This recipe is part of my Old Yale Series, a collection of recipes that I’ve created featuring beer from Chilliwack’s award-winning Old Yale Brewery. Details of my partnership with them (disclaimer: this is a sponsored post, but the views expressed are my own), and info on where you can find their beer can be found in the introduction to the first recipe of this series, my Beer-Battered Shrimp Po’ Boys.
Well, the end is nigh. In less than a week, I’ll be boarding a plane to Ontario, embarking on a new journey with my wife by my side. With my days in B.C. numbered (for the foreseeable future, at least), I’ve been feeling extremely nostalgic. My wife and I have been visiting friends and family like crazy, trying to squeeze as many memories as possible into the small amount of time we have left. We’ve already said goodbye to many of our nearest and dearest, and I’m still not quite sure whether it’s getting easier or more difficult with each farewell.
It’s been a crazy busy time, but it’s been wonderful. Amidst the chaos, I found time to tie up a very important loose end. Last year my family and I attended a book signing at Abbotsford’s Mennonite Heritage Museum, where my mom purchased a copy of the book, titled “Refugee”. It tells the story of my great aunt Agnes Pauls, and the horrors of what she went through as the daughter of wealthy Mennonite land-owners in Russia during the reign of Stalin, and her eventual immigration to Canada. Not only is it an incredible story survival and faith, but eventually my own grandmother, sister-in-law to Agnes, makes her way into the book. Reading about a woman I never met, but who is absolutely integral to my family, was such a surreal experience.
I’d “borrowed” the book from my mom, and knew that I had to both read it and return it before I left. How glad I am that I finally picked it up and started reading. In addition to giving me, as the kids say, “all the feels”, I discovered something quite amazing: my grandmother used to work as a hop picker.
Finding out that piece of information was exciting. I’d heard that some Mennonites used to pick the old hop fields of the Fraser Valley (which disappeared when I was a kid and have only started to reappear in the last few years), but I had no idea my own grandmother had been counted among that group. My mom figures she didn’t do it for very long as her mother never talked to her about it, but that matters little to me. The fact that my grandma used to pick hops in the valley – even if only for a short period of time – and I’m now blogging for a local brewery…well…it feels like I’m connecting with her in some small way.
Now I’m guessing that she didn’t also make macaroni and cheese cooked in hoppy IPA goodness, but I’d like to think she would have gladly partaken of it after a long day in the fields.
IPA Mac and Cheese with Bratwursts
- 2 cups uncooked macaroni
- 1 can Old Yale Brewing West Coast IPA, or similar
- 2 cups milk, divided
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 150 g. grated cheddar cheese
- 100 g. grated mozzarella, divided
- 3 bratwurst sausages, cooked and sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium-sized pot, combine together the macaroni, 1 cup of milk, and the beer. Set the element to medium-high and cook the pasta, stirring often, until al dente. Set aside. At this time, set your oven to broil.
- In a skillet over medium heat, melt down the butter. Toss in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add your flour to the skillet and whisk for about 2 minutes. The mixture should start to bubble during this time.
- Whisking constantly, pour the other cup of milk into the skillet and cook for another 2 minutes. The sauce should start to thicken in this time.
- Toss the macaroni an any remaining liquid from the pot into the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Sprinkle in all of your cheddar and about half of your mozzarella. Stir in the cheeses, cooking until they’ve melted completely.
- Stir in your cooked bratwurst, then season to taste with salt and pepper (you may find additional seasoning unnecessary). Top your macaroni with the remaining mozzarella, then toss the skillet in the oven and bake until the top is browned and bubbly, about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and serve while piping hot.