The Glorious Thing That Is Known As Beer Cheese | Recipe For Bourbon Beer Cheese Puffs

September 21, 2016

bourbon beer cheese puffs

Kentucky is responsible for the creations of many different foods and drinks: burgoo, bourbon, Ale-8, Derby Pie, the cheeseburger, the hot brown, the Mint Julep, lamb fries, benedictine, and much much more. However, today, I’m going to share with you the glorious thing that is, beer cheese. If you follow me on instagram, then you have seen me post quite a bit about beer cheese – beer cheese that I have bought from stores and beer cheese that I have ate at restaurants.

Some people may be wondering what exactly is beer cheese? 

Well, beer cheese is a cheese spread that is most commonly found in Kentucky. The spread is nearly ubiquitous (which means you can find it basically everywhere). It is on just about every menu at the majority of restaurants here. You can eat it with chips, put it on burgers, have it as a topping on a hotdog, use it in soups; the possibilities are endless. Beer cheese is usually made with cheddar cheese, spices, and beer. There are so many varieties and not one is alike.

So, what’s in beer cheese?

Beer cheese can vary from very mild to spicy hot. It starts with sharp cheddar cheese and then beer is added for flavor (sometimes it is recommended that the beer if flat). Garlic, a variety of spices that include dry mustard, horseradish, and cayenne pepper as then added. As with anything, everyone has their own recipe and own preference of ingredients and none are the exact same.


A Beer Cheese trail, say what?!?

If you have been reading my blog for quite some time, then you would have heard me mention things about the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Craft Trail. Well, did you know there is a Beer Cheese Trail? Of course, all of the places are located in Winchester, Kentucky, which is the birthplace of beer cheese. Just like with the Bourbon Trail having a passport and receiving a gift upon completion, you can get a passport for the Beer Cheese Trail as well. Once you complete five stops on the trail, you can receive a Beer Cheese Trail t-shirt. Once you complete all eight stops on the trail, you receive a t-shirt and become an Official Beer Cheese Ambassador, as well as having the chance to be a judge at the Beer Cheese Festival in June! The Beer Cheese Festival is held in June of each year and is located in Winchester. There are local arts and crafts vendors, as well as both commercial and amateur recipe contests for beer cheese. You can try all of the beer cheese that you want!

The History of Beer Cheese:

It all started in the late 1930s, when Johnny Allman opened his first restaurant, The Driftwood Inn, on the banks of the Kentucky River near Boonesborough. This was the first restaurant where Johnny first served his cousin, Joe Allman’s now famous Snappy cheese (You can read the full in depth history: here).

Legend has it…

Allegedly, in the early 1960’s, Johnny lost one restaurant to Carl Johnson in a card game. Mr. Johnson was tragically shot in the entrance to his restaurant. The restaurant and its recipes were acquired by the Hall family in 1965. Since that time, Hall’s on the River has been a mainstay in the Central Kentucky dining scene.

Where can you find it?

Well, if you live in Kentucky or visiting Kentucky, you can find it pretty much anywhere. Outside of Kentucky? I’m not sure, but I’m sure it would prove to be rather difficult. Here, you can find tons of varieties and they are sold in many grocery stores and of course, at Liquor Barn. You can also find many other local products in our stores too (thanks to the Kentucky Proud movement!).

What does it taste like?

Probably the most important thing that people want to know is, what does it taste like?! In my opinion, this is one of these foods that are really hard to describe. It doesn’t really taste like beer or cheese to me. It is just something that you are going to have to try! If you are in Lexington, I really like the beer cheese at JDI Tavern and Chatham’s Southern Comfort Food!


recipe: via

Serving Size: 1 to 1/2 dozen
Ready In: 50 minutes, plus cooling


  • 2 tablespoons Maker’s Mark Bourbon (or the bourbon of your choice)
  • 8 ounces sharp yellow cheddar cheese, grated (2-1/2 cups)
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup beer, preferably bourbon ale (but you can use any kind)
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mustard, preferably beer mustard (I used dry mustard)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (17-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg, beaten


I used Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. It can be rather expensive at around $13 for only four bottles, but I felt that it is the best choice, especially since the recipe called for a bourbon ale. All of these beers are produced in Kentucky, aged in freshly decanted Kentucky bourbon barrels, 100% barrel aged, and produced in bourbon barrels only used once.


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the cheddar, cream cheese, beer, bourbon, paprika and mustard until smooth, scraping the bowl occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag.
  4. Unwrap and unfold the puff pastry sheets. Cut each into 9 3-inch squares.
  5. Snip a 1/2-inch hole in the corner of the bag containing the cheese mixture.
  6. Pipe the cheese mixture onto one half of each pastry square, leaving a 1/2-inch rim.
  7. In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water.
  8. Brush the egg wash on the rim of a pastry square.
  9. Fold the pastry in half to form a triangle, press the edges to seal and then press with the tines of a fork. Repeat with the remaining pastries.
  10. Transfer to the prepared pan, spacing 1/2 inch apart.
  11. Brush the tops of the pastry with the egg wash.
  12. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  13. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, leaving behind any cheese that may have oozed out of the pastry.
  14. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Remember when cooking with alcohol, the majority of the alcohol cooks out, so that is something that is not worth worrying about. It’s more for the flavor and texture of the dish than anything! (Besides you can’t even taste the beer, so don’t let that stop you from trying it!)

Kentucky’s culinary scene is definitely the best out there! If you are a foodie, then Kentucky is the perfect haven for you!

