Homemade Beer Cheese – a Kentucky Favorite

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Homemade Beer Cheese


Have you ever heard of Beer Cheese?  I’m guessing if you’re not from Kentucky, you probably haven’t.

Beer cheese is a served in local restaurants as an appetizer.  You can also find it in grocery stores, but it tends to be pretty expensive.  The spread is smooth, very cheesy with a small amount of spice.  It’s good on crackers, carrot sticks and celery sticks.  It’s made with a small amount of flat beer.

If you’re looking for a fun dish to have for Derby Day (May 3 this year), consider this easy appetizer.  (But don’t forget about Kentucky Nut Pie, which is a Derby classic!)

You will need a food processor for this recipe.  I don’t have one, so I borrowed from a neighbor.  I think they were happy with getting some of the Beer Cheese in exchange.

Here’s what you’ll need:  

Beer Cheese ingr


I learned a few things while making this.  First, you don’t need a strong beer to make this.  I don’t drink beer and this was the first bottle I’ve ever bought.  I just wanted one bottle and I chose Kentucky Ale.  I actually stood and debated with myself about whether ale and beer were the same thing.  I know.  A teetotaler goes into a liquor store…

Anyway, the Kentucky Ale is aged in bourbon barrels, which for some reason sounded good to this person who likes neither beer nor bourbon.  It made fine Beer Cheese, but it was a little strong.  Budweiser is probably just fine for this recipe.

The other thing I learned is that it takes a lot longer for beer to go stale than I gave it.  You may need to open it the night before or at least that morning before making it in the afternoon.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge. Mine got a little crumbly after storing it, but it was still very spreadable.  And after bringing it up to room temperature and giving it a stir, it was smooth again.

I’ve cut the recipe in half for you too.  The full recipe I used made 4 cups of Beer Cheese.  Considering it’s usually sold in 5 ounce containers, 4 cups is a LOT of Beer Cheese!

Homemade Beer Cheese – a Kentucky Favorite
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar
  • 8 oz medium cheddar
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1½ Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. dry mustard
  • ½ - ¾ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 4 oz flat beer
  1. Grind the cheese in a food processor with the garlic. You will probably need to do this in batches.
  2. When all the cheese is ground, add the other ingredients.
  3. Process as you add ingredients, adding the beer last.
  4. Process until smooth.
  5. Serve with crackers, carrots and celery.
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  1. so while I drink beer (occasionally) and don’t have a problem. I have several people in my family that are recovering alcoholics. This would not work for them. One even was angry at my Mom one time for using wine to cook with. Do you have a suggestion for an alternative to the beer, would non-alcoholic beer work as well, or a good ginger-ale?

  2. I have a similar family recipe for this (even though I am not from Kentucky:) The difference is the addition of 8oz Cream Cheese and 1 TBSP of milk. My recipe also calls for the beer to be brought to a boil and then cooled before adding all ingredients.

  3. I love beer, and cheese (and bourbon for that matter) so this sounds awesome!!

  4. Please be aware that there IS alcohol in “non-alcoholic” beer. (Should be labeled “low alcohol”, not “non-alcohol”) I have not found one that doesn’t contain it, so please check before you buy it. That’s crucial for a recovering alcoholic and for children.

  5. The beer in the pic is a Kentucky bourbon barrel beer I believe. This beer has a very strong and distinct flavor. I’ve usually made this spread with a pale ale or IPA, a regular Bud light or something is too weak.

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