Beer cheese (spread)
|Place of origin||United States|
|Region or state||Kentucky|
|Main ingredients||Processed cheese or sharp cheddar cheese, beer, garlic, spices (dry mustard, horseradish and cayenne pepper)|
Beer cheese is a cheese spread most commonly found in Kentucky. Similarly named cheese products can be found in other regions of the United States, but beer cheese spread itself is not widely distributed. Despite this fact, the product is nearly ubiquitous in Kentucky. There are a number of different brands that are popular – most are similar in taste and texture. Fans of the snack usually have their favorite brand, and there are many homemade versions which use a wide variety of ingredients to add personalization.
Commercially produced beer cheese spread usually consists of a processed cheese base with a sharp cheddar flavor, while homemade varieties almost always start with sharp cheddar cheese. To this, enough beer is added to provide flavor and texture, as well as garlic and a variety of spices including dry mustard, horseradish and cayenne pepper. Most varieties come in mild and hot versions, but all tend to have a strong garlic flavor. Beer cheese is traditionally served with saltine crackers, though it can be found served with various other crackers and crudités, most often as an appetizer. In 2017, The University Press of Kentucky published The Beer Cheese Book by Garin Pirnia.
While there are conflicting stories about beer cheese's origins, it appears to have first been served in the 1940s at a restaurant in Clark County, Kentucky known as Johnny Allman's. The owner of the restaurant, John Allman, credited the invention of the cheese spread to his cousin, Joe Allman, a chef in Phoenix, Arizona. Joe's Southwestern influence is said by some to explain the spread's spicy nature.
- Goode, Kristin Ingwell (2008-02-15). "Beer Cheese Blended in the Bluegrass". Retrieved 30 September 2010.
- "A Culinary History of Kentucky: Burgoo, Beer Cheese and Goetta".
- JSH (2008-06-27). "Johnny Allman's Restaurant". Unusual Kentucky. Blogger. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
- "Kentucky legislature SB158".
- "Annual Beer Cheese Festival in Winchester, KY". Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- Media related to beer cheese spread at Wikimedia Commons