Prep / 15 minutes Chill :2 hours
1 (2-lb.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (12-oz.) bottle amber beer, at room temperature
**Salt and pepper to taste**
**Garnish: thyme sprig**
1. Beat together first 5 ingredients at low speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until blended. Gradually add beer, beating until blended after each addition. Beat at medium-high speed 1 minute or until blended and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill 2 hours. Garnish, if desired. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
I used Abita Amber Beer. This spread can be frozen up to 1 month; thaw overnight in refrigerator.
Grilled Beer-Cheese Sandwich: Spread 1 tsp. softened butter evenly on 1 side of 2 bread slices. Place bread slices, buttered sides down, on wax paper. Spread 1/4 cup Beer-Cheese Spread onto 1 side of 1 bread slice. Top with remaining bread slice, buttered side up. Cook sandwich in a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cheese is melted.
Serve this spicy beer-cheese spread with crackers for a tasty appetizer, or spread on buttered bread and cook in a nonstick skillet for a twist on the traditional grilled cheese sandwich.