Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kentucky Beer Cheese

Kentucky. The Bluegrass state. You've given us the Derby, bourbon (THANK YOU), the Corvette, the Hilltoppers (and the greatest college sports mascot EVER) and your famous jelly

Ok, maybe not the jelly. But how about your fried chicken?

All great things, yes, but one of my FAVORITE things about Kentucky is their beer cheese. Beer cheese is simply a cheese spread (kinda like how, even further south, we love our "puhmenna cheese") known pretty much only in Kentucky. Hall's is the most popular brand, and most beer cheeses are simply a blend of sharp cheddar (or a processed cheese flavored like sharp cheddar, aka Cheese Whiz) with some pungent garlic, a bit of mustard and pepper, and flat beer. 

You want to use a pilsner or lager for this cheese to avoid that skunky, bitter taste

Served as a spread on crackers (Saltines, specifically) or veggies, Kentucky beer cheese is said to have been invented by Joe Allman, brother of  restaurant owner John Allman, back in the 1940s. He called it "Snappy Cheese." When Allman's restaurant burned down in the late 1970s, the recipe is said to have gone to Hall's On The River, a restaurant that opened in a location VERY close to one of Allman's original restaurants. 

Bring this cheese for your next potluck. If it's an office potluck, you CAN use non-alcoholic beer (LAWD WHY). Or you can just SAY that you did (wink). Serve this at your next sports get-together (it IS March Madness, after all), and your friends will all be telling you: "Damn! This some good-ass cheese!". 

Kentucky Beer Cheese

1 lb sharp cheddar cheese
1 lb mild cheddar cheese
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
8oz of beer*, allowed to go flat

*I prefer any non-light, cheap-ass American beer for this. Budweiser (aka "Bud Heavy"), Coors Banquet (if you can find it - good luck with that), MGD, etc...


To get your beer to go flat quicker, pour it in a bowl; more surface area = goes flat more quickly...

In a food processor, grind all the cheese together with the garlic. I usually go ahead and cut each block of cheese into maybe 4 chunks of so to make this a little easier.

While processing, add the Worcestershire, mustard, cayenne and salt. Finally, slowly pour in the flat beer.

*I used the wrong size bowl for my processor, so I had to process in batches; that's why some of these pictures are in a giant mixing bowl instead of the processor.

Process the cheese until it's nearly smooth and well-mixed. Store in a container with an air-tight lid for 1-2 days to allow the flavors to meld before serving.


  1. That looks so delicious! Conveniently, I have a fridge full of cheese and beer AND a brand-new unopened bag of pretzel crisps. Know what we'll be eating tomorrow afternoon. Thanks!

  2. You're welcome! It's perfect for a lazy day of snacking!

  3. I had to make two batches too, my food processor isn't so big. But I changed it up just a little for the second batch and added some ginger. Totally awesome. I always enjoy the great recipes you share, so thanks again!

    1. I actually have a HUGE food processor, but, since I was making this at the BF's house, I brought over my Ninja instead. My food processor is a die-cast Cuisinart and weighs like 456083947504890 lbs. Of course, this recipe CAN be easily halved, too!

      Ginger sounds REALLY good - I might have to add some to mine next time! :)

  4. As a Louisville, Kentucky girl, you are welcome! ;-) You may also want to give MY favorite Kentucky spread a try - Benedictine cheese. I saw you are a fan of cucumber sandwiches, so this stuff should be right up your alley. Hall's also manufactures it, or make your own. Try it at your next Derby party! Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes!