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The Beer Cheese Book

by Garin Pirnia

Not Yet Publishedcloth$24.95 978-0-8131-7466-2
Availableweb pdf$24.95 978-0-8131-7467-9
Not Yet Publishedepub$24.95 978-0-8131-7468-6
216 pages  Pubdate:   6.5 x 6.5  16 b/w photos

The ingredients are simple—beer, cheese, and spices—and the result is delicious. Still, beer cheese is a rarefied dish not common in cookbooks or on menus. Since the 1940s, this creamy appetizer with a kick, traditionally served with pretzels, has quietly found its way into pubs and restaurants throughout the South and Midwest. The original recipe is cloaked in a mystery nearly as deep as the JFK assassination. Ask most makers and they’ll act demure about the contents of their dip. Some refuse to disclose what kind of beer or cheese they use or which extra spices they add. Others keep their preparation instructions secret.

Garin Pirnia traces the history of beer cheese from its beginnings at the Driftwood Inn in Winchester, Kentucky, to today, situating it alongside other dishes such as the German cheese spread obatzda, queso dip, and pimento cheese. She surveys the restaurants that serve this distinctive dip, highlights points of interest along the Beer Cheese Trail, and includes dozens of recipes, from the classic original, to new twists like Pawpaw Beer Cheese, to dishes that incorporate the spread, such as Crab Broccoli, Beer Cheese Casserole, and Beer Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits.

Packed full of interviews with restauranteurs who serve it, artisans who process it, and even home cooks who enter their special (and secret) recipes in contests, The Beer Cheese Book will entertain and educate, all while making your mouth water. Fortunately, it will also teach you how to whip up your own batch.

Garin Pirnia has written about food and arts culture for more than ten years in various local and national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Cincinnati Enquirer, and Paste magazine.

Get some pretzel rods and mix up a batch of beer cheese using the recipes in this book; then sit down and savor Pirnia’s good-humored voice as she embarks on a gonzo-style road trip through beer cheese country, sampling the often garlicky, spicy spreads and interviewing the folks who make and serve it at pubs, restaurants, and festivals. -- Wes Berry, aka the Hungry Professor, author of The Kentucky Barbecue Book

Pirnia’s book provides a historical and modern look at a unique central Kentucky food. Any book that gives a nod to what I like to call the ‘micro-cuisine’ of Kentucky makes the food of our state shine even more. -- Maggie Green, author of The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook and Tasting Kentucky: Favorite Recipes from the Bluegrass State