Bread Savory Winter Baking

Beer Cheddar Sauce for Pretzels and Other Carbs

I’ll tell you what, there aren’t many problems that can’t be solved with a hearty bowl of warm cheese sauce.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself lately.  

I made this cheese sauce for a big ol’ pretzel party I held at The Bakehouse a few weeks back.  We went through it.  I can’t be sure some people didn’t double dip but really, could you blame them? 

The pretzels you might recognize from these Sourdough Everything Pretzel.  It’s by go-to recipe but that’s mostly because I try to keep a sourdough starter in my fridge.  If you want to get at some soft pretzel action, here’s another recipe that doesn’t require a starter.  

Whatever you do… cheese sauce.  Mmmmkay, let’s play. 

Ok here’s what you’ll need:

  •  lots of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • butter and flour, for a thickening roux
  • whole milk
  • and beer!  It is beer sauce, afterall.  A light beer will be best, a pilsner. 
  • whole grain mustard and Worcestershire sauce (I always want to spell it Worchestershire and sometimes do)
  • salt and coarse black pepper + chili powder and garlic powder.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter until it spits and crackles just a bit.

Whisk in the flour and cook it down, escaping some of the flour taste.  The mixture will be thick, quick thick. 

To the thick flour and butter, we slowly pour in the milk, whisking ferociously.  

With the milk whisked well, we’ll add the beer.  

It’s frothy and satisfying.  Get it in there. 

Flavor, too!  Mustard first.  

Worcestershire is important for that deep umami flavor.  

Salt and pepper, with the addition of chili powder and garlic for an extra kick.  

This is where the cheese goes to melt and make everything right. 

I dip, you dip, we dip! 

Cheddar Beer Sauce
Serves 6
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
  1. 4 tablespoons butter
  2. 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  3. 1 cup whole milk
  4. 1 1/2 cups beer (something light like a pilsner or amber)
  5. 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  6. 3 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  9. 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  10. 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  11. 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  1. Heat butter in a small sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk together to form a paste and cook for a few seconds to develop a nutty aroma.
  2. Slowly stream in the milk and whisk until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the beer and Worcestershire sauce and whisk until smooth, well incorporated and thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the mustard and season with salt and pepper and spices. Remove from heat and add the cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon until melted and smooth.
  4. Enjoy warm with any carb you want.
  5. To reheat the sauce, stir over low heat, adding an extra splash of milk to thin the sauce.
Joy the Baker