It’s summer—and yes, everything this time of year is a little bit better when you have a can of beer by your side. But what you might not know is that Sunday (Jul.14) is National Mac & Cheese Day, and there is a way to join your love of beer with the cheesy goodness of this traditional dish.

Borrowed from our friends at Delish, Beer Cheese Mac is not only the ultimate comfort food, but even the pickiest eaters will love it. And while you might be used to making Mac & Cheese straight from the small-print directions on the side of a blue box you throw in your lazy Susan, this recipe actually requires real ingredients such as flour, bacon, bread crumbs…the works. Oh, and beer!

Don’t be scared. You can do this. Just remember that the recipe only calls for one can of beer. The rest of the six-pack can be enjoyed once you throw this in the oven!

BEER CHEESE MAC

Ingredients

3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 c. beer
1 c. milk
2 c. shredded Cheddar
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. elbow macaroni, prepared according to box
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 c. panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. chopped chives, plus more for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9”x13” baking dish. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Slowly add beer and milk to flour mixture, stirring constantly. Continue whisking over medium heat until mixture has thickened, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese until fully melted. Season with paprika, salt and pepper and fold in prepared macaroni noodles and crumbled bacon. Pour into prepared serving vessel.

In a small bowl, combine Panko with olive oil and chives. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the mac & cheese. Bake until bubbly and golden, 25-30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Garnish with chives and serve.

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