A delicious beer and cheese soup inspired by the German medieval beer soup often served for breakfast. This is a perfect soup to enjoy in a bread bowl on those cold winter nights.
In a medium size Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy. Set aside on a paper towel to drain. Crumble the bacon and save as a garnish.
Add the celery, onion, carrots, garlic and thyme to the Dutch oven and cook until the onions are translucent and the carrots have softened, stirring often. Add half the beer and cook for 5-6 minutes until it has reduced by half and concentrated.
Add the chicken stock and using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables with the broth. Simmer for 5-8 minutes.
In a smaller skillet, make a roux by melting the butter and cooking it with the flour. Stirring constantly, cook for 2-3 minutes until the flour is light brown. Quickly whisk the roux into the soup and whisk until it's well incorporated without lumps. Cook for 8-10 minutes then add the cream and remaining beer. Combine and cook, stir occasionally until thickens.
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add the shredded cheeses and whisk until well blended. Season with salt and pepper, as needed. Keep warm until you serve it.
(Note: if you add the cheese to extremely hot liquid, it will not blend well and become grainy).
Ladle into individual bowls, sprinkle with crumbled bacon, chives, croutons or any other topping of your choice.
Make Ahead: this soup is great to make ahead and refrigerate overnight. Rewarm before serving and thin with a little additional broth.