Recipe: Beer and cheese pot

paired with Spinnakers Jolly Hopper Imperial IPA

Chef Nigel Taylor’s Beer and cheese pot. Photos courtesy of Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub Chef Nigel Taylor admits that while growing up on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, he took the bounty of fresh ingredients and seafood surrounding him for granted.

Taylor says while his grandmother grew raspberries, his grandfather was known locally for baking delicious wholewheat bread, his dad was a landscaper who planted a beautiful garden each year filled with fresh vegetables, and his mom was a wonderful cook.

“And, dad would take me fishing,” says Taylor, who’s worked at Spinnakers since 2005. “I didn’t have fast food until I was a teenager. But when I think about the way I grew up and food, first and foremost, it all begins with family.”

Today, Taylor very much appreciates all the West Coast has to offer, whether that’s fresh fruits, vegetables or seafood, and showcases these local ingredients in his menu choices at the brewpub, located within Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & Guest Houses, located in downtown Victoria.

“I didn’t think about it as a young man,” says Taylor. “But you know then you start to grow up and, that’s the excitement of working in a restaurant, [you come to appreciate] that these are world class items now.”

Taylor adds he’s also influenced and inspired by the beers and sodas produced in the craft brewery contained within Spinnakers, many of which contain ingredients sourced from around the province.

“Then there’s the vinegar,” says Taylor, referring to Spinnakers own line of house-made malt vinegars. “I didn’t really respect it before I came to Spinnakers, but then I came to understand it. So, we’ll take beer and ferment it into balsamic vinegar and then you start to play around with different flavors and see what it’s actually like to take an IPA and create vinegar or a cider vinegar, and their flavor profiles are insane.”

Taylor notes that while Spinnakers has been famous for its food for almost 40 years, he’s been able to invigorate the menu by changing some of the cooking methods, working closely with local farmers and producers, and taking advantage of the offerings pouring from the brewery.

The chef shared one of those beer-inspired recipes with The Growler. The Beer and Cheese Pot is made from Spinnakers beer, locally produced aged cheddar, onions, garlic, and Middle Eastern spices from Salt Spring Island, served fondue-style with a baguette from the Cowichan Valley.

—Sandra Thomas

A key ingredient in this recipe is Spinnakers’ flagship beer, Mitchell’s ESB. photo


• 7.5 oz. aged cheddar

• 4.5 oz. sour cream

• 4.5 oz. cream cheese

• 1 clove of garlic, sliced

• 1.5 oz. butter

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 1 tsp. garlic purée

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 16 oz. of Spinnakers Mitchell’s ESB

• 1 tsp. Monsoon Coast Arabian Baharat spice from Salt Spring Island (chili powder and garam masala can be used as a substitute.)

• 1/4 tsp. Durban curry

Many of the ingredients in this beer and cheese pot are locally sourced.


1. In a large pot heat butter and when hot, add onions and both types of garlic.

2. Stir until onions are brown—not burnt.

3. Once the onions begin to colour, deglaze with the beer.

4. Reduce the beer to half and add salt, pepper and spice.

5. Turn heat down to low and add all of the cheeses.

6. Turn up the heat and stir constantly until the cheese is melted and completely mixed.

7. Serve with a warm baguette and pickled veggies, paired with either the Spinnakers Jolly Hopper Imperial IPA or Belgian IPA.

Spinnakers Jolly Hopper Imperial IPA is a recommended beer pairing with this dish.

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