There’s nothing better than warm beer cheese dip during the frigid Michigan winter.
This thick and tasty dip is not only a lovely way to warm up your beer guzzlin’ belly, but it’s a staple at just about every brewery in town. Founders serves it as a dip with warm pretzel sticks worthy of cuddles. HopCat smears theirs on a sandwich (appropriately named The Grand Royale). B.O.B’s Brewery straight up serves their dip as a soup. I’m waiting for the milkshake version, any breweries interested in a new menu item?
In Grand Rapids Magazine’s April edition, Grand Rapids Brewing Company shared a recipe for their Beer Fondue. Le yum. I made the recipe as soon as I got my paws on a copy of it.
I have to say, their fondue version rocks, but it’s velvety and luscious quality makes me feel a tad glutinous about spooning it down my gullet, even if a celery stick vehicle is involved.
The magic, I found, occurred with the leftovers. My daily life doesn’t exactly call for regular beer cheese dip celebrations, but my boring brown-bagged lunches sure did. I quickly decided to use up my leftover fondue in the form of a sandwich spread. Eureka!
There’s something about the spice and the creaminess of this spread that works wonders on a slice of whole wheat bread. Unlike other condiments, it doesn’t sink into bread and turn your sandwich into a soggy mess. It stands up strong enough to act like a filler. The slight twinge of spice and flavor can spice up an ordinary ham sandwich or hit a swanky sandwich out of the taste bud park.
If you are hosting a holiday event this year, I highly suggest doubling this batch and saving half of it for your standby bologna and cheese lunches. If you’re a little behind on your holiday shopping, consider packing this creamy goodness into little jars for family and friends. I promise it will warm bellies and remind everyone just how tasty Grand Rapids is.
Beer Cheese Sandwich Spread
Inspired by Grand Rapids Brewing Company’s beer fondue recipe
- ½ cup grated white onion
- ¼ tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ cup milk
- ½ cup beer
- ¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (yellow or white)
- Melt butter in a medium pot.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat.
- Add the flour and whisk for an additional 2 minutes. Keep an eye on the pot and heat level to avoid burning.
- Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer. Stir in the beer, seasonings and cheeses.
- Turn the heat to low and simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes, letting the sauce thicken. Stir often.
Spread will continue to thicken as it cools. Keep this in an airtight container in the fridge and generously smear on sandwiches throughout the holiday season and beyond.
Dana Blinder, Contributing Writer