Beer cheese is exactly what it sounds like it would be. It’s a dip made of beer and cheese, and garlic and pepper, to taste. You serve it with crackers and celery.
You’ll find it other places, but it’s mainly a Kentucky thing, specifically the Bluegrass region, which is the region in and around Lexington, where the horse farms are.
Beer cheese originated, the story goes, in the 1940s when a former state police captain named Johnny Allman began serving his cousin’s “snappy cheese” at a place called The Driftwood Inn, on the Kentucky River near Winchester.
Here’s a recipe from an old cookbook I have called Lexington in Good Taste.
It’s supposedly the actual recipe from Hall’s on the River, which is located on the site of Johnny Allman’s old restaurant, which is up the road from Fort Boonesborough, which was named for Daniel Boone.
Hall’s is kind of a local institution, and its beer cheese is world famous (at least in the Bluegrass), and I can’t believe they’d give the recipe away, so, while this probably isn’t really Hall’s actual recipe, it’s still pretty good.
- 1 1/4 pounds sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup flat beer
- 3/8 teaspoon garlic (but I use more)
- 3/8 teaspoon red pepper (or a splash of hot sauce)
- Combine in a food processor or mixer until smooth and creamy.
- No, really. That’s it. Set it out, with some crackers and celery, when you’re watching football.