In a large saucepan cook potatoes and garlic in lightly salted boiling water, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender; drain. Mash with a potato masher or ricer, or beat with an electric mixer on low speed. Add butter, salt, and pepper. Gradually beat in enough of the half-and-half to make mashed potatoes light and fluffy. Stir in cheese and half of the bacon. Sprinkle remaining bacon on top.
To keep potatoes on a potluck table, spoon them into a large slow cooker, cover, and set on warm-heat or low-heat setting. If warming potatoes this way, add the higher amount of half-and-half.