Beer Cheese Spread

Recipe by Nancy Johnson Wine Commentary by Gary Twining

This snappy cheese spread is a popular appetizer in Kentucky. For best flavor, make it the day before serving. When you’re ready to try authentic beer cheese, head to Winchester for the annual Kentucky Beer Cheese Festival on June 9, 2018.

1 lb sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp dry mustard powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce

1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup flat beer, more or less as needed

In a food processor, mix all ingredients, adding the beer a few tablespoons at a time until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate overnight to blend flavors. Serve with French or pumpernickel bread, soft pretzels or crackers and veggies.

Gary: Keep in mind the sharpness of the cheddar, garlic, mustard and the heat and you will be fine. Just remember, alcohol accentuates spice and pepper. Look for a soft, rich, flavorful red with moderate tannins: a big, fruity Cabernet Sauvignon from California, Australia or Chile; a Zinfandel with character; Merlot with plush richness or a southern Rhône/Grenache/Garnacha from Spain. If the wine is two to five years old, that will help the pairing. If you want to try something different this might be the time to sample an oaky Chardonnay or lightly sweet Riesling.

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