It started with two words: Beer. Cheese.

And suddenly we’re knee deep in dips.

Not long ago, a woman on the Lewiston Rocks Facebook page raved about the beer cheese dip at Poirier’s Market, which immediately made Bag Lady’s ears perk up. The kids — OK, the seem-like-they’re-22-but-are-actually-38-year-olds — on Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules” eat beer cheese dip all the time! They sing its praises, drunkenly write songs about it and hold boomboxes outside windows for this elusive beer cheese.

We had to try it. That very quickly turned into We Have To Try Everything.

So just in time for Sunday’s Super Bowl, we’ve taste-tested six funky, never-tried-them-before dips, judging their worthiness to earn a coveted spot at your game day spread. We rated them on a scale of one to five footballs, with five being a total touchdown.

We used Santitas tortilla chips as our neutral dipping agent, but feel free to go wild with carrot sticks, pretzels or homemade pita bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with hand-dried basil.

Or, you know, just grab a spoon.

Beer cheese dip, Poirier’s Market, 75 cents for a single-serving cup

A vibrant orange color for a deceptively mild cheddar. We could see flecks of spice but couldn’t taste it. (We also couldn’t taste the titular beer, just as an FYI.)

Rating: One of several dips we split on. Bag Lady gave it a 2.5 and liked it better cold, Shopping Siren awarded a 3.5 and preferred it hot.

Who will eat this at your party? Pretty much everyone. It’s an inoffensive little cup of cheese. This is a low-risk dip that you can set out without fear of hearing “Ew,” “Yuck,” or “Shoot, my apartment is flooding and I now have to go.” So there’s that.

Arriba! Bacon Salsa Queso, 16 oz., Shaw’s, $4.99

It looks like chili and has an aftertaste like . . . hot dog? It’s funky and very bacon-y and gets a point for the sheer novelty factor.

Rating: 1.5 from BL, 2.5 from SS (who actually preferred dipping her chip in this and the beer cheese TOGETHER. It’s either sacrilege or genius. Hard to say.)

Who will eat this at your party? Bacon fans. Queso fans. People who are intrigued by rather than grossed out by novelty food-like items. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it wasn’t great, either. You’ll probably have a lot left over, so be prepared to send the half-full jar home with your one guest who yelled “Bacon!” every time he went for a dip. You already know who that’s going to be.

Kite Hill almond milk French onion dairy-free dip, 8 oz., Axis Natural Foods, $4.49

Score!

A bit smoother and richer than the average French onion dip, this was a total delight. We think it would have tasted even better with potato chips instead of our tortilla chips, but that’s a quibble. (And also not the fault of the dip.)

Rating: Firm 5 all around.

Who will eat this at your party? Absolutely everyone, including the lactose-intolerant among us, so extra points to you for being an accommodating party host. Dairy-free for the win!

President Aged White Cheddar with Apple Chutney Spreadable Cheese, 7 oz., Shaw’s, $5.99

Talk about a fumble.

Rating: Zero. The apple had no taste to it while the cheddar tasted like. . . bad things. If we could rate it a negative number of footballs, we would.

Who will eat this at your party? Very few people. It looks amazing, so everyone will try it once. No one will try it a second time. That said, one newsroom snacker rated this among their favorites. We were floored! Flabbergasted! So maybe it’s just us?

Spoiler: It’s not just us.

Seal Cove Farm Maine Chevre Garlic and Pepper, 4.5 oz., Axis, $6.49

First, shout out to Seal Cove Farm in Lamoine! Local farms are amazing and we love that Seal Cove shares photos of their happy herd online. This is a cheese ball, so not so much a dip as a spread, but we were so excited (Maine! Farm! Goats!) that we had to try it.

We were also so excited that we dove in with gusto, wrangling great gobs filled with whole peppercorns onto our chips to our immediate regret. Turns out we’re not whole-peppercorn-eating-people (the burn!), but we are soothing, only-cheese-eating people. We live, we learn, we expense, and we pass on that knowledge to you.

Rating: 2 from BL, 1 from SS.

Who will eat this at your party? Like the white cheddar and apple chutney spread above, we want to say it’s an acquired taste. The same snacker who loved that one also loved this one, so maybe you just need to fill your Super Bowl party with people like him. Or just him. His name is Carl. We can hook you up.

Tribe Dark Chocolate Hummus, 8 oz., Shaw’s, $2.99 

Chocolate. Hummus.

No, really, stay with us here.

Rating: Seriously, 5. From both of us. It’s weird, we know, but this stuff is actually good! Tasted like a rich chocolate spread with a super smooth texture and no chickpea undertones. We don’t know what magic the good people at Tribe have employed, but keep it up, Tribe people, keep it up.

Who will eat this at your party? Everyone, especially if you dump the tortillas and instead set out some fruit, maybe a nice shortbread cookie, possibly a baguette. Or a spoon. Then send your guests home because you’re going to want to eat all of this by yourself while rooting for the 49ers. Or Kansas City. Or just watching the commercials.

Sit back, crack open a beer (cheese) and enjoy.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who declared war on the vacuum after it ate their favorite toy this week) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].


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