Pretzels and beer are a staple of Oktoberfest celebrations. But how about a beer made with pretzels?
With traditional in-person festivals facing cancellation again this year due to COVID-19 – Oktoberfest in Munich, which usually draws about 6 million each year, is wiped out, too – pretzel maker Snyder's of Hanover wanted something special to help folks celebrate at home.
Last year, the Hanover, Pennsylvania-based company teamed up with Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. of Elmsford, New York, to create a limited edition pretzel keg, a 5-liter miniature keg filled with the brewery's classic Märzen lager and topped with a container of pretzel rods.
The product sold out in 24 hours. So for this year's holiday, which runs Saturday through Oct. 3, "there was really an interest in trying to celebrate Oktoberfest at home and we knew this year we wanted to do something a little big different and we wanted to bring a new twist to it," said Janda Lukin, chief marketing officer for Campbell Snacks, which includes Snyder's of Hanover's pretzels in its portfolio.
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At some point they talked with Captain Lawrence Brewing on "how can we work together to see what a beer batched with pretzels might taste like," she said.
As the brewers went to work, they found they were able to achieve "a subtle yet discernible pretzel flavor and quite delicious beers," using Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels in the actual brewing process, said Captain Lawrence founder and brewmaster Scott Vaccaro.
He actually made two beers using the pretzels, a traditional Oktoberfest and a gose-style beer, both yielding a "unique and distinctive pretzel note," Vaccaro said.
Other Oktoberfest beers began showing up on shelves in August. But these two limited edition SnyderBiers – Pretzel Märzen, a malty and biscuity lager, and the Pretzel Frücht gose, a tart beer also made with passion fruit and guava – will be available in four-packs of 16-ounce cans ($14.99) at select retail locations nationwide and can be ordered online at SnyderBier.com starting at 9 a.m. ET Monday.
While they call these the first beers created with pretzels, the mashup is not outlandish, said Campbell Snack's Lukin. "It’s an iconic pairing beer and … one of those ideas like why hasn’t this been done before?"
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Oktoberfest 2021: A beer made with pretzels to toast traditional fest