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Beer Cheese Dip is the quintessential cooking with beer recipe. There are countless variations – hot, cold, spreadable, dip-able, smoky, spicy – with even more possible beer and cheese combinations. I first created this version of the beer cheese dip for Austin Beer Guide in 2011 and have been fine tuning it ever since.
The recipe that follows is my favorite ‘go to’ recipe. Gouda and bacon add smokiness that’s heightened by the addition of Worcestershire sauce and balanced with cream cheese. It’s served fondue style, but isn’t quick to set so there’s no need for a heat source to keep it warm. Serve alongside soft pretzels, grilled meats, and vegetables, or pour over french fries for pub nachos. It would also be fantastic on top of a burger or with broccoli in a baked potato. If you somehow end up with leftovers, store in an airtight container in the fridge then reheat on the stovetop when ready to serve – it keeps well, so feel free to prepare ahead of time.
1 teaspoon paprika or a pinch of cayenne, optional
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
*If you can’t find smoked gouda, use regular gouda and substitute Oktoberfest for a rauchbier or smoked porter; the result won’t be quite as smoke forward, but it’ll definitely add a nice smoky undertone.
Toss grated cheese with cornstarch; set aside.
Using a heavy bottomed saucepan, fry bacon over medium heat until fat renders; use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Add shallot to pan with rendered bacon fat and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots caramelize, about 8 to 10 minutes; add garlic and continue to cook until fragrant.
Stir in beer, Worcestershire, mustard, and paprika or cayenne, if using; increase heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Add a small handful of cheese to beer mixture, stirring between additions. Reduce heat to low. Continue to cook for an additional minute or two, stirring occasionally, until cheese has fully melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a serving bowl; top with reserved bacon pieces and serve with pretzels, crackers, and sausages!