Plenty of breweries have beer cheese on the menu, but Ciclops Cyderi & Brewery is nationally recognized.
The downtown Spartanburg brewery (197 E. St. John St.) won first place for its beer cheese creation, Mad Man Pizza at J.T.M. Food Group’s Beer Cheese Throwdown during the National Restaurant Association Show in May. The Ciclops crew will celebrate its win later this month.
“Really, it was just us having fun with it. We used our Dead Men TNT beer in it. It has a ton of peppers in it and it’s a chocolate pepper stout. So it already had a good bit of spice in the beer itself and we wanted to incorporate that into not only the beer cheese but the food special as well,” said Pub Manager Holden McGinnis.
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The Mad Man Pizza is a flatbread pizza topped with grilled chicken, cherry peppers, bacon, and a scotch bonnet pepper ranch drizzle. Ciclops Beer Cheese, made with the brewery’s Dead Men Tell No Tales Chocolate Pepper Stout, is used for the pizza’s sauce.
“We incorporated every pepper that was in the beer into the food special in some way,” McGinnis said. “So whether it be just as spices or as physical peppers on the pizza, they were all incorporated in a different way so you can fully get the aspect of the beer through every bite.”
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The brewery’s beer cheese recipe beat out more than 50 other restaurants with their recipes.
In addition to a trophy and bragging rights, the brewery also received a Traeger Grill Pro Series 780, which is a grill and smoker combo. The brewery also received a consulting visit from J.T.M. Food Group’s head chef, full-page advertisements in Brewers Magazine and The New Brewer spotlighting their Dead Men Tell No Tales stout.
“We’ll be able to make plenty of this beer cheese. There won’t be any kind of shortage,” McGinnis said.
The brewery also received a number of other food prizes from the companies judging the competition, which they plan to use in new recipes including cases of salsa and applewood bacon.
The Ciclops Beer Cheese is a staple on the brewery menu, available with soft pretzels for dipping. You can also try it on the Spicy Avocado Taco Nachos or on one of the restaurant’s flatbread pizzas. The Mad Man Pizza isn’t a regular menu item yet.
The brewery will celebrate its big win with an exclusive Mad Man Pizza party on June 27. Only members of Ciclops’ Mug Club can attend.
Samantha Swann covers food and restaurants in Spartanburg County. She is a University of South Carolina Upstate and Greenville Technical College alumna. Contact her with your burning restaurant questions, recipes, and new dinner specials at [email protected] or on Instagram at @sameatsspartanburg.