Cooking with Beer: Mac & Wayfinder Relapse IPA Cheese with Andouille Sausage

This comforting recipe features a Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® Beer of the Year (but you can sub in any bright, crisp, West Coast–style IPA or IPL).

Justin Kruger , Justin Wright Apr 11, 2021 - 4 min read

Cooking with Beer: Mac & Wayfinder Relapse IPA Cheese with Andouille Sausage Primary Image

Photo: Matt Graves/

For more about Wayfinder Relapse IPA, see our Best 20 Beers in 2020.

Feel free to sub in any bright, crisp IPA of choice—or take a stab at brewing this one yourself. For subscribers, we have a homebrew-scale recipe for Wayfinder’s “cold IPA” here.

Serves: 4

  • 1 box cavatappi pasta
  • 1 lb (454 g) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz (227 g) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • 12 oz (355 ml) Wayfinder Relapse IPA (or similar)
  • 1 Tbs granulated garlic
  • 1 lb (454 g) andouille sausage links
  • Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Prepare the pasta according to package instructions and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). In a large bowl, mix the cheeses and flour together then add the mustard, beer, and garlic. Mix thoroughly until everything is fully incorporated.

In a medium skillet or on your grill, cook the sausages until fully cooked. While the sausages are cooling, place the cheese mixture into a large pot and bring it to medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat when the mixture is fully melted.

Cut the sausages into ½" (13 mm) rounds and add to the sauce. Mix the pasta with the sauce, season with salt and pepper, then pour the mixture into an 8" × 11" (20 × 28 cm) baking dish and cover with panko breadcrumbs. Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly along the edges, then serve warm.

Beer Tasting Notes: Candy orange slices and catty dankness intertwine in the aroma of this “Cold IPA”—a bright, crisp hybrid of lager and Northwestern IPA. It pours a beautiful golden-straw with ample white foam. Moderately sweet but firmly bitter on the sip, with deep-woods pine and grapefruit-peel notes. Easy to drink for its strength, without any rough-resin astringency lingering afterward. Takes the best of the lean West Coast style and makes it leaner, without leaving out the classic PNW hop aroma and flavor.

What the Beer Does for the Dish: Cooking with bitter-tasting beers is generally difficult, because the bitterness concentrates when you cook down the liquid. In this case, the cheese’s fat helps to soften the bitterness, while the spicy element of the sausage helps to restore a bit of definition to that bitterness without becoming unpleasant. Since the andouille and cheese are such big components, expect a more subtle expression of fruit and pine. Try taking a bite of andouille alone while drinking a sip of beer, then mac and cheese alone while sipping, and then mac and cheese with the andouille with another sip—the flavor profile should change with each different bite.