Pub Cheese vs. Beer Cheese

Pub cheese and beer cheese are two delicious cheesy dips that are popular snacks to enjoy with pretzels, chips, and veggies.

Pub Cheese vs. Beer Cheese

But what exactly is the difference between pub cheese and beer cheese? Are they the same thing or are there some key differences?

What is Pub Cheese?

Pub cheese is a smooth, spreadable cheese dip or spread that is a popular appetizer to enjoy at bars, tailgates, and parties. It typically contains a blend of cheeses like cheddar, gouda, cream cheese, and/or processed cheeses. The cheeses are mixed together along with seasonings like Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, etc. to add lots of flavor.

Pub cheese can be served cold, right out of the refrigerator, or it can be gently warmed to create a smooth, creamy cheese dip perfect for dunking. It has a bold, tangy flavor from the cheese and spicy seasonings. The cream cheese helps give it a rich, spreadable texture.

Some pub cheese recipes do incorporate beer as an ingredient, while others do not include it. So while beer can be used to make pub cheese, it is not a requirement for a spread to be called "pub cheese." The key factors are the blend of cheeses and the spreadable texture.

What is Beer Cheese?

Beer cheese is similar to pub cheese but always contains beer as a key ingredient. To make beer cheese, the cheeses (usually a blend of cheddar, gouda, and cream cheese) are combined with a flattened or flat beer and seasonings. The beer adds a tangy flavor and helps create a smooth consistency.

Beer cheese can be served warm as a dippable cheese sauce or cold in a spreadable form. It provides the signature taste of both cheese and beer in one appetizer. Unlike pub cheese, if a spread does not contain beer as an ingredient, it cannot be called "beer cheese." The beer is what distinguishes it from other pub cheese spreads.

Main Differences Between Pub Cheese and Beer Cheese

While pub cheese and beer cheese are very similar in many ways, here are some of the key differences between the two:

  • Beer - Beer cheese always contains beer while pub cheese may or may not include beer.
  • Flavor - Beer cheese will have a more prominent beer flavor since beer is a core ingredient. Pub cheese focuses more on cheesy, tangy flavor.
  • Texture - Beer cheese made with melted cheeses will be a bit thinner and more dippable. Cold pub cheese tends to be thicker.
  • Color - Beer cheese usually has a bright orange color from cheddar and beer ingredients. Pub cheese varies in color depending on cheese blend.
  • Usage - Pub cheese is more often used as a spread while beer cheese is primarily a warm dip, but both can be used for dipping or spreading.

While quite similar and sometimes used interchangeably, beer cheese has a more beer-forward taste and always contains beer, while pub cheese is known for a tangier cheese flavor and may or may not be made with beer. But both make for delicious appetizers!

Popular Cheeses Used in Pub Cheese and Beer Cheese

The base of both pub cheese and beer cheese starts with a blend of cheeses. Here are some of the most popular cheeses used:

  • Cheddar - Sharp cheddar provides a bold, tangy cheese flavor. Cheddar melts smoothly.
  • Gouda - Gouda has a mild, nutty flavor. Smoked gouda can add a smoky aroma.
  • Cream cheese - Cream cheese helps create a rich, spreadable texture.
  • Monterey Jack - Monterey Jack has a mild flavor and melts well.
  • Processed cheese - Processed cheese like Velveeta provides creamy texture and smooth melting.
  • Gruyere - Gruyere is a Swiss cheese with a fruity, earthy flavor.
  • Provolone - Provolone has a mild, milky taste that pairs well with bold beers.

The options are endless when making your own pub cheese or beer cheese at home! Mix and match different cheese varieties to create your own unique blend.

Flavorings and Seasonings

In addition to the cheeses, an assortment of seasonings and mix-ins help add lots of flavor to pub and beer cheese. Some popular additions include:

  • Beer - For beer cheese, go for a nutty ale, fruity wheat beer, or bitter IPA depending on preference.
  • Worcestershire sauce - Adds depth of flavor and savory umami taste.
  • Hot sauce - Sriracha, Tabasco, etc. bring heat and smoky flavor.
  • Mustard - Yellow mustard or Dijon mustard contributes tang.
  • Garlic powder - Garlic powder provides a savory, aromatic quality.
  • Onion powder - Onion enhances flavor.
  • Paprika - Sweet or smoked paprika lend a subtle red pepper flavor.
  • Cayenne pepper - Cayenne pepper brings mild or spicy heat.
  • Herbs - Chives, parsley, dill, etc. provide fresh flavor.

