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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.