At Hall’s on the River in Clark County, customers are clamoring for the beer cheese.
Located on the Kentucky River, near the site of the former Allman’s restaurant — where tradition has it beer cheese was served for the first time — beer cheese has long been a staple on the Hall’s menu.
Now, with the newly minted Beer Cheese Trail, the Clark County delicacy has proven more popular than ever, according to manager Ryan Curry.
“There’s a lot of curiosity about it,” Curry said.
The Beer Cheese Trail became official Oct. 25, thanks to the work of Nancy Turner, Winchester-Clark County’s tourism director, and her staff. Turner was familiar with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which encourages tourists to visit bourbon distilleries throughout the state. Kentucky Bourbon Trail Passports are available at all eight distilleries on the tour, and if stamps are collected at each site, visitors can receive a free shirt.
Clark County’s Beer Cheese Trail functions largely the same — visit one of five restaurants with an original beer-cheese recipe; sample the cheese, either as an appetizer or part of a main dish; and receive a stamp on a Beer Cheese Log. After a log is stamped at all Trail restaurants, it can be returned to Winchester-Clark County Tourism for a shirt.
“All five of these beer cheeses are really good, and they’re different. If you’re not from here, you get a good idea of what beer cheese is,” Turner said.
At JK’s at Forest Grove, Greg Keller said the Beer Cheese Trail opening coincided perfectly with the addition of beer cheese to his restaurant’s menu. Keller and his wife, Alice, operated JK’s Cafe on Main Street in Winchester, Ky., for several years before opening JK’s at Forest Grove in the Boonesboro area of Clark County in October 2012. After the move, Keller said they wanted to offer some new items on the menu and began trying various beer-cheese recipes.
Eventually, an employee shared an old family recipe with a secret ingredient, something Keller said, “no one would ever think to put in beer cheese.”
Thanks to the Beer Cheese Trail, and new beer-cheese burgers, Keller said he has been able to promote the new restaurant and its offerings better.