Kentucky Beer Cheese

The only thing better than a creamy cheese dip? A creamy cheese dip with beer mixed in.

kentucky beer cheese
Photo: Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist:Christine Keely Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
10 mins
Servings:
12

If you love a pimiento cheese dip, chances are likely that you'll appreciate its bluegrass relative, Kentucky Beer Cheese. The spread has everything you could want in a pre-dinner munching marathon: creaminess, saltiness, sharpness, and an umami-forward bite provided by—you guessed it—stout beer.

It's a simple appetizer with a gigantic pay-off, and we'd be remiss to not share what makes it so great, as well as a stellar recipe so that you can make it at home yourself.

What Is Kentucky Beer Cheese?

The story of this famous regional dish goes back to the 1930s, when Chef Joe Allman originally developed his recipe for Kentucky Beer Cheese as a complimentary snack, supposedly to increase his customers' appetite for beer. Since then, Kentucky Beer Cheese has become a signature dish of the state, with devoted fans across the country—and for good reason. It doesn't get much better than beer and cheese.

Ingredients for Kentucky Beer Cheese

kentucky beer cheese ingredients on a marble counter
Photographer: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Kentucky Beer Cheese comes together in the food processor and has a thick, spreadable consistency. Our take on this sensational dip has depth of flavor from extra-sharp Cheddar, Worcestershire sauce, and stout beer. Cream cheese gives the spread a nice tang, helping to cut through the richness of all the other components. The cayenne adds just a hint of heat, which works well with the creamy beer cheese.

Of course, you can scale back on the heat or swap the aforementioned cheeses with some of your favorite iterations, but be sure to include something aged or sharp to maintain that salty bite—it needs to stand up to the decadence of the cream cheese, which can be one-noted if underseasoned.

The Right Beer for Kentucky Beer Cheese

You'll want to opt for a nice hoppy IPA or dark stout (like Guinness) for extra depth of umami flavor. A lighter beer can work, but it won't be as strong, and this is called "beer cheese" for a reason.

How to Make Kentucky Beer Cheese

The beauty of Kentucky Beer Cheese is that it requires minimal time and effort to make. Simply grab a food processor, add your cheeses and butter, and then blend.

kentucky beer cheese in the food processor
Photographer: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist:Christine Keely; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Next, add your onion, Worcestershire, Dijon, and cayenne. Blend these ingredients, as well.

blending kentucky beer cheese in a food processor
Photographer: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

While the food processor is running, slowly add your beer until the mixture absorbs it and yields a silky-smooth consistency. And then, voila! You've got your new favorite dip that you (and maybe some lucky guests) will scarf down in practically no time at all.

kentucky beer cheese in a food processor
Photographer: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

How to Serve Kentucky Beer Cheese

Though Kentucky Beer Cheese is traditionally served with sliced veggies, we also recommend a hearty and sturdy carb like pretzels or crackers for the ultimate dipping experience.

While you can certainly enjoy this spread cold, it shines best at room temperature. Aim to leave it out for about 15 minutes prior to the party starting.

How to Store Kentucky Beer Cheese

Kentucky Beer Cheese can easily be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to two days. Due to its high dairy content, you'll want to avoid any type of freezing (or any attempt, really) to prolong its shelf life. After one taste, we doubt this will be too much of an issue.

Editorial contributions by Joey Skladany.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, cubed, at room temperature

  • 4 ounces cream cheese (from 1 [8-ounce] package), softened

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened

  • ½ cup chopped white onion (from 1 [5-ounce] onion)

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ½ cup stout beer, at room temperature (such as Guinness)

  • Serving options: pretzel sticks, celery sticks, cucumber spears

Directions

  1. Process Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and butter in a food processor until combined, 1 minute to 1 minute and 30 seconds Add onion, Worcestershire, Dijon, and cayenne; process until combined, about 30 seconds. While food processor is running, slowly pour in beer, and process until mixture is completely smooth and beer is fully absorbed, about 45 seconds.

  2. Serve immediately with pretzels, celery, and cucumber. Alternatively, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving, about 15 minutes.

Updated by Joey Skladany
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