It goes without saying, a soft and salty pretzel is the perfect accompaniment to a refreshing pint of suds.
While beer is among the oldest beverages humans have produced (think ancient Egypt), the doughy, knot-shaped pretzel also has a notable, but hazy, history. Early pretzel poppers probably drank a lot of beer.
Although the origin of pretzels is up for debate, the baked good is believed to date back to early monastic times (600 AD). At that time, pretzels were considered religiously significant in that they resembled arms folded piously across ones chest.
Exactly where beer and pretzels first crossed paths is uncertain. But it’s fair to say that Dutch and German immigrants introduced pretzels to the New World in the late 18th Century. Out of thrift, they dried them for a lengthier shelf life.
Fast-forward a few centuries and beer and pretzels are an iconic pairing. They’re also a welcome mainstay at beer festivals.
The beer and pretzel combo also made an appearance at Chicago’s Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer (FoBAB). There, however, the pair took a brilliant twist in the form of a “pretzelace” — a must-have, and easily accessible, accessory. Take your favourite brand of pretzels and string them onto a shoelace. Voila, you have a pretzelace!
It may not be the most fashionable trend, but the pretzelace is a highly practical one. The snack on a string comes in handy as a palette cleanser when you’re privy to an abundance of beer styles. It also serves as a sobering snack for those times when beer is food.
But why stop at pretzels? Surely, there are other snacks that pair well with beer and are stringable. What foods would you put on a shoestring?