It used to be notoriously difficult to cook with American IPA—it was bitter and challenging—but the continuing evolution of this growing family of styles has created new opportunities for compatibility in the kitchen. Meanwhile, the arrival of new, fruit-forward hop varieties—and brewing techniques that amplify their flavors in beer—have provided the equivalent of all-new ingredients for the beer-wielding home cook.
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- ¼ cup (59 ml) fresh jalapeño, seeded and diced small
- 1 cup (237 ml) white onion, small dice
- 1 Tbs garlic, minced
- 1 cup (237 ml) fresh tomato, seeded and diced small
- 2 fl oz (59 ml) American/West Coast–style IPA
- 2 Tbs cumin
- 2 cup (473 ml) milk
- 1 lb (454 g) cream cheese
- ½ lb (227 g) sharp cheddar, shredded
- ½ lb (227 g) Monterey Jack, shredded
- ½ lb (227 g) bulk chorizo sausage, cooked
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- Tortilla chips
Heat a sauté pan with the vegetable oil on medium low. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the jalapeños and onion. Cook slowly, stirring often until the onion becomes translucent; do not allow the onion to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato and cook for an additional minute. Deglaze the pan with the beer and cook until the liquid in the pan is reduced by half. Add the cumin, remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and cream cheese over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Whisk the mixture until the cream cheese melts and the mixture is smooth and thickened. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the cheddar and Monterey Jack. Continue whisking until the cheese is melted and smooth.
Add the tomato mixture, chorizo sausage, and salt to the queso and stir well. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
Beer Tasting Notes: Remember what we said about bitterness being a problem in many dishes? Here is a shining exception: cheese. From a great American or West Coast–style IPA, that crisp bitterness and those flavor notes that can be bright, rugged, and comforting all at once—grapefruit, pine, light caramel—add interest and an oddly addictive quality to sharp, creamy cheeses, especially in conjunction with savory-spicy chorizo and earthy cumin.
Beer Suggestions: Stone Delicious IPA (San Diego), Maine Beer Lunch (Freeport, Maine), 2nd Shift Art of Neurosis (St. Louis), Green Cheek It Just Works (Orange, California), or your favorite local mid-strength, bright-and-bitter IPA.