Aahhhh… the smells of football. No, I’m not talking about fresh cut grass, old worn football leather, or the smell of dozens of sweaty, musky, stinky men in a locker room after they “crushed the competition” or “got their
%$@#es butts handed to them. (I’m definitely not talking about those smells!) I’m talking about the smells that make football season come to life. Right in your own home. The smells that make the men (and women) in the house perk up. The smells that pull people out of the last days of summer ho-hum-ness. The smells that say football season is finally here!
There are two distinct aromas that start making an appearance in our house around the beginning of football season. Beer brewing and soft pretzels baking. Our family likes beer (and wine, and Bloody Marys, etc. etc.), particularly craft beer. So a few years ago, they guys decided to try their hand at the beer making craft. And boy is it a process… but they have a ton of fun doing it, and it’s become somewhat of a tradition. It looks like a science experiment. There are beakers, funnels, cheesecloth, and tubes of yeast that need to be refrigerated (except when they don’t). Honestly, I don’t get it. Hand me a long neck and a bottle opener and I’m a happy camper. But the guys really enjoy getting into it. It’s a several hour process. Perfect for that Sunday double header. They boil, they stir, they strain, they cool. And the smells are amazing. The mixture of yeast, barley, oranges, honey, and spices waft out of the pot and permeate every room in the house. It’s wonderful. It’s a great bonding experience.
Having all this beer around means one thing – you’ve gotta have something to soak it all up! Enter the homemade soft pretzel. We’ve all had them… those warm, hot out of the oven, chewy, salty, soft pretzels. But who wants to go to the mall to get them? So I figured, I’d give it a shot. It turns out that they’re actually not all that difficult to make, and the end result is fantastic! Pair them up with your favorite dipping condiment – honey mustard, PB&J, cheese spread, garlic cream cheese – and you’ve got it made! It’s the perfect beer accompaniment! Easy to eat while sitting on the couch watching that double header. Just salty enough to ensure you need a refill of that beer. And the soft, chewy, fluffiness will soak up as much beer as needed!
So while the barley, yeast, and whatever else is in that massive beer pot are simmering and the football game is blaring, whip up a batch of these tender, soft on the inside but crunchy on the outside, salty, flavorful homemade soft pretzels and pop ’em in the oven. Can’t you just smell it now? Comment below to let me know your favorite dipping sauce? I’m always looking for new and interesting sauces!