Super Bowl Party Smarts

Party-Gyle by | Jan 2012 | Issue #60

The dust has settled for the holiday season, but fear not—the biggest event for eating and drinking (on the living room couch) is just around the corner.

It almost sounds like an oxymoron to offer Super Bowl party-hosting tips: Just stock a lot of beer in the fridge, put out chips and maybe some dip, right? But lining your home with popcorn and cheese curls just doesn’t cut it with better beers in said storage. That is, your beer (if you took my advice and homebrewed over the holidays), and an arsenal of winter’s dark and cloudy ales.

Fortunately, there are a lot of crisp, greasy snacks that pair very well with winter beers. And suppose you don’t go for dark ales at all—most of the usual suspects on the basic bar menu are designed to go with lighter, bubblier beer. The following favorite appetizers are easy and don’t require much running back and forth to the kitchen, so you don’t miss a touchdown while you’re fussing with food. And since you’re at home, and not at the mercy of the mediocre bar, you add your own signature to the expected snacks. Here are a few ways to spruce them up, and some pairing suggestions to boot.

Potato Skins with Cheddar & Bacon
Freshen up this dull dish with lots of herbs, like tarragon, thyme or rosemary along with the usual chives.
Pair with: A Brown Ale, like Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, or a Porter.

Slather them with some serious whole-grain mustard and make your own mini pretzel rolls.
Pair with: A Black IPA or a bock, such as Saranac Black Diamond Bock.

Nachos Supreme
Skip this dish altogether and make chilaquiles, a crushed tortilla casserole smothered with tomatillo sauce and cheese.
Pair with: A Pale Ale or Amber—try New Belgium’s Fat Tire Amber Ale.

Buffalo Wings
Add a dash of chipotle to the sauce for a smokin’ good kick.
Pair with: A smoked ale or a smoky, chocolaty Stout, like Rogue’s Chocolate Stout.

Stuffed Mushrooms
Try goat cheese and dried cranberries in the stuffing, and remember to season the mushrooms all over first.
Pair with: A Hefeweizen or wheat beer, like Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier.

Mac & Cheese
Use Porter to make a savory beer cheese sauce to bake the casserole with.
Pair with: A Porter or Stout, such as Anchor Porter by Anchor Brewing Co.

Artichoke Dip
Make it stand out with red chili flakes, extra garlic and lemon zest.
Pair with: A hoppy Pilsner, like Victory Prima Pils.

Super Bowl Party-Hosting Smarts

• Go with growlers instead of individual bottles or cans of beer. These will pile up in the recycling bin fast, and you don’t want to miss a great commercial while you’re dragging out the trash.

• It’s too early to say which teams will be playing, but you can tailor your party to your favorite one. Or better yet, make voodoo dolls of players of the enemy team to stab with toothpicks at opportune moments. These could even be cookies. Just don’t take that as an invitation to stab your party guest wearing the jersey of the other team.