Soft Pretzels with IPA Cheese Sauce

I cannot contribute much in the way of sporty spirit to the Super Bowl party we're going to this Sunday, but pretzels w/ cheese beer sauce spirit is something I have plenty of. So I'll be bringing this, along with my Buffalo Hot Wings: How to Make Buffalo Hot Wings
  1. Start with 2 pounds pizza dough.
    Either buy some at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods make it at home by doubling this recipe: http://brokeassgourmet.com/articles/the-wonders-of-pizza-dough
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
    Lightly grease (or line with parchment paper or a silpat) 1 large or 2 medium baking sheets.
  3. Set a large pot of water on the stove and whisk in 1/4 cup baking soda.
    Bring water to a light boil.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into 20 10-inch ropes and fold each rope into a pretzel shape (or other desired shape).
    Hint: this is a lot of fun to do with kids. Let them spell out their names with dough letters, make hearts, stars, or dinosaurs -- whatever they're into. It's essentially edible Play-Doh at this point.
  5. Drop each piece of dough into the water, boil for 10-15 seconds each, until they float, and then transfer to the prepared baking sheet(s).
    Use a slotted spoon to fish the dough pieces out of the water easily.
  6. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the tops of the pretzels with 4 tablespoons of melted butter.
  7. If desired, sprinkle with the coarse salt.
    Coarse sea salt or coarse kosher salt will do if just fine you don't have rock salt. If you have salt in a grinder, just unscrew the top and use the coarse salt inside.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.
  9. While the pretzels bake, make the cheese sauce.
  10. Whisk together 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour.
    Continue whisking for about a minute while they cook.
  11. Add the 1/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup IPA or other hoppy beer.
    Continue to whisk until a smooth and creamy sauce forms.
  12. Stir in 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese. Continue whisking as you add the cheese to avoid lumps.
    Sure, you could use medium or mild cheese, but the sauce is supposed to be bold to go with the mild pretzels, so consider something sharp.
  13. Add 1 tablespoon spicy or dijon mustard plus salt and pepper to taste and whisk until incorporated.
  14. Continue cooking the sauce for about 5 minutes, whisking occasionally.
  15. To serve, transfer the finished, warm pretzels to a serving plate and serve with the hot cheese sauce (I like to serve it in a cute metal pot, to keep it hot), for dipping.