Beer Cheese Dip

There’s nothing like a hot bowl of Beer Cheese Dip to enjoy with friends, plus a few brewskies and salty pretzels. Learn how to make this easy, warm dip with your favorite brew for every gathering from game day to Oktoberfest.

a plate of pretzels and a bowl of beer cheese

My Beer Cheese Dip recipe was originally posted on My Cooking Spot in 2015.

In celebration of the Biggest Football Game of the Year in a few weeks, I wanted to get a jump start on appetizer recipes you can make for your annual watch party.

And let’s be honest: It’s not a Commercial Watching Party without a few dips.

Whether it’s Bloody Mary salsa or buffalo cheese dip, your snack table is going to need a few good chip and dip situations. Or in this case, a pretzel and dip situation…

Warm Beer Cheese Dip recipe

One of my favorite taprooms has the most amazing beer cheese and pretzel appetizer that I absolutely have to order whenever I’m there.

Almost like cheese fondue, the flavors of malty beer and sharp cheese are such a good combination, especially alongside an ice-cold craft beer or a beer cocktail like a Michelada.

There is just nothing like a piping hot beer cheese dip and some salty pretzels to go with it!

a hand dipping a piece of pretzel into beer cheese dip

What is beer cheese?

Beer cheese is a combination of your favorite beer, cheese and seasonings like garlic and cayenne pepper. It’s usually made with lager beer or similar lighter beers, but you can use your favorite kind of beer if you like!

This easy beer cheese dip recipe is well-loved at parties. It gets its creamy thickness because it’s made with a roux of flour and butter.

The result is a flavorful cheesy dip that you’re going to want to dip everything into, especially bread, pretzels and even veggies!

It’s perfect for tailgates, game-watching parties, Oktoberfest celebrations and any time you’re serving cold brewskies!

You can also make my friend Megan’s cold beer cheese spread, which is a totally different recipe but is also really nice! I think I will 100% be making this version in the summer months when warm dips aren’t as necessary or welcome.

Does beer cheese have alcohol?

If you’re wondering if you can serve this dip to sober folks and kiddos, you can! Most of the alcohol will evaporate with the heat of the cooking process. What’s left is a trace amount of alcohol. No one will get tipsy from enjoying this beer cheese recipe.

However, I do want to mention that kiddos may not love the hoppy taste of beer so this may not be kid-friendly for flavor reasons.

top view of pretzels and beer cheese on a white background

Ingredients for Beer Cheese

You only need a few ingredients to whip up this easy beer cheese dip. Chances are good you already have most of these in your kitchen!

  • unsalted butter
  • minced garlic
  • all-purpose flour
  • whole milk or heavy cream
  • beer
  • dijon mustard
  • sea salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • grated cheddar cheese

You can top it with chives, green onions, chopped parsley or thyme, bacon or anything you like! A few drops of hot sauce will make this into a spicy beer cheese dip.

a bowl of beer cheese dip with two bock beers and a bottle opener and pretzels

Best beer for beer cheese

You can use whatever type of beer you have on hand to make beer cheese, including:

  • Light Beer: Lagers, pilsners, blonde ales and wheat beers are traditionally used in beer cheese and provide a less strong beer flavor.
  • IPAs: India Pale Ales AKA IPAs are technically light beers, but they deserve a their own spot on this list because of their hoppy flavor.
  • Dark Beer: Any darker color beer like stouts or a brown ale will work just fine in this recipe and will give it a deeper flavor.
  • Non-alcoholic beer: You are welcome to use any NA beers you like in this recipe! No problem at all.

In my opinion, the best beer for beer cheese dip is a lager or a pilsner. However, use your favorite beer! If you use a hoppy IPA, you will get some of those flavorful, bitter notes, and if you use stout beers you will get a deeper malty flavor. Have fun!

Best cheese for beer cheese

Cheddar cheese yields a sharp, flavorful dip, but you can use any combination of cheeses. I use sharp cheddar, but you can use a milder cheddar if you prefer less bite.

