Food & Drink

Biergarten Pretzels: An Unbeatable Bar Snack

A salty treat best served with good mustard, whipped butter and—of course—a cold beer

Photo: Margaret Houston

Not since colonial days have so many different beers been available in Dixie. And in thirsty Charleston, South Carolina, the Bay Street Biergarten is a new watering hole for the beer-curious.

Courtesy of JWKPEC

At the temple of craft brews and high-minded pub food, a pre-paid card registers booze by the ounce, opening dozens of beers up for tasting. That sip of Sweetwater 420 didn’t do it for you? Pour yourself a splash of something local, like a Holy City Pluff Mud Porter or a Westbrook White Thai. Chef Jason Walker, who honed his skills at New York’s WD-50 and Momofuku Ssam Bar, oversees a beer-friendly menu influenced in equal parts by Bavaria and the Lowcountry. Think wiener schnitzel garnished with pecan-collard pesto, pimento cheese sticks with bacon jam, and tender mussels presented in a broth made with local beer and paired with pretzel bread.

Margaret Houston

Walker spent months crafting his pretzel recipe, and anticipates that the restaurant will serve as many as 1,500 jumbo twists per week. Serve these with good mustard—at Bay Street, they use Lusty Monk, from Asheville, North Carolina—and whipped butter. Oh, and be sure to make extras, especially if you’re enjoying them with beer.


    • 1/2 oz active dry yeast

    • 1 tbsp. brown sugar

    • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

    • 1/2 cup cold lager

    • 1 tsp. salt

    • 1 oz butter, at room temperature

    • 4 oz baking soda

    • 1 egg yolk

    • Coarse sea salt or pretzel salt


  1. Pour ½ cup warm water into a mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast and brown sugar on top. Whisk to combine, and allow to stand for about 5 minutes, or until foamy.


  2. Work flour, beer, yeast mixture, salt and butter for 5-7 minutes, or until a smooth dough forms. Then transfer to an oiled mixing bowl that is at least double the size of the dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.

  3. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place dough ball on a smooth, clean surface and divide into 4 portions. Next, roll each into a long rope. Twist the ropes into pretzel shapes, or any other shapes desired.

  4. In a stainless steel pot, mix 3 cups of water and baking soda. Bring mixture to a boil, then remove from heat and let stand for at least 10 minutes. Dip the pretzels, one by one, into the mixture, allowing about 15 seconds per side.

  5. Place the pretzels on a parchment-lined baking tray. Mix egg yolk with a little water, brush it over the pretzels, and sprinkle them with salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

From Bay Street Biergarten, Charleston, South Carolina