Congratulations Grand Rapids - Brew City USA 2013
a recipe by Chef Char Morse

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8 oz. bacon, cooked until crispy (*reserve some fat from bacon for cooking)
32 oz. (4 cups) chicken broth or chicken stock
5 cups redskin potatoes, diced small
2 cups carrots, peeled and diced small
1 medium onion, diced small
1 medium sweet red pepper, seeded and diced
16 oz. kielbasa sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup Founder's Dirty Bastard Beer
2 cups milk
1 pound fresh asparagus or broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
16 oz. American cheese, cubed
½ oz. fresh chives, minced
8 oz. colby-jack cheese, shredded

This recipe works best if using two pans at the same time, one pan to sauté and one to boil the soup ingredients. Start with cooking the bacon in the sauté pan until crispy. Allow the crispy bacon to cool and then cut into small crumbles and reserve for soup garnish. Reserving about a tablespoon of bacon fat in the sauté pan, add the onion, carrots and red pepper. Sauté the vegetables until onions are translucent and some brown coloring starts to appear on the carrots and peppers. In the soup pan, bring the diced redskin potatoes to a boil in the chicken stock. Add the cooked carrots, onions and peppers from the sauté into the soup pan with the potatoes and reduce the heat of the soup pan to a low heat. In the sauté pan, add a small amount of bacon grease if necessary and then add the kielbasa sausage. Cook the sausage until the cut up sections turn a light brown. Add cooked kielbasa to the simmering soup pan. Deglaze the sauté pan with 2/3 cup (about 6 ounces) of beer. Stir the beer in the pan, scraping the fond (fond is the flavorful brown stuff on the bottom of the pan from cooking the other ingredients) while stirring. Add the minced garlic to the beer in the sauté pan and cook over low heat until beer reduces by half its original volume. Add the reduced beer and garlic to the soup pan. Add the bite-sized broccoli or asparagus and cook until the vegetables turn a bright green. Last, add the milk and cheese to the soup pan and stir. Continue to cook the soup on low, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir until all cheese is melted and soup appears to thicken. Serve soup immediately, garnishing with shredded colby-jack cheese, minced chives, and crispy bits of bacon. Serve and enjoy with a sourdough pretzel.

Makes about 12 (1 cup) servings.