Beer cheese is a spread made, as the name implies, with beer and cheese, as well as other assorted flavors such as garlic and cayenne pepper. A popular version from Kentucky is made with sharp cheddar and lager and is usually served cold with crackers. German versions often are made with soft ripe cheese.
Restaurants have drawn inspiration from the traditional varieties to make fondue, cheese sauce to pour over entrées or vegetables, or dips to go with soft pretzels. The flavor combination has broad appeal, and the nearly infinite variety of beer and cheeses available gives operators a lot of room for experimentation.
Market research firm Datassential reports that beer cheese’s appearance on menus in the United States has risen by 114% over the past four years, and is now seen in dishes on around 2.9% of U.S. menus.
Click through the gallery to learn more about the Flavor of the Week and see how one restaurant is using beer cheese on a menu item.