Beer cheese
Beer cheese and crackers.png
Beer cheese with saltine crackers
Place of originUnited States
Region or stateKentucky
Main ingredientsProcessed 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.[1]

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, although it can be found served with various other crackers and crudités, most often as an appetizer.


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[2] known as Johnny Allman's.[3][4] 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.[5]

On February 21, 2013, the Kentucky Legislature decreed Clark County as the birthplace of beer cheese.[6]


Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom was reportedly a fan of beer cheese. It is reported that she took some home with her after a visit to Lexington.[7]


An annual Beer Cheese Festival[8] is held in downtown Winchester, KY (the county seat of Clark County) featuring local arts & crafts vendors as well as both commercial and amateur recipe contests.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Goode, Kristin Ingwell (2008-02-15). "Beer Cheese Blended in the Bluegrass". Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  2. ^ Young-Brown, Fiona (April 2014). A Culinary History of Kentucky: Burgoo, Beer Cheese and Goetta. ISBN 9781625847478.
  3. ^ JSH (2008-06-27). "Johnny Allman's Restaurant". Unusual Kentucky. Blogger. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  4. ^ The History of Beer Cheese |
  5. ^ Beer Cheese Blended in the Bluegrass |
  6. ^ "Kentucky legislature SB158".
  7. ^ "Cincinnati Magazine". Emmis Communications. May 12, 1994 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "HOME". Beer Cheese Festival.
  9. ^ "Annual Beer Cheese Festival in Winchester, KY". Retrieved 13 June 2014.