Beat the winter blues with a decadent, warming bowl of vegan IPA beer and cheese soup, just like my dad makes.
When it’s cold out, this beer and cheese soup recipe always comes to my mind. My pops used to make it for us when we were kids whenever there was a cold spell. It’s rich, comforting, and warms you up from belly to toes.
There’s this thing I do each winter around New Year’s, where I tell myself that winter is almost over. In my head, winter ends when January ends. This is not true, and even after 15 years living in a place that has actual winters, I do this every. single. year. I guess somewhere in my heart, I’m still a south Florida girl. In Fort Lauderdale, where I lived for 18 years, it was basically shorts weather all year long.
We would get the occasional “cold snap” there. We didn’t see temperatures in the teens, like we do here in Atlanta, though. For South Floridians, a cold snap is weather in the low 40s. I know. This is not cold, and maybe it explains why I have absolutely zero tolerance for chilly weather.
Right. So my idea of a cold snap was a little bit off, but whether it’s in the 40s, the teens, or below freezing, this vegan beer and cheese soup is a wintery must-have. It’s a veganized version of the one pops used to make, and I am using IPA instead of the more traditional lager. IPA gives this soup a hint of bitterness, right at the end, and I think it’s something you will either really like or really not like. I really liked it, and so did my son!
If IPA isn’t your thing, you can use any beer you like – different beers add different flavor profiles to this soup, so go with your fave! My pops says that he has experimented with dark beers, and they give the soup a little sweet edge that he liked a lot, for example. Lagers are a little bit more neutral, so if you want to keep the flavors simple, I’d suggest starting with that.
Choosing a Vegan IPA
If you’re new to the world of vegan beers, don’t worry! There are lots of them out there, but beer is one of those things that can contain hidden animal ingredients. Some brewers still use animal products, like isinglass and gelatin, to process their brews. Luckily, many don’t. Here are some easy-to-find vegan IPAs to help with your shopping!
- Sweetwater IPA
- Creature Comforts Tropicalia IPA
- Lagunitas IPA
- Wipeout IPA
- New Belgium Super IPA
- Stone IPA
- Mission St. IPA (from Trader Joe’s)
- Terrapin Hopsecutioner
- New Belgium Ranger
- Full Sail IPA
This list is far from exhaustive – there are SO many vegan IPA options out there! If the one you like best isn’t on the list, check Barnivore to see whether your favorite IPA is animal product free. They also have listings for other types of beer, if you want to experiment with other types in this recipe. If you do, drop a comment letting me know what you use and how you liked it!
A Note About Alcohol Content
This soup will have a small amount of alcohol per bowl. You’re only adding one beer to a whole pot of soup, so the alcohol content per bowl isn’t super high.
I simmer the beer in this recipe for at least 15-20 minutes, since I don’t want to dish up a big bowl of booze for Darrol to eat. If you want to cook out more, you can simmer for up to an hour. Check out this article on how long it takes to cook alcohol out of a dish, if that’s a concern for you. If alcohol in your food is not a concern, I encourage you to reduce the simmering time to as little as 5 minutes. Live a little!
You can also reduce the amount of beer, substituting more broth, if you like. 12 ounces is 1 1/2 cups. I’d say you could go down to 3/4 cup beer and 3/4 cup broth without sacrificing too much of the flavor. Your other option is non-alcoholic beer, if you want to really keep the alcohol content close to zero.
Got your beer ready? Pour yourself a glass, and save one can or bottle for the soup.
Vegan IPA Beer and Cheese Soup
Yield: 6 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegan margarine
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 12 ounce can or bottle of vegan IPA (I used Tropicalia IPA, much to my husband’s chagrin. It’s a rare beer that he was saving to sip over the weekend, and I didn’t know! I’m sorry, Dave!)
- 1 8 oz bag Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- salt and white pepper, to taste
- In the bottom of a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium high heat, and saute the onion, carrot, and celery until all of the veggies soften, about 8 minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth and beer, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low, and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 more minutes (up to 30, if you want to cook out more of the alcohol), uncovered.
- Add the Daiya, nutritional yeast, and worcestershire sauce to the pot. Bring everything to a simmer on high, then immediately reduce the heat to medium low, stirring constantly, until the cheese begins to melt, about 5 minutes. The cheese won’t be totally melted at this point. Don’t panic!
- Turn off the heat, then use your immersion blender to puree the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, just let it cool, then transfer to a regular blender to puree. DO NOT PUREE IN A REGULAR BLENDER WHILE THE SOUP IS STILL BOILING HOT. Your blender top will explode in a soup volcano.
- Taste, and season with the salt and pepper.
- Serve topped with croutons, cashews, or with crusty bread for dipping.