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BottleRock Beyond Wine: The 10 Best Bites and Sips at This Year’s Festival

There was more than music — and more than wine, too

Once again, Napa Valley’s music festival BottleRock was as much about the grub and booze as it was about the sounds and sights. On the Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage, Snoop Dogg set a Guinness World Record for mixing the largest cocktail — at over 550 liters, it was a gin and juice, obviously — and celebrity chef Duff Goldman and Olympic snowboarder Shaun White threw giant balls of cotton candy at the crowd (which returned fire). Meanwhile, attendees pushed their stomachs (and livers) to the limit over the course of the three day festivities. While there was plenty of wine to drink — it’s Napa, after all — here were 10 favorites items of food and drink beyond the customary wine country beverage.

Jess Lander

Stone Brewing Napa

The Cardinal and the Wolf and Jovian Orbit Double IPA, $8 each

Napa’s new Stone Brewing outpost released the first four of its Napa-specific beers for BottleRock: Favorites were The Cardinal and the Wolf, a malty brew that’s halfway between an Irish red and a pale ale, and the Jovian Orbit Double IPA, a juicy monster with only moderate bitterness at 8.2 percent ABV. The Spent Grain Soft Pretzel ($6) was a perfect pairing and late-night snack.

Jess Lander

Brix Restaurant & Gardens

Fried Chicken Sliders, $17

These sliders were perfectly balanced, thanks to the sweetness of the bun, saltiness of the pickles, and spiciness of the chicken

Mario Pimobo

Bouchon Bakery

Beignet Bites, $8

These babies were exclusive to VIP — a lucky treat for those with the hook-up. Lightly dusted in cinnamon sugar, they were like fluffy pillows of dough that are exactly what people have come to expect from chef Thomas Keller.

Jess Lander

Little Star Pizza

Deep Dish Sausage Slice, $8

Saturday was packed at the festival, leaving customers hungry and some hangry. Fortunately there was no line at the Little Star Pizza stand, and this cheesy, deep dish slice of San Francisco wasn’t on the plate for more than two minutes before it was gone.

Jess Lander

Mustards Grill

Pulled Pork Nachos, $16

A unifying force at the festival, beyond the music, were these nachos with smoky pulled pork and a kick from the jalapeños. Everyone seemed to be eating — and loving — them.

Jess Lander

Hop Valley Brewing

Citrus Mistress IPA, $12

It’s nearly impossible to find this Oregon Brewery’s beer in California, and that’s a shame, because it’s the perfect summer festival beverage: bright and refreshing, yet definitely buzz-providing, and each 16 oz. can came with a free koozie.

Jess Lander

FARM Napa Valley

Beets and Berries Bowl, $12

One or two healthy choices were in order at the generally un-healthy festivities, and this Beets and Berries Bowl from Farm did the trick with red quinoa, beets, wild arugula, fresh ricotta, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and granola.

Jess Lander

Knob Creek

Whiskey & Eggs, $16

Knob Creek offered the best deal of the weekend, giving out a bonus grilled bite with each cocktail purchased. The Beach and Barrel cocktail (made with roasted pineapple shrub with Hella Citrus Bitters and served fizzy with a roasted pineapple garnish) was strong, but also energizing, and the food freebie didn’t hurt, either.

Jess Lander

Hendrick’s Gin

Sun God Gin Cocktail, $16

Hendrick’s Gin wins for coolest booth at BottleRock. Their three-story, old-timey gin bar featured guys dressed in Victorian-era garb hamming it up for the crowd. Th Sun God — Hendrick’s Gin, Lillet Blanc, fresh cucumber, lemon, and soda, served carbonated with a cucumber slice and lavender sprig — was supposedly the top-selling cocktail of all of BottleRock last year — and it’s the definition of a porch pounder.

Jess Lander

FK Frozen Custard Bars

S’mores and Cookie Monster Frozen Custard Bars, $8 each

The hot, crowded weekend called for these frozen custard pops from SF-based food truck Frozen Custard. The S’mores bar came with a graham cracker and torched marshmallow fluff that was oozing off of it, while the Cookie Monster was accessorized with an Oreo and chocolate chip cookie.

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