Sample a variety of culinary creations in Clark County, Kentucky, the birthplace of beer cheese.
In the 1930s, cousins Joe Allman and Tim Allman whipped up a concoction that would make their customers thirsty enough to drink (and spend) more. The cousins dubbed it beer cheese and served it in souffle cups with saltine crackers, radishes and celery at the Driftwood Inn, today the site of Hall’s on the River, the Winchester, Kentucky, location that is considered the birthplace of beer cheese.
According to Julie Staton — Miss Julie to her regulars at Pilot View Mini Mart, a grocery/diner that was once a frontier stagecoach stop — whipping up this ooey-gooey taste bud tantalizer is not simply about popping open a cold beer and pouring it into melted cheese.
“It’s in the wrist, and how you mix,” she says. “That’s my magic.”
Today, cheese fans can sample this Kentucky delicacy at 13 restaurants along Winchester’s Beer Cheese Trail. Each spot features its own spin on beer cheese, from Miss Julie’s steak-and-beer-cheese omelet to the Beech Springs Farm Market’s fluffy beer-cheese biscuits served with gourmet jellies or preserves.
Try shrimp-and-beer-cheese grits topped with candied bacon crumbs at Loma’s at the Opera House. A beer-cheese quesadilla tempts diners at Woody’s Sports Bar & Grill, and beer cheese pairs with pretzels at Abettor Brewing Co. The Engine House Deli reinterprets Kentucky’s beloved turkey-and-toast-point sensation swimming in a cheese bath as the Beer Cheese Hot Brown Pizza, while Hall’s on the River elevates the humble burger with its secret-recipe beer cheese combined with banana peppers to create the beer cheeseburger.
Order beer-cheese creations at seven locations to earn a Beer Cheese T-shirt. Pick up an official Cheese Log at participating restaurants or from the Winchester-Clark County visitor center on Main Street. 61 S. Main St., Winchester, Kentucky 40391, 859/744-0556, visitwinchesterky.com