Beer Cheese Dip (Perfect for Pretzels)

Beer Cheese in white bowl surrounded by soft pretzel bites with glass of beer
Posted On: February 9, 2022
Last updated: March 15th, 2024

Soft pretzels go with beer cheese like bread and butter. It’s like they are made for one another. Being a Kentuckian now, we had to start making our own beer cheese. It’s big in Northern Kentucky. Even the finest restaurants around here have their own version of beer cheese served with soft pretzels as an appetizer. It’s not just a stadium snack or gameday appetizer around here.

Beer Cheese Dip with Soft Pretzel Bites

What Is Beer Cheese?

Beer cheese is a saucy, cheesy dip or spread that was created by a chef in the late 1930’s in Winchester, KY. Supposedly, he created this dip and served it as an appetizer to increase his customer’s appetite for beer! The popularity of this delicious cheese dip has since spread across the country and is served with hard and soft pretzels, vegetables and crackers. It’s quite popular in all types of restaurants throughout KY, which is where we call home now.

Beer cheese is originally very thick and more like a spread if it’s truly authentic, but it has morphed into a smoother saucier cheese that can be served warm or cold. It goes quite well with a homemade soft pretzels.

What type of Beer is Best?

If you’re wanting to make a mellow crowd friendly beer cheese dip, you need to use the lightest lager beer possible, like a Yuengling Light or any other standard light American Lager.

If you don’t mind the beery taste in your beer cheese dip, a porter is great! I don’t mind the beery taste, but some people are put off by it, especially little people like my kids….for good reason. I’m ok with that. Wink. wink.

Beer Cheese Dip with a Beer and Bowl of Soft Pretzel bites

What cheese is best for beer cheese?

My husband teases my because I like only REAL cheeses, and that is the truth. I am not an advocate of “fake” processed cheese type products, so I will not recommend them on here. I do however understand they serve a purpose at times. A lot of cheese dips call for it and it does make for a mean grilled cheese.

I recommend good old fashioned sharp cheddar cheese for this recipe. Some recipes also have included blue cheese to give it a twist, which is great as well. It just might not appeal to some crowds.

Making Beer Cheese Collage

How To Make Beer Cheese?

Beer cheese is fairly simple to make. The most important thing is to stay close to your sauce pot and not walk away. You just need to tend to your ingredients, whisking often to keep anything from over cooking. You want the flavor of the beer to mellow out and be a subtle taste, instead of taking over the taste of this cheesy dip.

Ingredients for this Cheese Dip

The Ingredients:

If you look for authentic Beer Cheese recipes, like the original KY beer cheese, the ingredients can vary a bit, but overall the main ingredients are about the same.

  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Butter
  • Flour– needed to make your rue and help thicken up your dip
  • *Beer– A very light lager is ideal so that the beer flavor is not over-powering. Here’s a great article from Six Storeys on the Best Beer for Beer Cheese. The beer you use will make a big difference in the taste of the beer cheese. The smoother the beer, the smoother the cheese. The more bitter the beer, the more bitter the cheese.
  • Heavy Cream or Half & Half
  • Garlic
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Worcestershire Sauce– This is a nice addition for depth of flavor for your cheese dip.
  • Hot Sauce– Many original beer cheeses were spicy, including the original chef’s in KY who came up with it. 1 tsp of it in this sauce will not make your cheese dip spicy, it will just give it more flavor, to stand out from ordinary cheese dip.
  • Sugar (Not pictured above)- I like to add about 1 Tbsp of granulated sugar just to cut down on some of the bitterness of the beer.
Beer Cheese Dip with Soft Pretzel Bites

Beer Cheese (Soft Pretzel Cheese Dip/Spread)

Katia
This beer cheese dip is easy to make and goes great with soft pretzels! Keep refrigerated and enjoy up to 1 week. Best served room temperature or just warm.
4.86 from 7 votes
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dip/Sauce, Side
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 172 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 cloves garlic pressed
  • 12 oz bottle light lager beer *See Note below room temperature is ideal
  • 1/2 tsp fine ground sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp fine ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sweet paprika (Optional)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar white granulated
  • 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp hot sauce Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot
  • 12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or half & half

Instructions
 

  • Melt butter in a medium sauce pot over medium heat.
  • Wisk in flour and sauté about 1 minute (Do not walk away).
  • Stir in garlic and sauté 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
  • Whisk in beer slowly, a couple Tbsp's at a time, after it's all in simmer another 3 minutes.
  • Then whisk in salt, pepper, sugar, mustard, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Continue simmering another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Now, add the cheese, a little bit at a time and continue to simmer about another 4 minutes, stir until smooth and thickened up a bit.
  • Finally, whisk in heavy cream and adjust salt and pepper if need be.
  • Let cool the cheese cool to room temperature. I think it's best served at room temperature or slightly warm.

Notes

Beer cheese can be served warm, room temperature or cold.  If dipping, warmed is better, if using as a spread, cold is good. 
* The beer you use will make a big difference in the taste of the beer cheese. The smoother the beer, the smoother the cheese. The more bitter the beer, the more bitter the cheese. 

Nutrition Disclaimer:

The nutritional information provided is only an estimate based on a third party nutritional plugin. Different online calculators may give different results depending on their own sources. The estimates may also change based on the ingredients you use. If you have dietary restrictions and need to accurately calculate the nutrition of this recipe, Whole Made Living recommends consulting a professional nutritionist.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 172kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 7gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 309mgPotassium: 49mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 391IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 211mgIron: 0.2mg
Keyword beer cheese, game day, pretzel dip
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Comments

  • Turned out really bitter and I don’t know why. I followed the recipe exactly but I didn’t have any hot sauce, so I left that out.

    • Karen, the only thing I can think of is the beer or cheese you used. The beer you use can make a really big difference in the taste. Sorry, it didn’t turn out the way you like.

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