Getting creative with different seasonings is half the fun of making pub and beer cheeses! Adjust them to your preferences.

How to Use Pub Cheese and Beer Cheese

There are so many great ways to enjoy both pub cheese and beer cheese:

  • Serve as a dip with pretzels, pita chips, tortilla chips, potato chips or veggie sticks for dunking.
  • Spread on crackers or baguette slices as an appetizer.
  • Use as a topping on burgers or sandwiches for flavor.
  • Stir into mac and cheese or potato dishes.
  • Warm up and drizzle over french friestater tots or nachos.
  • Swirl into cooked pasta dishes for creaminess.
  • Top baked potatoes or mix into mashed potatoes.
  • Mix into beer bread or soft pretzel dough for cheesy flavor.
  • Use in place of regular cheese on omeletsbreakfast sandwiches or quiche.

The possibilities are endless! Pub cheese and beer cheese make flavorful additions to so many dishes.

How to Make Pub Cheese at Home

Making homemade pub cheese is simple with just a few ingredients. Here is an easy pub cheese recipe to try:

How To Make Pub Cheese At Home - Recipe


  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup beer (optional)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a food processor, combine shredded cheddar cheese, cream cheese, beer (if using), Worcestershire, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.
  • Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Transfer pub cheese to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to meld.
  • Serve chilled or let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften before serving.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Be sure to use block style cheddar and freshly shred it rather than pre-shredded cheese for the best consistency. Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your taste!

How to Make Beer Cheese at Home

To make easy homemade beer cheese, simply follow this recipe:

How To Make Beer Cheese At Home - Recipe


  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup beer, allowed to flatten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a food processor, combine shredded cheddar, cream cheese, flattened beer, garlic, Worcestershire, mustard, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
  • Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.
  • Transfer beer cheese to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
  • To serve warm, transfer to a saucepan and heat over medium-low, stirring frequently, until warmed through but not boiling.
  • Store leftover beer cheese in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

The possibilities are endless when making your own beer cheese! Swap out the beer for an IPA, use smoked gouda, add hot sauce - customize it to your tastes.

Table Comparing Pub Cheese and Beer Cheese

Pub CheeseBeer Cheese
Contains BeerSometimesAlways
TextureThick, spreadableSmooth, dippable
FlavorTangy cheeseProminent beer taste
ColorVariesDeep orange
UsageSpreadWarm dip or spread


Can you freeze pub cheese or beer cheese?

Yes, both pub cheese and beer cheese can be frozen for longer term storage. Allow them to thaw in the refrigerator before using. The texture may become a bit grainier after freezing.

Do you need special cheeses to make it?

No, you can use common cheeses like cheddar, gouda and cream cheese. For best consistency, use block cheeses instead of pre-shredded.

Can you make it without beer?

Absolutely! For pub cheese, beer is optional. For beer cheese, substitute in chicken or vegetable broth instead of beer.

Can you use light beer or non-alcoholic beer?

Yes, light or non-alcoholic beer works well too. The flavor may be a bit lighter.

How long does homemade pub cheese or beer cheese last?

Store homemade pub cheese and beer cheese in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Firmer cheeses like cheddar will last longer than soft cream cheese.

Can you freeze beer cheese or pub cheese dip?

Frozen pub cheese or beer cheese dip may separate a bit after thawing but will still taste great. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator before reheating gently.


Pub cheese and beer cheese are two of the best snacks around thanks to their creamy textures and bold, cheesy flavors.

While pub cheese focuses more on tangy cheese taste and beer cheese spotlights the beer flavor, they can both be served melted as dips or chilled as spreads. Plus, both are easy to whip up at home with basic ingredients.

Trying out different cheese blends and seasonings is part of the fun. You can make pub cheese or beer cheese as mild or spicy as you prefer.

Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀
Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀

I'm a total cheese fanatic! When I'm not busy studying to be a cheesemaker, you can find me scouring local farmers markets and specialty shops for new and exciting cheeses to try. Brie is my all-time fave, but I also love exploring aged goudas, funky blues, and rich creamy camemberts. Looking forward to sharing lots of melty, gooey cheese pics and reviews!