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The History of Beer Cheese
"Snappy Cheese" is what Kentucky refers to as Beer Cheese—made initially near the confluence of the Kentucky River and Howard's Creek, now known as Lower Howard's Creek, in Clark County, Kentucky, over 85 years ago. It is indigenous to the Central Kentucky area called Boonesborough. Made by the head Chef of Turf Catering, Joe Allman, in the late 1930s for his cousin Johnny Allman to give to his patrons at his restaurant on the Kentucky River. Patrons sat at the bar or table and were greeted at The Driftwood Inn or later at Allman's on the River; then just Johnny Allman's with a small plate of "Snappy Beer Cheese" served with carrots, radishes, celery, and crackers. The waiter/waitress would take their drink order. The sharp cheddar cheese with a cayenne finish created thirst. So by the time the drinks came, the patrons typically ordered a pitcher of what they were drinking. Drinks have the most profit margin for restaurants, much like today.
After Johnny Allman's restaurant burned down for the third time, it was never rebuilt. By then, a restaurant across the road that faces the Kentucky River, called Hall's on the River and sits on Howard's Creek, had made their version of Beer Cheese. The tradition continued for a while. In the 1980s, Hall's family sold their recipe and the rights to their name to J. Peterman. He, in turn, sold the recipe and all rights to a company in Louisville, Kentucky. That company put Hall's on the River Beer Cheese on the retail market but used a completely different recipe under the label; for 25 years, it was sold throughout Kentucky in Kroger. That Louisville company went out of business in December 2011.
People who knew what Real Beer Cheese tasted like knew this was not Hall's original recipe. Those that had worked at Allman's and Hall's had been around the beer cheese-making process, and as a result, several companies around the Central Kentucky Area now make and distribute their versions of Beer Cheese.
The original beer cheese recipes' heritage was preserved, protected and passed down through our family who has kept it alive for decades. The Authentic Beer Cheese is now under the name Howard's Creek Authentic Beer Cheese. Since its come back in 2006, it has remained a winner of awards throughout Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, North and South Carolina.
There is a difference in many of the beer cheeses on the market today.
Variations can consist of processed cheese and cream cheese mixed with various ingredients, including Worcestershire Sauce, Mustard Powder, and Anchovies, which is not in the Authentic "Snappy Cheese."
Howard's Creek Authentic Beer Cheese consists of REAL Dairy ingredients, beer, spices, and garlic. It does not have a strong beer influence. Its creamy, spicy taste peaks out in heat and flavor after a few days and has only ONE heat. It's not too mild; it's not too hot; it's just right. We make beer cheese in small batches on purpose. It's an Artisan cheese, Kentucky Proud, Certified by the REAL Seal Dairy Association, and Lab Tested R5< 5PPM Gluten Free. Anything else is NOT Authentic Beer Cheese.
In January 2020, we brought out our BOLD flavor, a sharper cheddar cheese. The spice blend is the same, but because the cheese is more robust, the taste is spice-forward with a sharper cheese flavor ending.