From sweet and savory with fruit or classic with bread, the fondue (dipping) possibilities are endless. —INGRAIN, Winter 2018

Traditional fondue recipes call for wine, but don’t overlook beer. A complex Belgian-style ale and a citrusy Witbier or Saison make great partners with the earthy cheeses, though you can stick to one beer style. This recipe uses more readily available Emmentaler and Gruyère (1655 is one of our favorite picks), but if you can find Challerhocker, it makes an incredible substitute for the Emmentaler. The cornstarch acts as a thickener; the baking soda is a chef’s trick to help keep the melted cheese from separating. Remember, it’s supposed to be very thick.

TIP When selecting your cheeses, keep in mind that younger cheeses are better for melting. Save extra-aged gruyère for a cheese plate and opt for a six-month gruyère instead.

Pairing Sofie and Matilda (Goose Island) pair nicely with the earthiness of the cheese, but balanced IPAs and pale ales are also great.

3 garlic cloves, divided

1 shallot

1½ cups witbier or saison (Sofie, Hoegaarden, or Allagash), more if needed

½ cup Belgian or Belgian-Style Ale (Duvel Golden Ale or Matilda), divided

2 tablespoons cornstarch

16 ounces Emmentaler, grated

16 ounces Gruyère, grated

¼ tablespoon baking soda

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Kosher salt

Cracked pepper

Lemon juice, to taste (optional)

To serve: country-style bread (cut into cubes; plain or toasted) and apples, plus pickles, roasted veggies (broccoli is great), prosciutto, Tater Tots, and Funyuns, if you’d like (say yes).


1 garlic clove in half lengthwise and rub the inside of a large saucepan with the cut sides. Finely chop remaining garlic cloves and shallot and add to the saucepan with the Witbier or Saison. In a small bowl, whisk together a few tablespoons of the Belgian-style ale with the cornstarch to make a smooth liquid.


Beer-garlic mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Simmer for several minutes, whisking every so often, until the liquid thickens and reduces by about half.


Cheese into the beer mixture very slowly, a small handful of cheese at a time. Allow the cheese to melt before adding more; stir constantly to avoid burning the cheese at the bottom of the pan. Continue until all of the cheese is incorporated. If the fondue is too thick, stir in a little more beer. (You are tasting this as you make it, right? That’s the best part of making fondue.)


Baking soda and a teaspoon or two of water in a small bowl and stir into the melted cheese along with the mustard. Season fondue with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice, if needed. If the fondue is thicker than you’d like, stir in a little more beer. Transfer the fondue to a heated fondue pot (the cheese will clump quickly at room temperature or burn if left over a heat source that is too high). Serve the fondue right away with the bread, apples, and optional dipping vessels (seriously, try those Tater Tots and Funyuns).

For the full fondue story, check out Melt Down.

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