Beer Cheese Originated In This Unexpected State

Beer and cheese: two of the greatest gifts the world has ever received. And when you bring them together, something practically magical happens. Beer cheese is a creamy, smooth, zesty dip made by combining a medley of melted cheeses, beer, butter or heavy cream, spices, and seasonings (per The Pioneer Woman). The end result is a savory, spreadable sauce perfect for smothering, drizzling, topping, and dunking crackers, chips, pretzels, crudités, and so much more. Recipes for beer cheese have been passed down generations and are whipped up for a number of occasions, including tailgates, Super Bowl watch parties, picnics, potlucks, cookoffs, and cozy nights in.

You're probably assuming a product like beer cheese was pioneered in Wisconsin. After all, the Badger State is arguably best known for its abundance of breweries and dairy products. However, perhaps surprising to some, beer cheese got its start in an entirely different territory, where it has since maintained its status as a longstanding culinary tradition. Hint: This state is also the birthplace of bluegrass music, Jif peanut butter, and bourbon.

Beer cheese is a Kentucky invention

That's right! Beer cheese originated in the Bluegrass State. VinePair explains that the first batch of beer cheese was concocted in Clark County, Kentucky. And Kentuckians really love their beer cheese — so much so that they host an event dedicated to the authentic dish. The annual Beer Cheese Festival has taken place in the town of Winchester, Kentucky, the seat of Clark County, every June since 2009. Fairgoers gather from near and far to taste creative beer cheese recipes, plus enjoy live music and local vendors.

So, what makes beer cheese so special? For one, it's super simple to make. While beer cheese recipes may vary based on palates and conventions, the standard formula contains a motley of mild, umami-rich fromages such as cheddar and gouda, aromatic spices like garlic, cayenne pepper, and ground mustard, thickening agents such as butter or heavy cream, and of course, beer (either freshly cracked open or leftover and flat). Although any style of beer is fair game, lagers work best, per VinePair.

Even the late Queen Elizabeth II was a big fan of the iconic cheesy goodness, according to the official Winchester website.