Mac & Beer Cheese

Macaroni noodles in a cheddar-pepper jack beer cheese sauce with bacon garlic breadcrumbs.

The mixture of beer and cheese has been around for centuries but has been gaining popularity in recent years. Today, I am taking this delightful mixture and turning it into mac & cheese.

The beer cheese sauce is easy to make and can be adapted to suit your taste. I used cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, but any semi-hard melting cheese can be substituted.

For the beer, I used a lager. A brown ale, pilsner, or porter would also work. The cheese sauce has a punchy flavor. So, I do not suggest using an IPA. IPA’s usually have a strong hoppiness that may overwhelm the sauce.

The mustard powder in the sauce is used to accent the flavors of the cheese. Without it, the sauce will be bland. If you don’t keep mustard powder in you pantry, add brown mustard in its place.

I am not the biggest fan of breadcrumbs on pasta. I really debated whether or not to put them on this dish. After one taste, I was so happy that I did. The smoky bacon and garlic make this mac & cheese come together!

If you like this recipe, you may also want to try the beer cheese sauce as a warm dip for bread or pretzels.

Mac & Beer Cheese

Course Dinner, pasta, Side Dish
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8


Mac & Cheese

  • 1 pound macaroni noodles
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup beer lager or brown ale
  • 2 2/3 cup cheddar shredded
  • 2 2/3 cup pepper jack shredded
  • 2 tsp mustard powder

Bacon Breadcrumbs

  • 4 strips bacon chopped small 1 cup
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/16 tsp chili flake
  • 1 tsp garlic minced 2 cloves
  • 1/16 tsp pepper


Mac & Cheese

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the macaroni noodles, drain, and mix with butter. In a large pot over medium heat, mix the cream, cream cheese, mustard powder, and beer. When the mixture is smooth, whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack. The cheese mixture can come to a light simmer but should never boil. Add the pasta to the cheese. Warm through and place in a serving dish.

Bacon Breadcrumbs

  • Cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. In the same pan with all of the bacon grease, add the butter, and turn on medium heat. When the fat is hot add the garlic, panko, chili flake, pepper and thyme. Cook the mixture until the breadcrumbs have browned. Sprinkle the crumbs over the mac & cheese and serve.

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