I recommend buying a block of cheese and grating it yourself with a cheese grater. While convenient, bags of shredded cheese contain preservatives like potato starch and natamycin that keep the cheese from clumping and molding, but a side effect is that it doesn’t melt as beautifully. This is the secret to a really good dip with the creamiest texture.

Here are ideas for cheeses for beer cheese dip:

  • cheddar
  • gruyere
  • swiss
  • mozzarella
  • pepper jack
a closeup of beer cheese on a white background

How to make beer cheese

The steps for making beer cheese dip are rather easy, but they do take attention while you work on the stove. Make sure you prepare every ingredient ahead of time and have it ready to go before firing up the burner.

  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the flour.
  2. Remove the pan from heat, then whisk in 2 tablespoons of the milk until smooth. Whisk in 2 more tablespoons of milk. Add the rest of the milk in three parts, whisking until smooth in between additions.
  3. Stir in the beer, dijon, cayenne and salt. Return the pan to the heat and stir until thick and bubbling, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from it.
  4. Add the cheese a handful at a time, whisking after each addition until melted through and smooth. Add more salt and cayenne to taste. Garnish with a pinch of cayenne and fresh herbs.

If the dip reaches room temperature, you can warm it up on the stove. Store it in an airtight container and reheat it later on the stove if you like!

Serving it in of these bowls with a handle would make it easy for reheating!

What to dip in beer cheese

Soft pretzels are the most common companion for beer cheese dip. Most grocery stores carry pretzel bread, soft pretzel bites and frozen pretzels that can be reheated in the microwave or oven.

You can also try your hand at making your own German pretzels. It’s a complicated process to learn but it’s very worth it!

These everything bagel pretzel bites have been on my list for ages and they would be amazing with beer cheese!

Here are a few other ideas for dippers:

  • Baguette slices
  • Crostini / toasts
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Tortilla chips
  • Potato chips
  • Breadsticks
  • Carrot sticks
  • Celery sticks
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Broccoli
  • Slices of crisp apples
  • Dried apple chips
beer cheese garnished with parsley in a black bowl with pretzels and two beers

More Game Day recipes

To go with this cheesy snack, there are tons of other recipes you can whip up.

To drink, beer will go really well of course! You may also want to whip up a few bottled cocktails (bonus points if they’re in team colors).

I also enjoy serving up Bloody Mary mix and beeritas (AKA beer margaritas) for game days.

Deconstructed nachos are an easy dip you can make with beans and cheese and enjoy with tortilla chips and salsa.

This French onion chip dip is really good with potato chips and veggies. A must-have at tailgates, if you ask me!

Cream cheese ranch roll-ups are a staple at my friend Stephie’s parties and they are always gone before I can get one!

My friend Madison always makes this stovetop sausage dip that I could just eat with a spoon.

These roasted jalapeño poppers my friend Chrissie always makes for her Super Bowl parties are always a hit too.

a closeup of beer cheese on a white background

Beer Cheese Dip

Yield: 6 servings
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Serve this easy, warm beer cheese dip with pretzels, bread and veggies for a delicious shareable appetizer.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup beer (lager, ale or pilsner)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper, plus more for garnish
  • 12 ounced sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the flour.
  2. Remove the pan from heat, then whisk in 2 tablespoons of the milk until smooth. Whisk in 2 more tablespoons of milk. Add the rest of the milk in three parts, whisking until smooth in between additions.
  3. Stir in the beer, dijon, cayenne and salt. Return the pan to the heat and stir until thick and bubbling, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from it.
  4. Add the cheese a handful at a time, whisking after each addition until melted through and smooth. Add more salt and cayenne to taste. Garnish with a pinch of cayenne and chopped parsley.
  5. Serve with soft pretzels, bread, chips or veggies.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1/3 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 307Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 501mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 15g

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