The most popular food at the Great American Beer Festival is beer, obviously. The second is the pretzel necklace. Made by innovative drinkers, these necklaces provide a handy palate-cleanser, as well as a way to soak up some of the evening's alcohol.
But after a while, pretzels get so, so boring. They're bland and salty, hardly a refreshment worthy of the year's biggest beer party: Drinkers deserve a better food around their necks. So we tested five alternatives to the classic pretzel necklace, from the relatively practical to the totally twisted.
1. Sushi Sushi may not be the typical go-to when you have the drunchies. But the rice is sure to fill you up, and paired with a hefeweizen or a hoppy pale ale, these fishy rolls make for a drinking snack worthy of GABF's adventurous brews. Just don't expect your necklace to stay together longer than a couple of minutes.
2. Cheese Like beer, cheese is the fruit of careful fermentation, and its fatty richness provides a nice counterpoint to bitter, hoppy brews. Show your Colorado pride with a local product; we used Ashley, an ash-dusted, soft-ripened cheese from MouCo in Fort Collins.
3. Taquitos Tacos make for a pretty good drunk food, but wrapped-up beans, lettuce and salsa just don't have the structural integrity for a necklace. Enter taquitos. These crunchy, flauta-like tacos not only hold together but are packed with enough sodium and delicious (artificial) flavoring to keep you full and happy while you wait in those long beer lines.
4. Pizza Pizza and beer go together like peanut butter and jelly, like Oreos and milk, like, well, pizza and beer. Heat up some slices, let them cool slightly, and then toss them around your neck for some awesome pizza action as you drunkenly wander through the festival. Just mind the cheese grease.
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5. Trout Colorado's mountain streams overflow with rainbows and brookies, and the fish are still biting. So pull on your waders, snag a keeper, and hang it from your neck for a GABF snack that says, "I'm so rugged, I don't even care that my food has a head." Or if you're short on time, do like we did and just buy one from King Soopers.