This beer cheese, made with Cheddar, cream cheese, onion, garlic, spices, and, most importantly, beer, is a necessity for your Super Bowl party. Serve with crackers, pretzels, and raw vegetables.
A boozy cousin to pimento cheese, this beer cheese is essential football and party food intended for spreading on crackers, dipping with pretzels, dunking vegetables into, and, natch, downing alongside cold beer. (In the unlikely event you have leftovers, it also makes a game-changingly mean grilled cheese.)–Angie Zoobkoff
☞ Table of Contents
- 1 cup of your favorite beer preferably lager
- 1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese grated
- 8 ounces cream cheese roughly chopped, at room temperature
- 1/2 medium (about 4 oz) yellow onion minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot red pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pour the beer into a glass and let it sit until it loses a lot of its fizziness, at least 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large food processor, combine the Cheddar, cream cheese, onion, garlic, hot sauce, salt, cayenne, mustard, Worcestershire, and black pepper and pulse just until blended.
☞TESTER TIP: If your food processor has a capacity smaller than 10 cups, you may need to add ingredients in batches and pulse as you go to ensure everything is thoroughly mixed.
- With the processor running, slowly pour in the beer. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if desired. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 5 days.
- Serve cold or let soften at room temperature for a short spell before serving.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Since my husband and I both love pimento cheese, I was excited to test this recipe for its boozy cousin. Beer and cheese and spice are a perfect combination for a delicious dip or spread. The flavor of the beer is pleasantly prominent in the dip and it’s nicely spicy, which I enjoy, but if you like it less spicy you may want to cut back on the cayenne pepper and/or hot sauce.
Once the cheese is grated and the onion minced, the rest of the recipe is very easy. When I started to process the mixture in the food processor I found the mixture was a little stiff, so I put some of the beer at the bottom of the processor bowl, and as soon as the beer started to mix in it blended easily. The only hard part is waiting for it to come out of the fridge after resting it to let the flavors meld.
Straight out of the fridge it’s a little firm and good for spreading, but if you leave it out for a half hour or so it’s the perfect consistency for a dip. I tried it with pretzels and also woven wheat crackers and it was delicious with both. This would also make a wonderful spread for sandwiches, especially for a burger on a pretzel bun, or to replace the cheese in a grilled cheese with tomato.
This recipe made about 4 cups, enough for a crowd, and would be great served with pretzels and beer (as the recipe calls for) or with almost any savory cracker, or even veggies. I let the dip rest overnight in the fridge.
Being born and raised in land of beer and cheese, I feel compelled to tell you, as an expert, this beer cheese is delicious and should be made immediately and served at most functions involving sports.
However, as any good Wisconsinite will tell you (or “youse,” as we say), the best beer to cook with is the beer you like to drink, and you can taste the beer here, so it does matter. I know the recipe called for a lager, but I only had ale in the fridge—New Glarus Spotted Cow, to be specific.
Speaking of things you like to eat, there is quite a bit of heat packed into this cheese. It doesn’t really mellow with age, either. The cayenne and Tabasco won’t hit you between the eyes right away, but it doesn’t linger, so warn your spice-averse friends, if necessary.
You don’t have to use the fanciest sharp Cheddar cheese here, since it’s not really the star. Just make sure it’s flavorful. If you shred your own cheese and have a 14-cup food processor, the work bowl will be quite full. Be sure to finely chop the onion and garlic since the blade has a lot of work to do. Maybe chunk up the cream cheese, too, so your motor doesn’t get as angry as mine did. I let that go for two 30-second long rounds before adding the beer, scraping in between. It wasn’t super duper smooth but no one seemed to mind.
The good news is that in the time it tastes for the beer to lose some of its fizz, you can make this cheese. It’s good right out of the food processor, but do wait a few hours. We ate it with pretzels but I keep thinking it would be excellent served old school in a loaf of caraway rye.
In the event of leftovers, try in a grilled cheese or warmed slightly over steamed vegetables.
This is a simple and quick appetizer recipe that would be great for a tailgating crowd. The onion, garlic, and beer are perfectly balanced with the cheese. While I served the dip with pretzel crisp crackers, that was a little salty for my taste. I would either reduce the salt in the dip next time and/or serve it with a less salty accompaniment.
This is basically a dump-the-ingredients-in-the-food-processor-and-you’re-done kind of recipe. I have an 8-cup capacity bowl with my food processor and I had to add the ingredients in stages and pulse to allow room for the remaining things. The bowl was very full but it turned out well and still resembled the picture.
I used Sam Adams Boston Lager, some not so fancy Cheddar, and a savory southwestern hot sauce.
I only let the dip rest for 4 hours before digging in. It was a perfect dipping consistency, similar to the thickness of sour cream.
And I quote, from Thanksgiving day: “I hate you, because this cheese dip is too good!” We served this as part of the holiday cheese board, while we were still preparing the feast, having let it rest for just barely the minimum 4 hours directed. It got better as it aged a little, as the flavors melded nicely together.
However, this is a barely one day melding; there was not the opportunity to judge the longer rest time. We served it at room temperature on Thanksgiving and then straight from the fridge the next day on bread and on crackers, though I think it would be excellent with crudites, such as celery sticks and cucumber rounds, as well as broccoli and cauliflower, and perhaps also fat strips of red pepper. I think it felt festive because we made it for a holiday, but it seems great for an appetizer any time of year, and would be terrific to bring along as a hostess gift.
It does have a kick from the hot sauce and the cayenne, but not enough to scare off most palates. I used St. Pauli girl, which was the sole lager available as a single bottle in the KY grocery store where I did my holiday shopping, and Nashville Heat for the hot sauce, which states on the label that it’s a combination of habanero and tabasco peppers.
Originally published January 14, 2020