Today we’re happy to bring you the first post in a new series here at Bottle Makes Three: the Beer And series. Each month we will take a look at at Beer And… something. That something could be a food, a holiday, a place, an activity… or just about anything else. After all, beer makes everything better. Okay, maybe not everything… but most things can be improved when you just add beer.
Today we’re kicking off this series with one of our favorite pairings, Beer and Pretzels, in honor National Pretzel Day. Pretzels are great on their own, but they’re even better when paired with your favorite beer. Why do beer and pretzels go so well together? We have some thoughts on that, below. We also have some fun pretzel facts, and plenty of mouth-watering pictures of beer and pretzels from a few of our favorite spots to enjoy the delicious combo. So go grab a beer and a salty snack, and let’s get right to it!
About National Pretzel Day
Before you go thinking that we made up this holiday so we’d have an excuse to eat pretzels, let us assure you it’s a real thing. Since 1986 National Pretzel Day has been celebrated annually on April 26. Former Pennsylvania Representative Robert S. Walker declared this day as National Pretzel Day in honor of his favorite snack. Suffice it to say, he really liked him some pretzels. Thanks former Rep. Walker, now we all have a day to stop everything we’re doing and pay homage to this tasty, twisted snack.
Besides, we don’t have to make up a holiday to have a reason to enjoy beer and pretzels. We enjoy the tasty combo year-round. Whether it’s a soft, fresh-baked Bavarian pretzel, or a handful of crunchy, fresh-out-of-the-bag hard pretzels, we love them all. Especially when they’re joined by a hoppy craft beer. In short, you don’t have to twist our arms to get us to enjoy a pretzel.
As we mentioned, today (April 26) is National Pretzel Day. April is also National Soft Pretzel Month. There’s really no better time than now to learn about this salty snack. Below are a few interesting pretzel facts for you to chew on.
As with many foods, the exact origins of the pretzel is unknown. It’s believed that as early as 610 AD, monks were folding scraps of dough into strips to represent arms folded in prayer. They say the monks used the warm, doughy snack to reward children who had memorized their Bible verses and prayers. We say, that’s a great incentive to get your studying done.
The term “tying the knot” comes from the pretzel. There was a European tradition involving a bride and groom tugging on a pretzel like a wishbone on their wedding day. The spouse who wound up with the larger piece was supposed to have their wish come true. (Maybe their wish was for the bigger piece of the pretzel, in which case, they clearly won!)
The hard pretzel was created by accident. It’s told that in 17th century Pennsylvania, a baker’s assistant fell asleep on the job while pretzels were baking in the hearth. Apparently even back then, good help was hard to find. When he awoke, the flames had died but he didn’t believe the pretzels were done baking, so he fired them up again. As a result, all the moisture was baked out of the pretzels, leaving them crunchy and somehow, still delicious. Score one for sleeping on the job!
Most people save the knot for last. A recent survey from SuperPretzel found that 65% of consumers who eat soft pretzels eat the curves first, saving the knot for last. The other 35% clearly have no patience. Or maybe they just grab the best piece of the pretzel before anyone else can get to it. Jerks.
Beer and Pretzels
So why is it that beer and pretzels go so well together? While some people think that salty snacks are just there to encourage you to get thirsty and drink more, there may be another reason. The salt of the pretzel may actually help enhance the flavor and hop bitterness of some beers, while providing a flavor contrast to less hoppy styles. The fact that the salt enhances your perception of the different flavors in your beer is what makes them such a tasty combination.
Hard pretzels are also a great palate cleanser. By enjoying a pretzel or two between beers when sampling various styles, you can help your taste buds to reset, so to speak. At the very least it can help you avoid harsh flavors when you taste two very different styles back-to-back. Maybe that’s why pretzels are the quintessential beer festival snack. Or maybe it’s because you can quickly string a bunch of them together to make an easy and edible pretzel necklace. It’s a great hands-free snack that you can nosh on between samples.
Want more proof that beer and pretzels is a popular pairing? Consider that way back in 1933, the Three Stooges released a movie called “Beer and Pretzels.” We doubt this offers much educational information on the pairing, but it could make for a fun beer-themed movie night. You can invite all your wise guy, knucklehead friends over. Make them bring the beer.
National Pretzel Day Deals
If all this pretzel talk is making you hungry, don’t worry. You can celebrate National Pretzel Day with some tasty pretzel deals and freebies:
Auntie Annie’s is offering a free Original or Cinnamon Sugar pretzel, but only if you have their Pretzel Perks mobile app. Download the app today before 11:59 p.m. EST for a free pretzel offer good through Sunday, April 30. If you don’t want another app, download a BOGO coupon instead. Click here for the coupon, which is good April 26-April 30.
Wetzel’s Pretzels is offering a free original pretzel on April 26 for National
Pretzel Wetzel Day. You’ll need the Wetzel’s Pretzel’s App to get the offer, which you can then redeem anytime through Monday, May 1st. Click here for more details.
Enjoy a Beer and Pretzel Today!
We hope that today you can take the time to raise a pint and a pretzel in honor of National Pretzel Day. Whether you enjoy it at your local brewpub, or on your living room couch, the hops-meets-salt combo really can’t be beat.
If you have a favorite Colorado spot for beer and pretzels, please share in the comments below. We have yet to find a pretzel we didn’t like… so we would love to hear your beer and pretzel recommendations.