Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup from The Old Fashioned in Madison, Wisconsin

Happy National Bratwurst Day!  I don’t think there could be a better day to release my last post on our visit to Madison, Wisconsin.  After all, Wisconsin is the home of brats, beer and cheese, so I am sure there has been much merriment taking place in the great state of Wisconsin today.

We have been On the Road quite a bit for the last few weeks and this travel will continue for a few more months.  I know you will enjoy some of the people, places, food and stories that are coming, so I look forward to sharing everything with you.  In the meantime, I have an awesome giveaway later this week.  In addition, next week I will have a few guest posts from some of my favorite bloggers and friends, so I hope you will enjoy learning a little more about them.

Now, here is a recap of our trip to Madison, Wisconsin and a recipe for a traditional Wisconsin favorite!

Tha campus at The University of Wisconsin is very attractive and quite large

Our first stop when we arrived in Madison was to grab lunch at the food carts by the University of Wisconsin.  Madison has many International restaurants and some of these restaurants have food carts that represent those restaurants.  We enjoyed specialties from East Africa, Indonesia and China and they were all very good.  Street food is not a new concept in Madison.  Apparently, these carts have been around for many years.

We took our lunch to Memorial Union Terrace.  When you visit Madison, this is THE place to go to drink local beer, eat ice cream and watch the boats on Lake Mendota.  We decided to sit by the water, have our lunch at The Terrace and take in the gorgeous weather.  With such a short season for days like these, you need to go and enjoy The Terrace as much as you can.

You have to drink a pitcher of beer at The Terrace

We ordered a pitcher of Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewery.  That was my favorite beer during our trip and trust me, I tried a few beers while we were there, so I should have a strong opinion about that.  :)

The ice cream matches her outfit!

We had a great view of Lake Mendota on The Terrace

The next day we visited the Dane County Farmers’ Market which was truly incredible.  That was followed by a visit to Eagle Heights Community Garden to gather some more homegrown veggies and herbs for dinner.  I have never seen so much local food in one day!

Mushrooms at the Dane County Farmer's Market


Eagle Heights Community Garden

Our  last day in Madison would not have been complete without lunch at The Old Fashioned, which is known for serving traditional Wisconsin fare.  In fact, it was just voted one of the Top Ten Places to Eat Like a Local by USA Today.  We sure thought so…lots of Wisconsin brews, brats and rich and creamy mac and cheese (made with Wisconsin cheese, of course) is on the menu here!  I bet they are celebrating National Bratwurst Day today!

The Old Fashioned is located on the Capitol Square

We had the No. 8 Wurst Platter to start

I was all about those Dilly Beans!

We ordered several different traditional Wisconsin dishes, including the caloric laden very cheesy macaroni and cheese.

Their mac and cheese is made with Wisconsin sharp Cheddar & Sarvecchio

After lunch, we really needed a major nap and a diet a nice stroll through downtown, so we wandered down State Street to see the sights.

There's a lot of walking in this town and now I know why! Beer, Brats and cheese!


The State Street Brats is a well-known bar in Madison

No visit to Madison would be complete without a visit to The Chocolate Shoppe, which is actually an ice cream parlor.  Talk about rich ice cream…their sign says it all.

LOL! You've gotta love their honesty!

Yes, this was one of the creamiest and most fattening decadent ice creams I have ever put in my mouth and after you read thier disclaimer, you know why.

We had a great trip to Madison and I can highly recommend a visit to this city.  It’s a great way to experience a little slice of the Midwest.

The folks at The Old Fashioned have been kind enough to share their recipe for traditional Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup with me.  Needless to say, after all of our recent travel, I have not had a chance to make this, so there is no photo to share with you.  Picture luscious cheesy beer soup topped with popcorn and chives!  I know you can do it. 😉

This recipe makes 10 to 12 good sized bowls, so be sure to whip up a batch when you have a house full of hungry folks that will appreciate a delightful and cheesy Wisconsin favorite!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup

Yield: 10-12 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


2 quarts House Brew beer ( Bock beer)
1 1/2 quarts Water
1 Yellow Onion, julienned
1 Bay Leaf
2 quarts Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Cornstarch
2 1/2 pounds Aged Wisconsin cheddar
1/2 tsp Celery Salt
1/2 tsp White Pepper


1. Simmer first four ingredients in a large stockpot for 30 minutes.

2. Strain, return beer mixture to pot, add cream, and bring to a simmer.

3. Dissolve cornstarch in a small amount of water and whisk into pot. Soup will thicken a bit.

4. While warm, whisk in cheese, one handful at a time, bringing soup back up to temperature between bags.

* IMPORTANT: Do not bring soup up beyond a simmer or it will break!!

5. Season to taste with celery salt and white pepper.

* NOTE: Soup is garnished with popped popcorn and chives.

