There are few things better than summer in Chicago. With Lake Michigan’s beaches, and endless festivals, patios, rooftops and backyard BBQ’s–what’s not to love? Inspired by sunny skies and hot nights, The Hop Review will be bringing you craft beer pairings and recommendations all summer long.

First up, we worked with our friends at Drizly and Lay’s® to develop a recipe perfect for lakeside picnics or backyard gatherings, using Lay’s® Classic Potato Chips. And because we don’t do anything–including cooking–without beer in mind, we made sure the recipe included some of our favorite beverage…

Mac & Cheese is one of those classic picnic sides that can be served hot or cold and plays well with everything from burgers to fried chicken. We added a savory, malty beer selection to elevate the cheese sauce. Then, we created a sizeable crust of Lay’s® Classic to give some crunch and texture without having to warm up the oven. To finish the dish, we sprinkled some fresh chives, for atouch of fresh summery bite.

Beer Mac & Cheese

  • 1 Box of elbow noodles
  • 3 tbsp butter (room temp)
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup amber ale (New Belgium Fat Tire)
  • 8 oz White cheddar
  • 8 oz Sharp cheddar
  • 1 bag of Lay’s Classic Potato Chips
  • Fresh chives
  1. Bring 4 qts of water and 1 tbsp of salt to a boil. Add elbow pasta, stirring occasionally. Pasta should be cooked al dente, if not slightly underdone, as it will finish in the oven. Drain pasta and set aside.
  2. Shred both cheeses with a box grader. Shredding block cheese will melt better than buying shredded due to additives in the shredded cheese.
  3. Melt butter in a medium/large pot on medium heat. Add the flour and incorporate with the butter to create a roux, cook at least 2 minutes to cook out the flower taste.
  4. Slowly add cream and beer, stirring constantly as you add. Bring liquid to a simmer, do not scald. One handful at a time, add your cheese. Do not add more cheese until the last handful has melted and been incorporated into sauce. Once all the cheese has been mixed in, add your pasta back to the pot and mix to coat.
  5. Pour mac & cheese into a standard casserole dish. If serving immediately shingle Lay’s across the entire surface, sprinkle fresh chives and enjoy! If saving for later (or serving cold), let mac & cheese completely cool before adding the potato chip crust.

Suggested Beer Pairing: New Belgium Brewing Fat Tire.

The malt sweetness of New Belgium’s Fat Tire compliments the creaminess of the cheddar cheese while the subtle hop bill contrasts the saltiness of the potato chip crust.


We’re teaming up with our friends at Drizly to bring you tasty snack and drink pairings, all summer long. So, stay tuned for more great pairings in the coming weeks.

Use the code LAYSSUMMER on your next Drizly order for $5 off!