Pumpkin Ale & Pretzel Caramels


Yes!  Beer week!  A week full of beer, breweries and recipes!  Brought to you by the same fabulous women who brought you crepe week!  I must admit, when I first found out the theme of this week, I winced.  I’m more of a martini girl.  And the only time I really drink beer is when it’s really hot out and I’m eating spicy food!  My favorite beer is actually Red Stripe.   And while I thought about some type of savory baking, I was determined to use the beer in a sweet recipe.  And so I made these beer caramels!


Pumpkin Ale & Pretzel Caramels

I am such a sucker for the sweet and salty combination.  And I decided to take advantage of one of the seasonal beers to bring depth to the caramel.  You really could make beer caramels with any beer of your choice.  What’s your favorite?  This time I chose . . . . .

. . . . .Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale!


Pumpkin Ale & Pretzel Caramels


SweetChewySaltyCrunchy.  You can have it all!  Here’s how. . . . .


Yields:  about 50 pieces

Level of Difficulty:  Easy



  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle of pumpkin ale (or any beer of your choice)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of chopped salted pretzels

The thing that’s going to add the most beer flavor to these caramels is to reduce some of the ale to a syrup.  So begin by simmering 1 cup of the ale in a small saucepan for about 20 minutes.  You want to end up with about 2 teaspoons of ale ‘extract’.  Take the pan off of the heat and set it aside.

Line a 13 by 9 inch pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment.


Pumpkin Ale & Pretzel Caramels


Combine the rest of the beer, all the sugars, the butter, cream and corn syrup in a large pot.  Cook over medium heat while stirring occasionally.  The mixture will come to a boil.  Continue to heat until a candy thermometer reaches 245°.  This will take about a half an hour.  You can test the readiness of your caramel by dropping a bit of it into a bowl of ice water.  If it’s ready, it will form a small ball.  When you have reached the correct temperature and consistency, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and the ale syrup.  Carefully pour the caramel into your prepared pan.  Sprinkle the top with the chopped pretzels and a little bit of sea salt.  Let the caramel cool at room temperature for at least 3 hours before cutting.  Wrap each caramel with parchment paper or saran wrap immediately when cut so that they will hold their shape.


So, what do you think my colleagues are doing for beer week?



Aaaah ha!  I figured as much!!!


Here’s the more official rundown:








I’ve never seen beer take so many marvelous forms!  What’s your pleasure?  I’d love to taste a little bit of everything! So I hope you’ll come celebrate beer week with everyone!   And stay tuned!  I’ll be updating the links as the week progresses to make it easier for you to visit everyone!  Cheers!




Recipe inspired by and adapted from Food Network.


  1. Our son and DIL introduced us to Fat Tire beer and I love it. The Mr prefers his Corona. Pumpkin beer sounds perfect for this time if year and fir this recipe.

  2. I love what Blue Moon does with beer, and I LOVE what you do with Blue Moon! I have not yet seen any Harvest Pumpkin Ale, but I will be watching. These sound like the perfect autumn treat!

  3. I have a bunch of Blue Moon Pumpkin Ales in my fridge right now. So tasty and I can only imagine how wonderful these caramels are!

  4. Beer! You are speaking my husband’s language! I would have never thought to put beer into a candy type treat. You’re amazingly clever. :)

  5. What a great Oktoberfest recipe!! So fun!

  6. I am not much of a beer gal but when we have it, it’s Guinness. With a hint of chocolate :) Love this caramels, Anne! How creative to add beer to them. Yum!

  7. Hahahahaha…. I loved the photo of the girls drinking beer behind the building. Oh, the memories of my high school days (kidding). Very fun post, Anne. The pumpkin ale caramels are lovely; I can almost taste them. Love that creamy & crunchy, sweet & salty combination. This really does have everything I crave in sweets!

  8. Beer! I used to love the stuff – haven’t had much lately (I’m with you on preferring a Martini). Great recipe, and I love the photos you’ve found. Fun post – thank you.

  9. Oh my goodness, these caramels look sinfully delicious! :)

  10. What a unique combo, so creative Anne!

  11. Wow, I am such a sucker for caramels – and what a fun variation. My son is crazy for pumpkin beer – he would love these!

  12. Such a fun celebration! And these caramels, oh my goodness, my favorites all wrapped up in one!

  13. I still have a bottle of Pilsner in the fridge…this is a perfect recipe to use it.

  14. All I want right now are those caramel pretzels- genius :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  15. Those pretzel caramels look fantastic!

  16. Anne, this looks like it is just to die for! I would be just obsessed with the pretzel-caramel combination, even if beer was NOT involved. This may well end up being my first foray into candy-making.

    Cheers, darling!

  17. Yum, beer caramels. Today is Arthur’s Day in Ireland (Guinness’s stroke of marketing genius) so I’m going to give this a go with our local brew. Love the salty pretzels in the mix too.

  18. We are absolutely destined to be pals… because I can’t get enough beer. It’s definitely one of my favorite indulgences. But I’ve never seen it used in this way. It’s an absolutely genius idea!!! I bet it would be equally as tasty with a really nice vanilla stout too. I can’t wait to try these out! :)

  19. You are so darn creative, Anne! I adore caramels, so your version with the pretzels sounds phenomenal. And maybe adding beer will make my hubby a fan, too :)

  20. I am in love!!!!! In love with you and all of your wonderful creations! Sweet and salty is as good as sweet and spicy and nothing, not even chocolate, can beat caramel in my book. How very clever to use beer to make caramel! This recipe sounds SO good and those pictures of this caramel are killing me! Can I place an order?

  21. OMGGGGGG!!! Caramel with pretzels is my favorite candy combination in the entire world. Never would I have thought to make a beer syrup to put into caramels, though. Totally dying to try it with some of my leftover stout from our Beer Week shenanigans. You amaze.

  22. LOL! Those pictures are so funny! :) Thanks for sharing this… I am a “beer hater” (long story) but I know it’s different when cooking/baking… these beer caramels look just awesome! (just like everything else you make)

  23. How fun are these! Super creative Anne, I love it!

  24. For someone who doesn’t drink beer, baking/cooking with beer looks so creative and fun!

  25. WOOOOW! I want the entire batch! nom nom nom

  26. I never got to stop by and comment on this for BEERWEEK – but FINALLY – holy schmoholy! Can I order these from you? Just checking. Wowzer hun you took our beer week to a whole new level.

  27. What a great idea, adding beer to caramel! I love pumpkin beer, and love caramel! They sound delicious:-) Take care, Terra

  28. Mmmm! Love caramel anything, and this looks wonderful!

    I’m a new Cake Slice Bakers member, and a new blogger- drop by and say hi! :)


  29. These caramels look so good that I had to add them to my Pumpkin Recipe Roundup http://myuntangledlife.com/pumpkin-recipes-every-palate/.

    I love the reducing of the beer to a syrup, bet that makes a world of difference. Plus, there’ll be some left from the bottle to enjoy during the cooking process!

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