Surly and Virtuous

This week I crossed a few items off of my to-do list, which gave me that virtuous feeling that you get when you do those things you know you should do, but that you don't really want to do.  Namely, I voted and I had my teeth cleaned.  I will spare you any images from the dentist appointment, but these images from our local early voting station are kind of interesting.




Afterwards, when it came time for lunch, I realized that I didn't have anything obviously lunch-like at home.  I almost went out, but that didn't feel like the answer.  I reviewed the contents of the refrigerator again, and decided that I had the ingredients for beer-cheese soup.

I should say a few things about this.  First, if you are from Texas, you have no idea what I'm talking about.  Second, really if you're not from Minnesota or Wisconsin, you also might have no idea what I'm talking about.  Third, my favorite beer in Minnesota is a beer called Furious, made by a company called Surly.  I can't get Surly here in Texas, so the last time we drove from Minnesota to Texas, I brought a supply of Surly with us.  However, since I struggle with moderation, I didn't just buy and hand-carry a couple packs.  No, no.  I bought 6 4-packs, or something like that.  Unfortunately, the journey had some temperature changes throughout, and when we finally cracked one open in Texas some weeks later, we found some floating bits throughout that we don't normally see.  It tasted fine, in all honesty, but it was hard to get past the bits.

The obvious thing to do would have been to throw it away, but once you've hand-carried something a thousand miles, it becomes harder to convince yourself that it should be thrown away.  I'm not going to lie, the beer is now in its second Texas home, and is approaching it's first birthday.  Which I decided made it perfect for beer-cheese soup.  The cooking would deal with the bits, and I would still put my precious Surly to good use.

Something else of note is my considerable collection of cookbooks.  If you looked at my cookbook shelf, you may think that I am some kind of exceptional cook.  That is not the case.  I do cook, and I do enjoy cooking, but I am also an admitted cookbook over-consumer.  I have probably cooked at least two to four recipes from most of my cookbooks, which means that there remains many more recipes to try.  However, I do still cherish the cookbooks.  I look at them and through them with some regularity.  What I really love about cookbooks is that while they are obviously about food, they are also about place and culture...altogether, those are three of my favorite things.  Anyway, is why I assumed that somewhere, in one of them, would be a recipe for beer-cheese soup.  I'm still not sure that there isn't one there, somewhere.

You know what they say about assuming things, and this case was no different.  So, I instead, I used a recipe for a Wisconsin cheddar soup from a beloved cookbook, given to me as a birthday gift a few years back, and followed it approximately, substituting beer for milk.  Kind of.

The soup went fine, but if anyone out there has a really delicious beer-cheese soup recipe, I would love to hear about it.  My main problem was that the soup had a slightly bitter taste on top of the good flavors.  I realize that this taste was probably alcohol-related, but I don't understand if I cooked it too long, or not long enough.  Any tips regarding beer-cheese soup would be greatly appreciated, as six large cans of Surly remain in the fridge.