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.