Since moving to Cincinnati, a very German city, at the age of 10, I've learned a lot about the importance of beer, good pretzels, and dark Jewish rye. (Did you know that more Germans live in Cincinnati than in any other city outside of Germany?)
So it was only a matter of time before I decided to try my hand at pretzel making. Ryan, who grew up Catholic, suggested we make them for Easter, explaining that pretzels were first created as a symbol of the holy trinity (because of their three holes).
I quickly decided that their accompaniment should be a much less holy (and much more tacky) symbol of Easter: pastel beer cheese!
We used Alton Brown's recipe for the pretzels, and I made the beer cheese by mixing 8 ounces each of cream cheese and another cheese in a food processor with about 2 ounces of beer (I used Yuengling) to smooth everything out and help the parts combine.
For the yellow, I used white cheddar and a few drops of yellow food coloring; the blue has blue cheese and a few drops of blue food coloring; and the pink has goat cheese and just one drop of red food coloring.
The cheddar was definitely my favorite. Possibly because eating sky-blue beer cheese is a bit off-putting (even to weirdos like me that love a little kitsch and camp in the kitchen). But, more likely, because I just love sharp cheddar, and it seemed to compliment the flavor of beer best.
That said, a little trinity of cheeses set beside a platter of homemade pretzels definitely makes a big impact.
When the pretzel dough rises, it doubles in size. Since I made a triple recipe (did I mention the catholic family?), I ended up with a gorgeously huge dough baby spilling out of the biggest bowl I own. Punching that baby down was a blast, let me tell you.
P.S. Ryan's immediate family isn't actually that big. I made a triple recipe because I'm greedy and wanted to eat several pretzels out of the oven and several for breakfast Monday morning.
P.P.S. Check out this vine video I made. Those are Ryan's hands. He is way better at shaping pretzels than I am.