The German Pretzel at the newly opened St. Paul franchise of World of Beer resembles a traditional pretzel in all aspects save for size. It’s big. It’s gargantuan. It’s downright shocking. It’s the soft pretzel equivalent of Mothra.
This makes the seemingly high sticker price ($8, or $10.50 with a side of nacholike beer cheese sauce) seems fairly reasonable once the novelty pretzel rack and the two dog-dish-sized bowls of dipping sauce hit your table (a bowl of mustard comes standard). While positioned as an appetizer, it’s practically an entree’s-worth of food, and can be comfortably split between three people and plausibly split between four.
Diving into the question of quality: The pretzel’s good. It’s not amazing (go to Aki’s on Central Avenue for that), and it’s not nearly as bad as they get (any sports arena or bowling alley should be able to help you out with this end of the spectrum). The exterior has a nice, lacquered-lightly, crunchy thing going on, and while the interior is kind of forgettably white bread (rather than something richer with substantially more chew and soul), it’s perfectly passable. It also makes for a nice medium for spooning up the accompanying dishes of modestly cheesy beer cheese sauce and pleasantly sweet-hot, house-made stone-ground mustard.
Other stray thoughts on World of Beer: The lengthy draft beer list is enjoyable. It’s got plenty of local stuff, plenty of regional stuff, and plenty of international stuff, and it’s subdivided by category to make for easy browsing. We tried the Chimay Burger ($13), with its cheese, mushroom and onion topping, and while decent, it didn’t really live up to the price tag. The cheese was underflavored. The Chimay sauce didn’t resonate, and it left a puddle of grease in its wake. It’ll be worth returning to World of Beer just to explore their deep cooler of bottles, which is subdivided by states and countries.
Added bonus: They’ll pour you a sample of anything on draft.
World of Beer, 356 Sibley St, St. Paul, 651.493.3558