Recipe courtesy of The Old Fashioned
Madison, Wisconsin

20 Responses to “Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup from The Old Fashioned in Madison, Wisconsin”

  1. 1

    Taylor — August 16, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

    Love this Post! The Old Fashioned is one of my favorite restaurants in Madison. Their cheese curds are to die for! So glad you got to enjoy the terrace!

    • Gwen replied: — August 19th, 2011 @ 9:58 am

      Hi Taylor,

      Yes, it was a great trip and we thoroughly enjoyed the beer at The Terrace! I can see why it’s such a popular spot to visit, especially on a beautiful day.


  2. 2

    Christine — August 16, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

    Very nice reading your post. Made me travel for a while! Never been there, yet!

    • Gwen replied: — August 19th, 2011 @ 9:58 am

      You should definitely go sometime! It’s a lovely part of the country.

  3. 3

    redkathy — August 16, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

    Beer and Cheese Soup, my son would think he died and went to heaven! Have never been to Wisconsin Gwen, thanks for giving me a real feel for this beautiful place. Have fun, be safe :)

    • Gwen replied: — August 19th, 2011 @ 9:59 am

      Thanks Kathy! Yes, that combination is pretty awesome. I need to make this soup and then run a marathon, but will definitely have to whip up a batch soon.

  4. 4

    Denise@There's a Newf in My Soup! — August 16, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

    I think there may be a Friday night on the patio with bowls of beer cheese soup – looks like you ate and drank your way through another weekend ;=)

    • Gwen replied: — August 19th, 2011 @ 10:01 am

      Hi Denise,

      LOL! Yes, more beer than wine in Wisconsin. Not nearly as crazy as New Orleans…that’s for sure! I do think that would make a great Friday night patio supper. A Wisconsin theme night! :)


  5. 5

    Nelly Rodriguez — August 16, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

    What a great time and I am just LOVING that ice cream sign!

  6. 6

    Pete — August 16, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

    I love the Old Fashioned, in Madison and since my brother lives in Madison and we are only 1 1/2 hours away we often eat there…well more often drink there and nosh on their killer pickled eggs!!!

    • Gwen replied: — August 19th, 2011 @ 10:02 am

      Hi Pete,

      Yes, it would be a fun place to have a few beers. I really enjoyed their Dilly Beans. They were pretty awesome too.


  7. 7

    Susan in the Boonies — August 17, 2011 @ 12:14 am

    Two quarts of cream, and two and a half pounds of cheddar.

    Oh, my.

    • Gwen replied: — August 19th, 2011 @ 9:56 am

      Yes…that says it all! :)

  8. 8

    Drick — August 17, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

    I just don’t think I could keep up with you guys, good thing you had surgery, and your sense of humor is indeed one of the many reasons I come back, one I said, don’t take that too seriously – as always, love this travel-journey-diary-post, and much appreciation for bringing us along

    • Gwen replied: — August 19th, 2011 @ 9:55 am

      Hi Drick,

      I am glad you are enjoying our adventures. Sometimes I make myself exhausted just thinking about all of the travel! It’s better to keep moving than sit around…that much I know!


  9. 9

    The Mom Chef — August 18, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    Ah, Wisconsin. No wonder you asked about tipping cows. Despite that fact that Chicago and Green Bay have a huge rivalry, I adore northern Wisconsin especially. With all that rich dairy food, beer and brats, you’d think that the people there would all be obese, but they’re really not. I guess it’s all the work they do keeping the cows producing milk. Loving your road trip.

    • Gwen replied: — August 19th, 2011 @ 9:54 am

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your comment Cristiane. Yes, we noticed that the people there were thinner than they are in Atlanta! They have all the bike lanes and do a good bit of walking. Just goes to show you that all that rich food doesn’t have to make you fat! :)


  10. 10

    Craig Le May — August 20, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

    Gwen, thanks for the Props for Madtown! I’ve lived here for 27 years and this place is addicting!

    New Glarus Spotted Cow is the most favored brew in Wisconsin and you can’t get it in any other state. Glad you all had a great time in our State, and our city of Madison!

    • Gwen replied: — August 20th, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

      Hi Craig,

      You are welcome! We had so much fun during our visit and look forward to returning…in warm weather!! I know what you folks do…you keep all the good beer to yourselves and I can’t say that I blame you! 😉 I guess we will just have to come back to Wisconsin to drink some more Spotted Cow!


  11. 11

    Ryan — October 4, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

    I had a delicious beer cheese soup at a restaurant/brewery in rapid city a few months ago and have been craving it ever since. The weather started turning cold and I decided out was time to make many own. This recipe far looked the best compared to others I found online.

    Tasted real good (used shiner bock and 2year agreed cheddar). Next time, I think I’m going to find a way to thicken it a little, maybe add potatoes, and some gorgonzola as added flavor.

    Thanks for sharing your find!

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