Cook the kielbasa
in the olive oil in a large, heavy soup
pot over high heat until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the onions
, salt, pepper, and bay leaves and cook, stirring, until the onions are slightly caramelized, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk
in the stock and the beer
. Add the thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer
uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Add the cheese
a little at a time, stirring until nearly completely melted after each addition. Remove from the heat, taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Garnish each serving of the soup with a handful of the popcorn and minced fresh chives.