Garlic, Bacon, and Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Garlic, Bacon, and Beer Macaroni and Cheese


  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
  • 4 T unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 t fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 2 c milk
  • 3/4 c stout beer (such as Guinness)
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • pinch fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c Wispride- or Kaukauna-brand sharp cheddar cheese spread (available in the dairy aisle)
  • 8 oz elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 c panko breadcrumbs

garnish: fresh thyme leaves and couple pinches barbecue seasoning, such as Chef Prudhomme's or my Grilling Rub for Chicken


  1. Heat oven to 350F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat 3 T butter with the flour over medium heat, whisking until bubbly. Cook 2 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 t thyme, and cook an additional minute. Slowly whisk in the the milk and beer. Heat, stirring constantly, a couple minutes until quite warm but not boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low, add both cheeses, salt, and pepper, and cook, whisking, until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in half the bacon.
  3. Cook the macaroni to al dente according to package directions in salted water. Drain and add to the cheese sauce. Transfer to a 2-qt baking dish.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add the panko, remaining 1/2 t thyme, and remaining bacon. sprinkle over the macaroni. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until bubbly. Serve garnished with fresh thyme leaves and a pinch of barbecue seasoning. Yield: 6-8 servings.