/BAD BEER CHEESE SOUP — 1/4 C. butter, 1-1/2 C. each diced celery, carrots and leeks, 1 t. minced garlic, 1/3 C. flour, 2 C. whole milk, 1-3/4 C. chicken broth, 1 C. left-behind lager beer, at room temperature, 1 T. Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 t. hot pepper sauce, 1 t. each dry mustard and salt, *1/4 t. cracked pepper, additional for garnish, *4-1/2 C. extra sharp Cheddar cheese, divided, *5 slices thick-cut cooked bacon, chopped, divided. (*Reserve some to use as garnish before serving)

In a big saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter; add diced veggies and cook 5 to 10 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, cook 1 more minute. Sprinkle on flour and cook 5 more minutes or until flour is golden, stirring constantly. Slowly add milk, broth and beer, whisking constantly. Add remaining ingredients except bacon, reserving some pepper and 1/2 cup cheese. Heat, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted. Do not boil. Stir in most of the bacon. Garnish with rest of pepper, cheese and bacon. Serve it up with crackers and your good beer from Clubs of America!

To alleviate future issues, why not educate and surprise your best friends with a gift certificate from your favorite beer of the month club, The Great American Beer Club®? Come on. Be a buddy! 

ASK MR. BEERHEAD: ISHRAM SHRAWN OF CHILTON, WISCONSIN, ASKS:”Mr. Beerhead, what exactly is a ‘cooper’?”

Before the advent of steel barrels, all beer was stored in wooden casks. The barrels have to withstand more than 40 pounds of pressure per square inch. Empty, each 36-gallon barrel weighs between 140 and 160 pounds. These casks absorb flavors, yeast and bacteria that add to the character of the beer. The watertight barrels last for as long as 60 years! Somewhat of a lost art, today only a handful of coopers, the highly skilled craftsmen who build these beer barrels, still work making them.


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Tracie Burket
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