Cheese of the Week – Beer CheeseApril 18, 2012 at 10:23 AM | Posted in cheese | Leave a comment
Tags: John Allman, Kentucky
The cheese was created in Germany, but now it is known worldwide. Produced in America, mostly in Wisconsin, it is quite pungent,
salted cheese. It ripens for a period of seven months in highly humid conditions. Germans are known to dip this cheese in beer as a tasty snack. Beer Cheese is also known as Bierkaese or Weisslacker.
Milk: cow milk
Beer cheese is a cheese spread most commonly found in Kentucky. Similar spreads can be found in other regions of the United States, but beer cheese itself is not widely distributed. Despite this fact, the spread is nearly ubiquitous in Kentucky. There are a number of different brands that are popular, including Hall’s, Kentucky Beer Cheese and others – 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 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.
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 dip to his brother, Joe Allman, a chef in Phoenix, Arizona. Joe’s Southwestern influence is said by some to explain the spread’s spicy nature.
Below is one of many Beer Cheese Dip recipes.
1 lb. process cheese spread loaf, cut into pieces
1/2 cup regular or non-alcoholic beer (any brand)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper sauce
bite-sized vegetables, bread cubes, or pretzels (if desired)
Heat cheese and beer in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly, until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the red pepper sauce.
Remove mixture and place in an earthenware fondue dish, electric cooking pot, or chafing dish. Keep warm on low heat setting.
Serve with vegetables, bread, or pretzels!