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Guinness and Onion Soup

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    5 cloves minced garlic
    8 cups thinly sliced onions
    Gray salt
    1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
    1/4 cup sherry vinegar
    1 1/2 cups dark beer (recommended: Guinness)
    6 cups beef stock
    6 slices country bread cut 1/2-inch thick, toasted
    1/2 pound Irish Cheddar, sliced thin

  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and
 cook briefly to release aroma. Add onions, season with salt and cook
 for about 5 minutes stirring often. Reduce heat to low and cook for
 about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are golden
 brown.

  Add the thyme, vinegar, and beer. Reduce beer by half and add the
 beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes.

  Preheat the broiler. Transfer soup to an ovenproof serving dish or
 individual ovenproof soup bowls. Top with toasted bread slices and
 sliced Cheddar. Broil until cheese melts and starts to brown slightly.
 Serve piping hot.