Tag Archives: hamiltons tavern

Beer Cheese Soup

Being vegan for about 5 years, its only been recently that I’ve come to experience the awesomeness of beer cheese soup.

The first time I had some was at Hamilton’s Tavern a few months ago, my friends were raving about it, but I was still a little skittish about my lack of cheese for so long I didn’t appreciate it for what it was. I tried it again later and enjoyed it. Then we went to Stone World Bistro and Gardens one night and I had their Garlic Cheddar & Stone Ruination IPA Soup. Garlic and good beer are two of my favorite foods, and the Stone Ruination IPA is a good beer, so this soup was perfect. With extra sharp white cheddar it was good and flavorful and bitter and tasty.

Last night I set out to make my own Beer Cheese Soup with some lackluster results. So I’m turning to you dear readers to leave a comment below telling me how to spice up this soup and make it something to be proud of.

I started by sauteing half a white onion and about five cloves of garlic in butter, then adding two diced jalapenos. After they were cooked a bit I added about a pint of Stone IPA and about the same amount of vegetable broth. I let this cook for about 20 minutes and then threw it in the food processor to make it smooth.

Back on the stove I added about a cup of low-fat milk and 8oz of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese. To thicken it up a bit I slowly added some flour while stirring. Then some salt and pepper.

I think I served it too hot and as it cooled down it just didn’t have the right taste to it, but I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. It had plenty of cheese and beer in it, but just lacked that delcious flavor of the soups I’ve had a restaurants.

Some things I’m thinking of trying next time:

  • No jalapenos, they made it spicy but overpowered it I think
  • Roasted garlic and more garlic
  • Some spices, maybe paprika
  • Less vegetable broth
  • Half and half or cream instead of milk
  • Less flour
  • A higher quality cheese, maybe more cheese

If anyone out there has any experience with homemade Beer Cheese Soup or any ideas on how to make it let me know.

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The Way I Measure a Bar

There are two types of bars I care to frequent. Both need to have friendly bartenders and a good vibe.

The first type is the beer bar, it should have good draft beer and at least a decent selection of bottles. A good example of this type of bar in San Diego is Hamilton’s Tavern.

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If a bar isn’t a beer bar, with an excellent selection, then I don’t really care about the beer at all, but they better have some decent whiskey. Most bars will have at least one or two good bourbons, so the way I measure these bars is very simple. Do they have ginger ale? I don’t always like to drink whiskey on the rocks, and no other mixer compares to real ginger ale (don’t try to give me seven-up and coke please).

Last night I finally made it to Starlite. I’d been wanting to check it out since they opened last year and I saw this picture on the cover of the Citybeat. (In fact, it was this fella that inspired me to start growing a moustache last year, which made it all the more funny when someone jokingly asked me last night if that was me in that picture).

So I knew Starlite was a good bar when I saw they had ginger beer (I’m really not sure what the difference is between ginger beer and ginger ale). They had a specialty drink, the Kentucky Colonel, which was bourbon, ginger beer, lemon and bitters. It was good, but the bourbon and ginger beer alone was good enough.

If I’m not drinking whiskey on the rocks I prefer the Whiskey Pres (short for Presbyterian apparently…). Whiskey with half ginger ale half club soda. In Santa Cruz where I was first introduced to the Whiskey Pres ($3 at the Rush Inn) they made them with Seven-Up, I never realized how wrong this was until I had one properly made.

I really wish more bars would have ginger ale for mixing drinks.