Boardwalk Food Company
“Just add beer.”
These three words can make any beer lover swoon.
And you’ll swoon even more when you try the snacks from Sarasota’s Boardwalk Food Company. The pretzel bites and poppers call for a bottle of beer when you prepare each package of mix.
It started simply enough, when Andy Yochum, who worked for Tervis, had a dream of starting his own business. He and wife, Kim, had a beer bread recipe they enjoyed for a long time, and they thought about that more often as the craft beer trend grew. Andy and Kim talked about how beer bread could be part of the social experience you have when you try beer, but they felt the concept might be a little dated. So, they rebranded the bread into poppers that you can make in mini muffin tins. They felt that would fit better into the beer tasting experience and voilà—Boardwalk Food Company was born.
But then Yochum, a soft pretzel fan, decided that a pretzel product would make a mouthwatering addition to the popper mixes. So, craft beer pretzels were added to Boardwalk’s offerings.
The company offers regular, rosemary sea salt, and cornbread poppers; on the pretzel side, there’s original, cinnamon sugar, and rosemary sea salt.
You buy the boxed mixes from Boardwalk and follow the easy steps—which include adding a bottle of beer of your choice. (The alcohol is cooked out, so Boardwalk’s snacks are perfectly fine for kids—in fact, kiddos will probably have just as much fun making the poppers or pretzels as they will eating them.) However, any fizzy drink can be used with Boardwalk’s products, including sodas and prosecco.
Although the alcohol is cooked out, the product is left with a flavor based on the beverage used. For instance, a jalapeño stout can give the mixes “a little kick at the end,” Yochum says. In contrast, an IPA will give the snack a hoppy bitterness at the end of your bite. Still, he says, “It’s not overpowering.”
Boardwalk’s blog (boardwalkfoodco.com/blog.html) and website give recommendations for recipes and local beers that pair well with the mixes. One example: JDub’s Brewing Co. Passion Wheat with Original Pretzels, described as “fruity flavors of mango and passion fruit lend a crisp summery note to our original pretzels.”
The poppers and pretzels are ideal for parties and tastings, Yochum says. “It becomes an experience thing,” he says. Yochum sees his product as a great gift for Father’s Day, housewarming parties, or for party hosts and hostesses.
Boardwalk’s mixes are available at Morton’s, Butcher’s Block, Molly’s Chic and Unique Boutique, and several other retail locations in the Sarasota area as well as some breweries. The mixes are also for sale on the company website and on Amazon. Eventually, Yochum would like his mixes to become available nationally.
One tip from Yochum for when you serve Boardwalk’s product: “Let people know ‘I made this with beer.’ They’ll say, ‘You’re kidding!’” It’s a conversation starter, he says.