IPA Cheddar Cheese Dip w/ Pretzels By: Nick Hack

What goes together better than beer and pretzels? Beer and pretzels combined with cheese. When the deep chill sets in and the heart of the football season is upon us I enjoy creating new munchies for football. This dip combines items that just make me happy. I live close to a pretzel store that makes fresh baked pretzels and in the New Jersey area there is nothing better than fresh baked pretzels. To create today’s recipe I decided to go with a nice IPA to help cut through the strong flavor of the cheese and help compliment at the same time. If you choose you can easily adapt the recipe by using your favorite brown ale or even lager. I chose to go IPA because the hop bitterness really shines through with the sharp cheddar I used. Again in the end this recipe can really be modified to anyone’s palate.

2Tbs. Butter

2Tbs. Flour

1Tbs. Shallot, minced

2/3 C. Beer

2 C. Cream

4oz. Cheddar, shredded

4oz. Monterey Jack, shredded

Pretzels, Tortilla Chips, Veggie Sticks

Start by melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced shallot and sauté for 3-5 min. until the shallots are translucent but not brown.

When the shallots are tender add the flour and stir ingredients for 1 minute to make a roux. Ingredients in pan will thicken, do not worry.

After roux has cooked for 1 minute add beer and whisk ingredients together to eliminate lumps. Let simmer over high heat until reduced by half 5-7 minutes. Add the Cream to the pan and whisk to incorporate.

After the cream has been added reduce flame to medium and whisk until sauce has thickened 4-5min. After the cream has thickened, thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, turn off heat and add cheese.

When the cheese is fully incorporated transfer to bowl and serve with your favorite dipping items.

As I said earlier this recipe can be made many different ways for many people to enjoy. I used a hoppy beer with 9 month aged cheddar which has a sharp a pungent flavor. The beer had to be strong to come forward with the cheese but still help balance flavor. The Jack cheese helps to add a nice creamy background texture but may be substituted with a Gouda or Edam which also have a great “melt factor” that help to add to the creaminess of the cheese dip. Please by all means play and try your favorite combinations to see what you truly like in the end. As always feel free to contact me at snpr13@optonline.net or at @snpr13 on twitter.