1. In a 4- or 5-quart Dutch oven or stockpot, cook bacon until crispy. Crumble bacon and set aside. Discard all but 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings.
2. Place the reserved drippings in a Dutch oven, then cook and stir celery, carrots and onion over medium heat 8–10 minutes or until softened. Stir in flour, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Gradually whisk in milk, beer and cream. Heat until bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Reduce heat to low; stir in cheese; continue heating and stirring until completely melted.
3. Ladle soup into bowls; garnish with popcorn or cheese-flavored snacks. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.