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Friday, December 31, 2010

Beer and pretzels


Philly favorites: a soft pretzel and a Yeungling Lager.

A soft pretzel is a pretty simple thing: yeast, flour, baking soda, salt. Then why is it that only Philly seems to be able to make pretzels that melt in your mouth? Those Super Pretzels in the frozen section of the grocery store, Auntie Em's or even the Mickey Mouse ears pretzels are nothing compared to an authentic Philly soft pretzel.

When I was growing up, pretzel vendors would pick up their pretzels in either North or South Philly and then sell them from carts around the city. The pretzels are be best when they are still warm, so getting one in the morning was key. They were still tasty as the day wore on, but as they cooled, the salt would melt off them leaving a slightly wet, salty coating.
Now, there is a chain around the PA area called Philly Pretzel Factory where you can get hot pretzels all day long. Not only that, somehow, Philly Pretzel Factory has solved the cooled pretzel/wet salt issue! If you are feeling nostalgic, however, you can still secure a wet salty cold pretzel around 3 pm at the Philly airport....

Naturally, some sort of tasty beverage must accompany a hot soft pretzel and for me, nothing fits the bill better than a Yeungling Lager. Per Yeungling's website, they are the oldest American brewery. I googled this and other websites support this claim as well...so it's either true or it's one very successful marketing campaign! Founded in 1829 by David Yeungling who relocated from Wutterberg, Germany to Pottsville, PA, the company survived the Prohibition years by producing near beer. The Traditional Amber Lager shown in the picture above was reintroduced in 1987 is now their most popular beer. Though similiar in color, not as hoppy Sam Adams Traditional Boston Lager but still a nice simple full flavor with a light carbonation and hint of lemon. Sadly, no Yeungling on the Left coast....

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