Beer cheese is a spicy cheese dip served as a cold appetizer with crackers, carrots and celery sticks. Don't let the imitations fool you! In Kentucky this cheese spread is served cold and has plenty of spice!
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Why this Beer Cheese is the Best!
Creamy, spicy and lots of cheese is what makes the best beer cheese! This snacking cheese is the perfect consistency for dipping your crackers and carrots. Plus it doesn't have too many competing flavors, just a little spice.
What is Beer Cheese and It's Origins
For anyone who visits this website often you will hear me refer to Florida as home. However, originally I'm from a small town in central Kentucky called Winchester. Other than the beautiful horse farms, the area is known for an appetizer called beer cheese.
Surprising Clark County is the birthplace of beer cheese. I lived just minutes from the Kentucky river where it is said to originated at a small hotel called the Driftwood Inn. The cheese mixture was served as a complementary snack to the guests of the inn. Of course the original recipe has changed slightly from the late 1930s as it grew to become a Kentucky specialty.
I ate this appetizer so often, not realizing until I moved that this was a local specialty! You will find this appetizer at any derby day celebration, basketball or football party as well as all local restaurants. It is so popular my hometown of Winchester has an annual Beer Cheese Festival to celebrate their claim to fame. What's better than sampling beer cheese and drinking a couple icy cold beers?!?
To y'all non-Kentuckians, beer cheese is a spicy, cold cheese spread served in almost every local restaurant. It is made with an entire can of beer which brings debate on if a light beer or darker beer is better. My family recipe has been made with both types and I see little difference.
Traditional Kentucky beer cheese is served with carrots, celery, and club crackers but feel free to add pretzels and other veggies to the serving plater.
beer- choose a beer you like to drink. Traditionally this is made with a darker lager but I’ve used light beers often. The important thing is to use flat beer. Open it so the beer can loose its carbonation.
sharp cheddar cheese- if you buy blocks of cheddar cheese, you can use an attachment on the food processor to shred it first. The traditional cheese flavor of this appetizer comes from a good quality sharp cheddar.
Velveeta-helps give the cheese its smooth consistency and makes the dip more spreadable.
cayenne pepper- adds the heat to this spicy dip. If you can not handle the heat add half of the spice the recipe calls for.
Before we make the beer cheese it is important to open the beer and allow it to go flat. To speed up the process you can pour it back and forth between two glasses or just leave it sit on the counter for a few hours. Trust me this is not a step to skip because you will have a mess when the beer fizzes out of your food processor.
Once the beer is flat its time to add the ingredients to the food processor. Add half of the cheddar cheese, half of the Velveeta and all of the spices. Run for 30 seconds and pour beer through the top of the feed tube.
Open the food processor and add the remaining cheese and velvetta. Secure the lid again and turn on the food processor while pouring the remaining beer in the opening.
How to Serve
True Kentucky beer cheese is always served cold! To serve this appetizer make a platter with club crackers, celery, and carrots. This is how most restaurants serve beer cheese, of course pretzels and other veggies will work well.
- No matter what kind of beer you use, make sure it is flat beer, that you have let the carbonation fizzle out of. Otherwise you will have a mess when you turn on the food processor!
- This is a spicy dip recipe, but if you can not handle as much spice reduce the amount in half and then try it. It is always easier to add more spice than to take it away!
Is Pub Cheese the Same as Beer Cheese?
They are similar, however pub cheese is not always made with beer, which is what makes beer cheese.
How Long Does Homemade Beer Cheese Last?
Keep your beer cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Is Beer Cheese Supposed to Be Hot or Cold?
This recipe is definitely served cold. If serving at a party it is okay for it to be out at room temperature for a few hours, but should not be left out overnight.
Looking for Other Appetizer Recipes? Try These!
Did you try this recipe? Please let me know what you think! Leave a comment below, and a 5- star rating. I would love to hear from you! Subscribe to get new recipes sent straight to your inbox!
Authentic Kentucky Beer Cheese Recipe
- food processor
- 1 12 ounce beer flat*
- 1 pound velvetta, cubed
- 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- In a food processer place half of Velveeta and cheddar cheese and sprinkle spices on top. Pulse a few times while slowly adding half of the beer through the feed tube opening of food processor.
- Then add the remaining cheese and continue to mix until cheese is smooth and spices are well incorporated while pouring in the remaining beer.
- Serve chilled with crackers, carrots and celery. This will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.