Bowl over your Super Bowl party guests with chili, deviled eggs and bourbon punch
The clock is running out on football season, but there’s one more excuse to drink beer and eat chips and onion dip and guacamole.
This Sunday, the 49ers will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami to decide the champion of the NFL’s 54th Super Bowl and 100th season.
Here in Sonoma County, we’ve got plenty of good craft beer worthy of the occasion. After all, it’s been a long stretch since the Niners last played in a Super Bowl in 2013, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
One of the newest craft breweries on the block is Santa Rosa’s Steele & Hops, which recently hired an experienced brewmaster to launch a full-scale on-site brewery operation. The family-owned restaurant and
bar, which opened its doors in July 2016, started brewing up IPAs and stouts in mid-September. Of the dozen beers made so far, five have sold out.
“The beer is only available on-site. It’s ‘beer for here,’?” said Chase Williamson, who owns the gastropub with his wife, Jonnie, and his father, Cully. “We’re trying to be well-rounded. We’ll always serve IPAs - they are the most popular - and darker beers in the winter, lighter in the summer.”
The production goal is to have six to eight house beers on tap at any one time, ranging from Sonoma County classics to special seasonal releases. There is one fermentation tank inside and three outside in a brewery built by Healdsburg-based Criveller, who also designed breweries for Henhouse in Petaluma and Cooperage in Santa Rosa.
In recent weeks, the house beers included “Hair of the Bear” hazy IPA, made with Citra hops for a citrusy, tropical flavor; “3 Chainz” Belgian Triple, a full-body beer that’s malty and spicy from roasted coriander and “Blind Squirrel” Brown Ale, made with roasted pecans and chocolate malt, resulting in a roasted, nutty flavor.
“We’re not pretentious,” said brewer Justin Green, who has worked in the East Bay at E.J. Phair, Jupiter and Drake’s brewing companies. “It is a homey feel to the beers and the food.”
The owners of Steele & Hops are partial to the Green Bay Packers, who lost 37-20 to the Niners in the NFL Conference Championship. The restaurant proudly displays green and gold pennants, jerseys and even a triangular cheesehead behind the bar.
“We are a Green Bay Packer establishment,” Chase Williamson said. “Quarterback Bart Starr was my dad’s favorite player as a kid.”
For those of you throwing a Super Bowl party at home this Sunday, the gastropub shared some of its favorite football-watching dishes, plus a batch cocktail, to ramp up the fun.
“Chase and I have always done a lot of Super Bowl entertaining, and chili and deviled eggs are a must,” Jonnie Williamson said. “These are both make-ahead recipes so hosts will be spending the time with their friends watching the game instead of in the kitchen.”
The Beet Pickled Eggs made by Executive Chef Lucio Alamilla offers football fans an extra kick of horseradish in their eggs.
“These have been a favorite in our pub since we opened,” Jonnie said. “They are a showstopper with their bright color, but anyone can make them at home.”
For the main course, you can’t beat a big, steaming pot of chili garnished with cheese, onions and sour cream. Steele & Hops uses house-ground organic chuck from Marin Sun Farms for extra beefy flavor.
“This is the place to spend a little more at a good butcher counter,” Jonnie said. “Get the best meat you can and your chili will show it. And get some nice, new fresh chili powder.”
Chase Williamson, who started off his career at well-known San Francisco restaurants such as Nopa and Prospect, has done a lot of bartending and enjoys making all kinds of herbal tinctures and syrups for his restaurant’s cocktail program.
For his Super Bowl ... of Punch cocktail, home mixologists will need to make a simple cinnamon syrup and a honey syrup, then blend them in a big punch bowl with bourbon and garnishes of grapefruit and lemon wheels.
“Serve over ice in those pretty glasses you have had for years but never used,” Jonnie Williamson suggested. “I have rescued dozens of punch bowls and glasses from secondhand stores.”
Steele & Hops raises bees on its roof and has a garden on its sunny south side to help augment its cocktail and food program. They share their spent grain with the livestock of Crane Ranch Hops off Petaluma Hill Road and, next year, hope to close the circle of beef, barley and beer.
“There’s a malter in Rohnert Park (James Mahon of Grizzly Malt) who malts the barley from Crane Ranch,” Chase Williamson said. “When the barley is ready, he will sell the malted barley and the hops to us, and then we will return the spent grain and buy the cow that ate our spent grain.”