How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place bacon in a large saucepan over medium-high, and cook until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, reserving drippings in pan.
Place bread on a rimmed baking sheet; pour bacon drippings over bread, and toss to coat. Spread in an even layer, and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
Return saucepan to medium-high heat; add butter, and swirl to coat. Add carrots and onion to pan. Cook, stirring often, until carrots begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add flour to pan, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add milk, pumpkin, beer, and salt to pan. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 10 minutes. Transfer soup to a blender. Remove center cap from blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender, and place a clean towel over opening in lid. Process until smooth. With blender on low speed, add cheeses, 1⁄2 cup at a time, processing until smooth. Stir in half-and-half. Divide soup evenly among 4 bowls. Top evenly with croutons, bacon, thyme, and pepper.