These soft pretzels pair perfectly with a warm, spicy beer cheese made with sharp cheddar. Make sure to drink the rest of your F5 while preparing!
It seems like the entire state of Oklahoma is celebrating! On October 1, a law passed in the 2016 election finally went into effect. We can now have beer and wine in our grocery stores, and cold beer in liquor stores. Liquor stores can also sell 20% of non-alcoholic products, such as limes, wine openers, mixers and more. This will change the whole landscape of grocery stores, and honestly it was long overdue. Lots of retailers are celebrating, especially all of the craft beer breweries in the state, since they will be available in grocery stores all across the state.
As you know, if you have listened to the podcast, COOP Ale Works is a sponsor. They have been supportive of the podcast for a few years now, and I definitely reap the benefits. They are a staple in the Oklahoma Craft Beer Scene, and I love starting off the night with a cold F5 IPA. If you aren’t familiar with COOP, here’s a few of the different varietals they offer.
F5 IPA – This is perhaps the most well known of the COOP Family. Their flagship IPA is one of my absolute favorites! According to their website – A straightforward malt body supports the distinctive bouquet of Columbus and Falconer’s Flight hops that impart citrus, grapefruit and pine notes characteristic of the West Coast style. F5 is a belligerent hop reckoning. You definitely taste the pine in this beer, and it’s one of the reasons why I love it. Nothing better than an F5 and some spicy chicken wings.
HORNY TOAD – Horny Toad is super light, and almost reminds me of a cerveza, like Corona. I usually drink Horny Toad at the pool, or dressed with salt and lime. COOP describes Horny Toad as crisp and clean. “Horny Toad is a premium blonde ale with a hint of Noble hop bitterness to balance the two-row and pilsner malt body. This refreshing libation is a great introduction to craft beer and COOP Ale Works.”
SATURDAY SIREN – Named after the famed tornado siren that is tested every Saturday at Noon, Saturday Siren is the best beer to day drink with. High enough alcohol content that you feel buzzed, but light enough to keep the party going all day. Here’s what COOP has to say about it – Inspired by weekly siren tests, Saturday Siren is a crisp and refreshing pilsner built for sunny days. Dry hop additions of Idaho 007 and Comet bring new world flavor to this old world style. The lake, the pool and the grill are calling, so pack the cooler and get outside.
ALPHA HIVE – This beer is probably my favorite COOP creation. I discovered it right when I was getting into craft beer, and it always has a really special place in my heart. The first iteration of this beer was 10% alcohol, which seems kind of insane, but I was totally into it. It’s a double IPA with orange blossom and honey, and it’s awesome. This Double IPA is infused with a fierce American hop profile and a delicate, bee-crafted orange blossom honey from Northern California. A sting of dankness, floral notes and many a compelling nuance make this spring seasonal delicious. This is no time to buzz off.
Since I had some extra COOP beer lying around, I decided to cook something with it, and that’s where the beer cheese and soft pretzels came in. I mean, what is better than that? Soft pretzels dipped in cheese are my ultimate favorite food group, and when you include an F5, I’m basically sent over the edge.
The pretzels were really fun and easy to make, using a Trader Joes’s hack, which is the premade pizza dough! I just seperated the 1 lb dough loaf into four sections, and rolled out the dough and formed them into pretzel shapes! A quick dip in a boiling baking soda bath, and some butter and salt, and then I popped them in the oven for about 20 minutes. Voila, Auntie Anne’s style soft pretzels in the comfort of my own home. I used the original flavor, but I think making garlic and herb pretzels is also a very good idea.
The beer cheese requires one very hard to find ingredient, but if you ever come into contact with Able from Savory Spice Shop on Western, he can get you a baggie full if you ever need it. He dropped some off at my work about two years ago and I’ve barely used any of it. That’s sodium citrate, and it’s what we use to make the cheese all melty and smooth, and not at all grainy. I tested this recipe in the traditional sense, and it really didn’t track.
So without further adieu, here’s the recipe! Let me know if you try it in the comments, and ALSO leave your favorite place to purchase a soft pretzel! (mine’s a tie between Auntie Anne’s and Sam’s Club)