Cheddar Ale Spread

Brown Eyed Baker gets the party started with this summertime spread featuring a splash of Duquesne Pilsner.

Photos by Michelle Norris

There is so much to love about summer. Grilling … swimming … baseball… fireworks … cornhole … bonfires … s’mores … the list goes on and on. Along with the fun comes tons of great summer eats. From the pies and cobblers to hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salads, fruit salads and everything in between, there is no shortage of good food to be had once the weather warms up. When the heat skyrockets, the key is whipping up delicious dishes without turning on the oven.

Regardless of the season, easy dips and appetizers are one of my favorite types of foods. If it were up to me, I would petition the FDA to make them a food group! Things that are both easy to throw together and easy to eat are perfect warm-weather fare. You don’t need to fire up the oven, and the food can easily be eaten outside, standing around, or while playing a game in the yard.

This cheddar ale spread is one of my very favorite summertime party foods. There are a limited number of ingredients, you can mix it together in less than 10 minutes, and you can serve it alongside virtually any dipping vehicle you’d like – chips, pretzels, veggies, crackers.

You name it, and it’ll work. It’s also a great way to use up some sprigs of fresh parsley you might have growing out back!

The spread calls for a small amount of beer – feel free to use whatever you have on hand and love to drink. I’d stay away from fruit-flavored beers here, but anything else is fair game. I strive to buy and use as much local product as possible, so for this dip I used Duquesne Pilsner, which is one of my favorite local brews.

Cheers to summer!

 Cheddar Ale Spread

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 10 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2½ cups shredded)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup beer
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Combine the cream cheese, mustard, cheddar cheese, cream, jalapeno and salt in a food processor. Process for 30 seconds, add the beer and continue processing until very smooth. Add the parsley and pulse 2 or 3 times, until just dispersed.

2. Serve with your favorite crackers, pretzels or vegetables. The spread can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you want it to have a soft dip-like consistency, remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving. When served straight from the refrigerator, it has a cheese ball-type consistency.

Note: This spread is not spicy, but it does have a bite. You can substitute a dash or two of hot sauce for the jalapeno, or omit it altogether if you are sensitive to heat.