Cooking with Beer: IPA Mac & Cheese

By: Craft Beer and Brewing

Aug 14, 2020 - 3 min read
Cooking with Beer: IPA Mac & Cheese Primary Image

Courtesy of Denver’s Hops & Pie pizzeria and taproom, you can enjoy this IPA-infused comfort dish any day of the year.

Last week, somebody told us that some or such date was “IPA Day.” And oh, how we laughed. We are not even going to look up what day it was supposed to be. Based on IPA’s enduring popularity and perpetual spot near the top of the sales charts, we already know the truth: Every day is IPA day.

With that in mind—and with thanks to the folks from the Hops & Pie pizzeria and beer bar in Denver, Colorado—we share this any-day-of-the-year dish featuring sharp cheddar, peppery spicing, and your favorite hop-forward ale.

Hops & Pie’s IPA Mac & Cheese

Serves: 6

3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorn
2 fresh bay leaves
1 cup sharp cheddar
Mexican hot sauce, such as Tapatío
Cracked black pepper
3 cup elbow macaroni (cooked)
1 cup English peas (cooked)
¼ cup braised/shredded ham hock
¼ cup West Coast–style IPA
Kosher salt
1 Tbs chopped bacon
¼ cup breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). In a saucepan, combine the cream, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once the boil is reached, reduce the heat to medium and stir regularly to prevent burning and a boilover.

Once the cream mixture is reduced by about 75 percent, strain through a fine mesh strainer into another saucepan. Return the pan with the strained cream to a medium flame and stir in the cheddar. Once the cheddar is fully incorporated, add the hot sauce and cracked black pepper to taste.

Add the macaroni, peas, and ham hock to the pan and stir well. Add the IPA (at Hops & Pie, they like Ska Brewing’s Modus Hoperandi) and continue stirring until hot. Add salt to taste, and place in large baking dish. Top with the chopped bacon and breadcrumbs. Bake until the breadcrumbs become golden brown and crispy.

Serve with more IPA.

Photo: Courtesy Hops & Pie