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Brown Ale French Onion Soup

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I’m pretty sure this brown ale french onion soup has been a long time a-coming. I’ve been wanting to post a french onion soup for a long time, and of course, I needed to put my own little spin on it. Adding a brown ale into the mix is the perfect ingredient to set it apart from the rest. French onion soup is normally made with some kind of alcohol: wine, cognac, brandy, etc…so why not beer? This french onion soup is everything you crave in an everyday comfort food. Caramelized onions in a beefy, sultry broth is topped with garlicky french bread croutons and a melty mixture of gruyere and fontina cheeses.

Brown Ale French Onion Soup | | #soup #cookingwithbeer

Is everyone getting prepared for the big day?! … and by big day … I mean ATTEMPTING to relax and wind down! I can’t wait to take these next couple of days to just … be. It’s so hard to not get caught up in the hustle bustle. We wear ourselves out so quickly, that it gets hard to actually … do nothing.

I have to be honest. I’m pretty excited to do absolutely nothing. I hope you guys have some pretty exciting plans, and some fabulous menus prepared! My sister and mom are here through Christmas and then my dad gets here right before New Year’s Eve. We have our feast of the seven fishes planned out for Christmas Eve (and by seven I mean four, because who can really eat seven different kinds of fish? … especially here in Colorado). Christmas Day we will be making a roast duck with all kinds of delicious extras: twice baked potatoes, brussels sprouts and a yumtastic zucchini pie. I can’t wait for all of the food!

I’m going to keep things short and sweet today but I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays! There will be no new posts tomorrow or Thursday, but I will have a really yummy recipe for a cranberry spritzer on the blog on Friday!

Recipe for this addicting brown ale french onion soup and beer pairings are below! Have a great day everyone! xoxo

Brown Ale French Onion Soup | | #soup #cookingwithbeer

Beer Love

I love a brown ale for this soup. It adds a certain nuttiness when cooking with it, and it’s a brown ale’s light malty factor that pairs so nicely. It’s important to find a brown ale that is less hoppy, and instead, more malty when you are looking for a brown ale to cook with. Remember, it’s important to cook with a beer that you would actually drink on a normal basis! Here are some brown ales that I love for this soup!

Telluride Brewing Company’s Face Down Brown

Upslope Brewing’s Brown Ale

Bru Handbuilt Ales’ Obitus American Brown Ale

Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown Ale

Brown Ale French Onion Soup | | #soup #cookingwithbeer

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Brown Ale French Onion Soup


6 large bowls of soup

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes


  • 4 cups cubed french bread
  • non-stick canola oil spray
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3-4 large onions sliced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup brown ale beer
  • 3 cups beef stock or broth
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • black pepper
  • 6 slices gruyere cheese
  • 6 slices fontina cheese


  • Place the cubed french bread on a large baking sheet that has been lined with foil. Spray with a canola oil spray and season with garlic powder. Place under the broiler and toast the cubes, stirring after a minute or so. Keep a close eye, as the bread is subject to burn quickly. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a large dutch oven or soup pot, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the onions and sprinkle with brown sugar and salt. Cook over medium-low heat for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and caramelized
  • Add the garlic and fresh thyme and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until golden.
  • Stir in the brown ale, and scrape any brown bits that have gathered on the bottom of the pot. Cook until reduced to almost no liquid. Stir in the beef stock, vegetable stock and balsamic vinegar. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes until thickened. Season with black pepper to taste.
  • Divide the soup among oven-safe single serving crocks or baking dishes. Top with toasts and layer on one slice of gruyere and one slice of fontina on each dish, making sure to completely cover the toasts.
  • Place the crocks under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melty and bubbly. Keep a close eye that the toasts don't burn.
  • Remove from heat and serve immediately.
  • Enjoy!



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I’m the voice, author, creator, and photographer behind Cooking and Beer. We started things about 10 years ago and Cooking and Beer has morphed and grown into what it is today: providing hundreds of recipes to thousands of people.

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Hello! I'm Justine.

I’m a blogger and web developer from the beautiful state of Oklahoma, where my loving husband, two adorable kids, and two mischievous dogs keep me on my toes 24/7. My idea of heaven includes endless summer days, getting lost in a good book, and whipping up some delicious homemade bread.


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