IPA Mac & Cheese: the ultimate comfort food

Mac and cheese made with beer Liam Mogan


IPA Mac & Cheese

Christine Sismondo
It’s hard to improve on a classic mac and cheese recipe, but the addition of an aromatic double dry-hopped (DDH) IPA adds a delicious new flavour dimension to this comfort food staple.  Make two while you’re at it so you can pop one in the freezer for an emergency instant meal. Serves 5-6.
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  • 600 grams Scoobi Doo pasta (corkscrew macaroni, which holds the cheese better)
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • cup butter
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 6 ½ cups aged cheddar, grated (or other sharp, dry cheese), divided (about 500 g)
  • 1 cup double dry-hopped IPA (I recommend Collective Arts Life in the Clouds; see tip below)
  • 1 tbsp butter for frying and greasing pan
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Boil the pasta in well-salted water until tender. 
  • While that cooks, in a double boiler over medium-high heat, heat shallots and ⅓ cup butter until the butter melts and the shallots start to soften. 
  • Stir in mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle in the flour, and stir. Gradually add milk, and stir to make a roux with a medium body (the consistency of a clam chowder).
  • Slowly build the sauce from there by mixing in small quantities of the grated cheese and the IPA, alternately. Reserve 4 oz of cheese for topping.  
  • Brown panko over medium heat in a teaspoon of butter, about 3 minutes.
  • Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with butter. Strain cooked pasta and spread out over the buttery dish. Pour the sauce over the noodles, and mix until all the noodles are a little saucy. Sprinkle cheese overtop and panko on top of the cheese. 
  • Bake for 20–30 minutes in oven, until cheese is melted and there’s a bit of brown crispiness around the edges and on top. 


Tip: Wondering if you can use any IPA? The DDH really makes the taste sophisticated and cuts some of the dish’s richness. That said, who’s going to complain about homemade mac and cheese?
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