  • Robin Rue September 21, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Beer cheese is such a southern thing. I can get it here in the northeast if I make it myself, but it’s not something that’s big up here.

  • redheadbabymama September 21, 2016 at 7:58 am

    I might be able to make these! Beer cheese is soooo good with pretzels or other fondues. Bourbon, beer and cheese are a favorite of my husband’s!

  • Debra Hawkins September 21, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    I don’t cook with beer but have friends who might like this recipe. It looks yummy!

  • Rebecca Bryant September 21, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    You had me at cheese. this sounds like such a delicious treat. I am so in.

  • Logan Cantrell September 21, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    I am a big fan of cheese! If I’m ever in Kentucky, I will add this to my list of things to do!

  • Karen Yannacio Morse September 21, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    I keep hearing about amazing things in Kentucky and want to take a mini road trip out there! This beer cheese sounds so intriguing! I want to experience it… and think it would be a fun experience!

  • Terri Steffes September 21, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    I’m in! I have had beer cheese in other places but what I don’t know is, how much they taste like beer cheese in Kentucky. Can’t wait to find out!

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette September 29, 2016 at 3:33 am

      You should come down to Kentucky! You’d love it! I love how all the beer cheese that I’ve had tastes differently!

  • Amanda Love September 21, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    This is the first time that I’ve heard of beer cheese. I think it’s a good addition to any kind of bar food that has cheese in it. The flavor of the beer definitely adds depth to the cheese! I love the idea and I’d love to give it a try.

  • Taylor Smith September 21, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    I have never heard of beer cheese!!!! That is so cool! I love Kentucky. I lived for a few years growing up!

  • Cynthia @craftoflaughter September 21, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    I’ve heard of beer cheese but have never tried it. I love cheese and I can only imagine how delicious these puffs are!

  • tp keane September 22, 2016 at 9:02 am

    I’ve never heard of this before but it looks very interesting. Pity I don’t live anywhere near there.

  • Kimberly Stroh September 22, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Oh my pregnant belly! This looks so sinfully good. The cheese puffs would be an awesome app!

  • Chelsea Damon September 22, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Cheese puffs sound amazing to my prego belly right now. Basically anything does, really. But I will especially opt for anything baked and cheesy!

  • Stephanie Clark September 22, 2016 at 11:36 am

    This recipe!! Oh my goodness those look delicious! My husband would probably LOVE THESE!

  • Rachel Catherine September 22, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    These sound amazing! I totally want these. My husband would really like them too. They sound like a good party appetizer.

  • Brita Long September 22, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    I love beer cheese. I’ve definitely found it in most states where I’ve lived (South Carolina, Ohio, Georgia).

    Also Kentucky Bourbon Ale is SO good, but yes, so expensive. If anyone wants to try it, but is worried about the price, I’ve found that when it’s available on tap, the price is comparable to cheaper beers. Obviously it’s then more expensive per ounce than buying a four-pack, but if you’re at a bar anyway, drinking draft beer anyway, it’s a good way to try it.

  • Brittany Muddamalle September 22, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    What in the world are these delicious things! Ha! They look amazing! I love beer cheese so much! This looks like the perfect thing to make for our football party this week!

  • Terryn Winfield September 22, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Oh, my husband would absolutely love these! Right up his ally. Maybe I will surprise him with these, thank you!

  • CourtneyLynne Storms September 22, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Omg can we say yum?!?! Beer and cheese are on my favorites list so them together!? Omg so need!

  • Gillian September 22, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Oh my gosh, these sound amazing!!! I’ve never heard of beer cheese, but it sounds like a winning combination. Can’t wait to try these!

  • Paula Jenkins September 23, 2016 at 12:38 am

    I have never heard of Bourbon beer cheese puffs before, but they sound so delicious! I’m excited to try them!

  • Renée ♥ The Good Hearted Woman September 23, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    I almost couldn’t stop thinking about that Beer Cheese Trail long enough to collect my thoughts. Those Bourbon Beer Cheese Puffs sound fabulous!

  • jillconyers September 23, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    I’ve heard of beer cheese but I’ve never tried it. My husband said he’s never tried it either.

  • Suzanne Spiegoski-Decamps September 23, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Who took the first picture? Now all I can think about is cheese… ha ha! Looks so good.

  • Pam @ Hodge Podge Moments September 27, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    I am definitely talking my husband into a stop in Kentucky when we go visit family one of these times. I think we’d enjoy all of the trails available! (It probably won’t be hard to convince him with words like beer and bourbon involved!)

  • katrina gehman September 27, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    those look amazing! saving this so i can try this later.

  • Arin Agase | Heart of Chic September 28, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    ok, seriously! this is just a tease! if only i could reach into my screen and take a big ole bite! can’t wait to try this!

  • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette September 29, 2016 at 3:32 am

    That’s so crazy!!

  • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette September 29, 2016 at 3:34 am

    Me too!! I need to put my goal into action lol!

  • About Me

    About Me

    Hi, y'all!

    Hey y'all! My name is Whitney, and I'm the founder of Fabulous in Fayette. I've been living in Lexington since 2008. I'm in love with my city of Lexington and love all the amazing local businesses and restaurants. It's seriously one of the best places to live!

    Not to be confused with Fayetteville, North Carolina. Fabulous in Fayette celebrates the fabulous city of Lexington, the great state of Kentucky, and Southern Living. In case you are not from here, Fayette refers to the county where Lexington is located!

    xoxo, Whitney

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