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Who has my cheese? Kentucky's Beer Cheese Festival

On Main Street in Winchester, Kentucky each year thousands gather annully on Beer Cheese Bulevard for Beer Cheese Week, held this year on May 23-29, 2023. This is followed by Beer Cheese Festival on June 10, 2023. These events will draw over 25,000 attendants, which is approximately more than the entire population of Winchester. The vent in 2022 sawy o df 175 vendors of arts and crafts that included many more items than the tradtional beer cheese.

Think you have what it takes, you can even submitt our own beer cheese for the festival beer cheese competition, which is judged by a panel with the winners receining not onl.y braggin rights but a trophy and a cash prize


HISTORY OF BEER CHEESE


Beer cheese is a savory cheese spread or dip that has a history rooted in the United States, particularly in the state of Kentucky. While there are different variations and recipes for beer cheese, the origins of this popular snack can be traced back to the 1940s.


The exact originator of beer cheese is a subject of debate, with different accounts attributing its creation to various individuals and establishments. One commonly mentioned name is Johnnie Allman, who is said to have first developed the recipe in 1940. Allman, a chef in Clark County, Kentucky, supposedly created the spread to serve with pretzels at his restaurant.


The accepted account for Winchester credits Joe Allman, Johnnie Allman's brother, as the creator of beer cheese. Joe Allman owned a restaurant called the Driftwood Inn, located in Winchester, Kentucky. According to this version, Joe Allman experimented with a recipe combining beer and cheese, creating the distinctive flavor that became known as beer cheese.

The foundation of the origianl Allman's restaurant still exists at Hall's on the River on the Kentucky River. Regardless of the specific origin, beer cheese gained popularity in the local Kentucky community during the mid-20th century. It became particularly associated with the city of Winchester, where it was served in local bars and restaurants. The spread's popularity spread beyond Winchester and became a staple at events, festivals, and social gatherings throughout the state. Allmans is no longer the sole beer cheese, in over the last 80 years the receipe had been refined and taken on a life that now exceeds the local area.


Traditionally, beer cheese is made by blending sharp cheddar cheese, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and spices with beer. The type of beer used can vary, but lighter beers like lagers or pilsners are commonly used. Some purist insit that the beer musg be flatm hile others range from a variety of craft brews ranging from the mundane light beer to IPAs and event stout, Every receipe has their own unique blend of spices. The ingredients are mixed together until a smooth and creamy consistency is achieved.


Some serve beer cheese hot, others are served chilled and is often enjoyed with pretzels, crackers, vegetables, or as a topping for burgers and sandwiches. In recent years, beer cheese has gained wider recognition and has expanded beyond its Kentucky roots. It is now available in various forms and flavors, and you can find it in grocery stores, breweries, and restaurants across the United States.

Today, beer cheese remains a beloved snack and culinary tradition in Kentucky, serving as a testament to the creativity and innovation of local chefs and the enjoyment of regional flavors. Much like Kentucky's other signature items, the Beer Cheese Trail has been estblished and it is not just a dip anymore, it can be added to almost any item you can image. No beer cheese in the world is more authentic than the kind made on the Beer Cheese Trail. The annual BEER CHEESE FESTIVAL is held the 2nd Saturday of June each year.

 

Restaurants & Events on the Beer Cheese Trail

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